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2014 Central Illinois Auto Show in the Spotlight

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author photo by Colin Ryan April 2014
  • It's the largest auto show in downstate Illinois
  • Robots, dancers and cartoon characters fight with 300 vehicles for attention
  • Deals, giveaways and NASCAR thrills

The 2014 Central Illinois Auto Show is happening this weekend: April 4 to April 6. It takes place at the Peoria Civic Center on Jefferson Avenue in Peoria, Ill.

This is an even more special occasion than usual, as it's the event's 25th anniversary -- and the organizers are making sure every family member will have a blast.

For example, there's the 8-foot-tall King Robota, along with appearances by Captain America, Spider-Man, SpongeBob SquarePants and the Chicago Honey Bear Dancers, plus magicians, stilt walkers, face painting and a bouncy castle. You can also check out the Ford Fusion NASCAR simulator.

The real stars, though, are the cars. The 2014 Central Illinois Auto Show has 300 of them, representing 29 brands -- from the 2015 Ford F-150 to the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, with the 2014 Nissan Versa and the 2014 Jaguar F-Type among the other highlights.

There are hybrids, diesels and electric vehicles along with the regular gasoline-powered varieties. Chances are extremely good that your next vehicle purchase is going to be on display in Peoria.

The secretary of state (of Illinois, presumably, not John Kerry) will also be available to issue driving licenses and ID card renewals. This immediately makes the Peoria show a far more attractive proposition than lining up at the local DMV for a couple of hours.

It's possible to get there after work on Friday, with the event open that day from noon to 8 p.m. Friday is Senior Day, with anyone over the age of 60 getting in for half-price. On Saturday, times are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the event is open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday is also Family Day, sponsored by AutoTrader.com, where a pair of adults plus a couple of children who are age 15 or younger need only pay $8 in total.

General admission is $5 or free for anyone under 15 years old accompanied by a paying adult. Each day has special promotions and giveaways, and there's the opportunity to donate blood for the American Red Cross. For more information, go to peoriaautoshow.com.

We've even checked the weather in Peoria for you. The forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain on Friday, while Saturday will be clear and Sunday will be overcast. Temperatures should be in the 50s throughout: not so cold that you don't want to go out but not so warm that you won't be thankful for an indoor, family-friendly event.

What it means to you: The 2014 Central Illinois Auto Show in Peoria provides fun, family activities and food for automotive thought.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Central Illinois Auto Show in the Spotlight - Autotrader