PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria is getting ready for the 2023 NFL pre-season and what better way to kick things off than with a tailgate.

ESPN Chicago and the Chicago Bears Network along with former Bears players were all at the Peoria Riverfront Museum Monday afternoon for a live broadcast.

The event had food, drinks and was broadcasted onto their jumbo screen on their lawn.

Former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears Tom Thayer said you don’t have to be a native of the Windy City to root for the Bears.

“I played high school football in Joliet I played against Peoria and Richwood’s when I was in high school so for me it’s just a great opportunity to come to that area I’ve been before in my lifetime. This is a lifetime for me and from the time I was 14 years old coming to the Peoria area now I’m 61 years old and it’s great to still be a part of it,” said Thayer.