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Deer & Turkey Classic playing in Peoria

November 19, 2010 at 01:36 AM

The Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic will move back to the Peoria Civic Center in 2011 with new, late March dates. The move was made necessary by the sale of a significant portion of the Interstate Center in Bloomington, where the Classic had been held since 2002.  Prior to that, the Classic had been in Peoria the last half of the 1990s.

“We didn’t have any choice,” Glenn Helgeland, producer of the Classic, said when announcing the move. “When you lose 30 percent of your exhibit space and roughly the same percentage of parking space, the decision is made for you. In addition, our event had nearly filled all three buildings on the Interstate Center grounds the past couple of years, and the Classic is still growing.

“Fortunately, the Civic Center wanted us back, and we’re happy to be there again.  This will be a win-win move for everyone,” Helgeland said.

The Civic Center has expanded considerably since the Deer & Turkey Classic was last held there.  The entire Classic will be in one building, on one exhibit floor, under one roof.  There are more than 7,000 parking spaces within five blocks of the Civic Center.

The 2011 Classic will be March 25-27. This is a month later than in recent years, but it’s still earlier than turkey hunting season, earlier than spring fish runs, and earlier than spring planting, so the date change will be fine, Helgeland noted.  “In the Classic’s early years, it was on the last weekend of March, so you could say we’re returning to the original dates.”

In fact, the later date may help the event grow.  “Our Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin deer and turkey expos will be on consecutive weekends, which exhibitors like because it fills up their schedule.  Many of them will follow us from one event to another,” Helgeland said..

For information on the 2011 Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic, visit the event’s web-site—http://www.deerinfo.com/illinoishome.asp, or call 1-800-324-3337.  Details will be posted as they are developed.

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