Kickapoo Creek Festival

Family-friendly Kickapoo Creek Festival puts focus on Kickapoo Creek Watershed

The first annual Kickapoo Creek Festival, August 14 and 15, 2021 at Wildlife Prairie Park launches an effort by a longstanding volunteer-managed Peoria conservation group to expand its mission, vison and geographic focus.

The Kickapoo Creek Festival: A Gathering for Education, Connection and Healing is hosted by The Friends of Rocky Glen and will include a full day of workshops, hikes, yoga and van tours of the approximately 2,000 square-mile Kickapoo Creek Watershed, an area encompassing nearly 50 percent of Peoria County.

The family-friendly event will continue into the evening with overnight tent camping, a bonfire and a post-midnight sky tour by Sheldon Schaeffer, retired director of the Peoria Riverfront Museum Planetarium and member of the Peoria Astronomical Society. With a clear sky, campers will be able to see a waxing moon, several planets, constellations and possibly, some of the Perseid meteor shower.

The event is free. Attendees can purchase food from Wildlife Prairie Park food vendors during park hours (park admission may be required) or bring their own for daytime picnics and nighttime meals. Campers will be provided with a large central grill for cooking. A limited number of 6-person tents are available at no charge or campers can bring their own.

In addition to The Friends of Rocky Glen, the event is sponsored by Soulside Healing Arts, Friends of Kickapoo Creek, The Peoria Astronomical Society, Panther Creek Survival and Lifeskills and the City of Bartonville.

Check back to this space frequently in coming weeks as we publish more details on the Kickapoo Creek Festival!

The Kickapoo Creek Festival is a new project of The Friends of Rocky Glen, formed over a decade ago, to preserve an area of canyon, woodland and prairie on Kickapoo Creek Rd. between Route 116 and Harmon Highway in Peoria county. Over the course of a decade the grassroots group began offering hiking tours of the area and raising funds to build hiking trails, benches and educational signage. Rocky Glen Park is now a part of the Peoria Park District and boasts well-maintained hiking trails and a parking lot for visitors.

The Friends of Rocky Glen subsequently formed a subcommittee, Friends of Horseshoe Bottoms, to similarly preserve hill prairies in Rocky Glen Park as well as natural Illinois prairie in West Peoria adjacent to Kickapoo Creek on land owned by the Greater Peoria Sanitary District and the Catholic Cemetery Association of Peoria. The group also has planted and maintains a native prairie garden at Calvin Coolidge Middle School in West Peoria, funded by a grant from West Peoria Township.

The Friends of Rocky Glen is turning its energy to the Kickapoo Creek watershed which originates from a network of meandering brooks and creeks in Peoria county from Edelstein to Farmington before flowing into the Illinois River just northeast of Bartonville.

According to Friends of Rocky Glen president David Pittman, the organization’s recently adopted mission statement expands its focus to protect the Kickapoo Creek watershed using the concept of a geopark which provides a framework to understand the many aspects of a watershed, including biology, geology, botany, wildlife and human land use.

“By creating a Kickapoo Creek Watershed Geopark, we hope to give central Illinoisans a new appreciation and pride in the area, begin to identify and address environmental challenges, protect wildlife habitat and develop opportunities for recreational activities,” says Pittman. “The Kickapoo Creek Festival is a fun event to introduce people to the whole of the Kickapoo Creek Watershed, its beauty and the challenges of preserving it for future generations.”


You can learn all about the creatures living in Kickapoo Creek and the raptors flying over it at the Kickapoo Creek Festival on Saturday, August 14 beginning at 9 a.m. Wildlife Prairie Park naturalists will be presenting a raptor show at 10:15 a.m. and a water studies presentation at 1 p.m. Plus, The Friends of Kickapoo Creek are setting up an aquarium featuring aquatic life that live in the creek.


Namaste! The Kickapoo Creek Festival on August 14 two morning yoga practices: Mindful yoga at 9 a.m. and Family Yoga at 11:30 a.m. Thank you Soulside Healing Arts (@soulsidehealingarts) for sponsoring the Kickapoo Creek Festival!Any level yoga experience is welcome! If you have a blanket and mat, please bring it.That’s just one of many activities planned on Saturday, August 14 at Wildlife Prairie Park.


After a busy day exploring the Kickapoo Creek Watershed, it will be time to relax!

Event sponsor Cory Flanigan will lead a Gong Ceremony in the hour leading into sunset. Stress will melt away with Flanigan’s sound meditation featuring two 32-inch Paiste gongs: a sound creation gong and a symphonic gong.

If you’re not planning on camping, bring some folding chairs and/or blankets so you can be comfortable during the meditation.

Keep following us on Facebook and check back often for more details about the Kickapoo Creek Festival on Saturday, August 14 at Wildlife Prairie Park.