Peoria Independence fourth of July Celebration

The All-American Festival’s fireworks start at 9:15 p.m., after “American Idol” alum Callie Young sings the national anthem.

The city of Peoria has made its Fourth of July party, the All-American Festival, more accessible by offering free admission and parking, as well as a sensory recovery room. 

“Every year we do a huge festival with a little of everything,” said Kristina Perez, Peoria’s digital media manager. 

“We have inflatables, bouncy houses, a mechanical bull, rock wall, waterslides, a water zone so people can bring their bathing suits so they can slide down the 43-foot waterslides, and a cornhole tournament. What’s new this year is free admission. The only stuff that might have a fee is food and some of the games,” Perez said.

The Sonic-sponsored Peoria Food Challenge features three food-eating contests that test contestants by downing a Route 44-size slush or eating 3 pounds of tater tots as fast as possible. In another contest, contestants try to eat as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes. 

The seventh annual cornhole tournament will begin at 5:30 p.m. and features teams of two competing for cash prizes. Early registration is required.

Fireworks set to music will begin at 9:15 p.m. — weather permitting — after “American Idol” alum Callie Young sings the national anthem. Seating is on the lawn on a first-come, first-served basis.

Attendees can bring blankets or lawn chairs and food. Items that cannot be brought into the event are glass containers, pets, canopies, oversized umbrellas, tents, skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, alcohol, fireworks (including sparklers) and grills. For security reasons, all bags, coolers and strollers will be checked at the gate.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Music will be provided by Cadillac Angels and Surfin’ USA. 

Wristbands, $5, are available for purchase for kids’ activities and food concessions, and cold beer will also be available. VIP tickets are sold out.

Also new this year is a sensory recovery room, for those who may be easily overwhelmed by sounds, light or people. 

“It’s a spot where people can go to recover from all that,” Perez said. “It’s a room with calming sounds and lights, noise-canceling headphones, weighted lap blankets and fidget toys — things that might help people calm down if they’re anxious or ramped up. 

“They may have sensory-processing issues or (be) on the autism spectrum. It’s the first of its kind that we know of for a large festival.”

All-American Festival 

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 4

Where: Peoria Sports Complex,

16101 N. 83rd Avenue, Peoria

Cost: Free admission;

$5 wristbands for attractions

Info: 623-773-8700,