A chili cook-off. A Renaissance faire. A music festival. What do these things have in common, aside from being fantastic ways to spend a Saturday? They're all events that call the Hillcrest Event Center home. Set in the middle of a sprawling outdoor complex near the Quad Cities, the center plays host to all kinds of gatherings, from the big ones listed above to smaller parties for graduations, reunions, and corporate retreats. In addition to space, the center also sports facilities, including two pavilions, a 7,500-seat amphitheater, and three outdoor staging areas connected by over a mile of well-groomed trails.
With space for as many as 40,000 and as few as 100 guests, Hillcrest is an ideal destination for big groups. However, smaller parties can also find plenty to do here. The center's 9-hole golf course, swimming pool, and camping grounds entertain visitors day and night. A breezy par 30, the executive course caters to all experience levels, inviting beginners to take on its short holes while letting seasoned golfers hone their approach shots. After navigating the water hazards, guests can purposely head to the Olympic-sized swimming pool, which ripples at the center of a 3,000-square-foot sundeck where waiters serve poolside food and drinks. Or, dine at The BBQ Pit, home of the Illinois BBQ Fest.
As the sun sets, the crackling glow of fires peppers the campgrounds, illuminating the nylon sides of tents or canvas hulls of mobile RVs. Tent sites include access to the resort's hot showers and restrooms, while the RV facilities' hookups pump water and electricity into mobile homes so residents can bathe in private and use electric carving knives for whittling. When the sun rises, residents can begin their day with a hike on the resort's nature trails.
Although the staff makes operations look effortless, a massive amount of work goes into making Hillcrest run. Much of it is done in the name of learning; Hillcrest is a frequent destination for college interns, who learn on the job in fields ranging from Turf Management and Hospitality to Graphic Design and Social Media. The day-to-day operations are also memorialized in American Resort, a homebrewed reality show now in its fifth online season.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra tickles ears with beautiful melodies and spectacular performances during its annual "Holiday Pops" concerts. Guest conductor Michael Butterman takes charge of an all-star cast that features six-time U.S. figure-skating champion Todd Eldredge as he shows off his moves and carves his version of a perfect tumbleweed into the ice. Actor and Quad Cities native John Getz lends his vocal talents to festive proceedings, and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Jon Faddis jazzes up orchestral pieces with fiery improvisation. The show takes place at the i wireless Center, with guests choosing from lower-bowl seats for straight-ahead sightlines or upper-bowl perches for enviable views of conductor stage dives.
The It's Glow Time 5K isn't your typical 5K race?unless your typical 5K route is dotted with "party zones." The zones' black lights make runners' neon outfits and face paint glow, and speakers in each zone blast jams to pump up racers. These areas aren't just in the middle of the race course, either. Both the start and the finish are party zones, though the finish line would be more aptly described as a full-on party for triumphant runners. A DJ spins amped-up tunes, racers wave glow sticks, and laser lights illuminate the festivities.
Morrow's Academy of Martial Arts works to cultivate mental and physical strength, with a specialty in kung fu. Seventh-degree black belt and 30-year veteran John A. Morrow leads the academy with an eye toward building self-esteem, self-discipline, and coordination. A record-holder for both the Guinness Book of World Records and mortal enemy of plywood boards, John Morrow encourages his students to reach their own goals with his own personal training programs for children and adults.
Dr. Scranton adjusts spines and works with clients to correct postures and skeletal issues that can cause pain and discomfort. He specializes in the Gonstead technique, which assesses a variety of factors in order to properly treat intervertebral disc lesions while aligning spine and pelvis.
Dr. Paul Black brings 30 years of dental experience to his cosmetic procedures and over 500 Invisalign treatments. State-of-the-art equipment, like the Itero Digital Impression, ensures teeth emerge looking their best after orthodontic or whitening sessions, and high-quality implants allow patients to bite through even the toughest turkey leg.