Hundreds gather for All America City celebration

By Dana Fulton

July 11, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Hundreds of people gathered at the Peoria Civic Center on Wednesday to celebrate Peoria's new title “All-America City”.

Attendees at Wednesday's Community Celebration had a live viewing of "Peoria's Story”, the show that won over judges for the All America City Award.

"We elevated the entire conference out in Colorado. The spirit, the smiles and the standing ovation was living proof that we were the city, the crew that really brought Denver to its feet,” said organizer Tim Cundiff.

The Young Professionals Organization of Greater Peoria described how Peoria has it all, from the nation's first March Madness Tournament to its education system.

You can go from preschool to a PhD without ever having to leave the River City.

"It's one thing for us to tell ourselves that Peoria is a great place to live, it's something different when an unbiased national jury helps validate it,” said Peoria City Councilman Ryan Spain.

Young and energetic were the focuses of the presentation and the group definitely accomplished that. The entire campaign was lead by local youth leaders.

"The judges for the contest said we've never seen a community do this before. We've never seen the youth leaders step up to obtain this recognition,” said Spain.

The Young Professionals tackled the application and presentation with some rhythm help from the ELITE Pulse of Hope Drum Line.

"It's one of those things were you don't have an enormous population of young people but the ones that are here are incredibly active,” Peoria Resident Cody Bornsheuer.

The ambitious leaders aren't slowing down.

"What can we do, what can you do, what can the public do to move forward with this,” said Cundiff.

"We're expanding, we're building new places. I think it’s definitely an exciting time to be in Peoria,’” said Peoria resident Jeff Ferguson.