Pekin Illinois is located about twelve miles south of Peoria, Illinois along the banks of the Illinois River. The city is currently home to roughly 34,000 and is a suburb of the Peoria Metropolitan area. The city is also the county seat of Tazewell County, Illinois and known as the Marigold Capital of the World. Pekin’s connection to the Marigold flower came about in the 1970’s when Senator Everett Dirksen, a former resident of Pekin, petitioned Congress to make the Marigold a national floral emblem. As a result of Senator Dirksen’s efforts, the city decided to adopt the nickname and create a festival in the Senator’s honor.
Today, Pekin’s annual Marigold Festival is the largest event on the city’s calendar. The festival includes live entertainment, an art fair, a parade, food booths and a carnival, all during the first weekend after Labor Day. Pekin is also a great city for recreational activities with more than thirteen parks covering 2,500 acres of parkland, making the Pekin Park District the state’s fifth-largest such district. The largest park in the city’s park system is Mineral Springs Park. Aside from the over 200 acres of space to enjoy, visitors at Mineral Springs Park can also experience two of the park’s most unique attractions, the DragonLand Water Park and the Pekin Memorial Ice Arena. Other major events of note hosted by the city include the Winter Wonderland Parade and the Derby Days Festival.