Organizers already preparing for this years Festival of Lights

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill. — Even though it’s the beginning of fall, the Festival of Lights is already preparing for its winter tradition.

The festival is so large that it can take up to a year of preparation.

“Checking them, repairing any damage, re-doing lights, adding new lighting effects to the floats, so it really does take a year to do it,” said East Peoria public relations coordinator Jill Peterson.

Powering thousands of lights can be expensive – that’s why the festival has switched from incandescent bulbs to LED lights, saving them a lot of money.

Peterson says they have managed to cut their spending by $46,000.

Organizers have also been working on putting all the floats on trailers, as most of the vehicles currently under the floats are old and can be difficult to service.

“By putting the floats on trailers and then pulling them we avoid breakdowns, it’s a lot safer,” said Peterson.

This will be the 35th annual Festival of Lights and organizers say they are looking forward to the winter season

The Parade of Lights will open on Nov. 16 and the Winter Wonderland drive-through display opens on Nov. 22. The Festival’s mascot is the wooden soldier Folepi, whose name serves as an acronym for “Festival of Lights, East Peoria, Illinois.”

For more information about the Festival of lights visit

Organizers are always looking for volunteers. If you or someone you know is interested feel free to email:

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