Members of the Central Illinois Parrot Head Club hope a day visiting iconic area bars this Saturday will help raise money for the Illinois CancerCare Foundation.

The club will host its seventh annual Leather and Leis River Run July 13. The event is a tour of notable bars along the Illinois River. The River Run will begin at Kuchie’s on the Water in Creve Coeur at 10 a.m. From there, participants will proceed to the Storm Shelter at Eastport Marina in East Peoria, Bananas Beach Bar in Chillicothe, and Zoomiez on the Water in Lacon before returning to East Peoria for dinner and a party at the East Peoria Boat Club.

“You can do it on a motorcycle (or in) a boat, a car, or on a bus,” said Laurel Pollentier, charity director for the Central Illinois Parrot Head Club. “You could walk it or run it if you felt like it, but it’s about 60 miles. We certainly encourage designated drivers. We don’t have that many who do it in cars. Most of them are motorcycle riders or (ride the) bus. We have a full party bus.”

The charge to participate in the River Run is $20 per person. All proceeds will be donated to Illinois CancerCare Foundation. Area residents who wish to support Illinois CancerCare but don’t want to spend an entire day at the event can pay $10 to attend the final party at the East Peoria Boat Club.

“We have several members who have had serious bouts of cancer,” said Pollentier. “They’re highly supportive of what the foundation does. The foundation provides supplemental support to families who are going through cancer treatments. Sometimes, it’s food and sometimes it’s transportation. They also fund a lot of research.”

In addition to a day of food, music and fun, the River Run will feature silent auctions, live auctions, and drawings for door prizes, said Pollentier. The items being auctioned off will include about 40 different themed gift baskets, ranging from a tailgate party supply basket, New Orleans-style food and tropical dishes and glasses.

“We have a signed John Lester photograph from the Chicago Cubs, and we’ve got a signed team picture of the Chicago Bears,” said Pollentier. “Unfortunately, the St. Louis teams didn’t have any interest in our event. When folks complete the run, they get cards stamped at every stop. When they get to the boat club, they turn (their cards) in and we have a drawing.”

The first prize for the drawing will be a night at the Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in East Peoria that will include a room and dinner. Second prize will be what Pollentier referred to as a “Travelogue Basket,” which will contain donations from all of the stops on the River Run, as well as Illinois Cancer Care Foundation and the Central Illinois Parrot Head Club.

Parrot Head Clubs are affiliated with the international organization of Jimmy Buffett enthusiasts who call the group “a social organization with a charity habit,” said Pollentier. The motto of Parrot Head Clubs is “party with a purpose.” The purpose for which the club parties is to participate in a charity project each month.

“We donate our time,” Pollentier said. “We help with the veterans’ breakfast at the VFW in Pekin. Last month, we spent a couple of hours at Midwest Food Bank packaging food. We donate crayons and coloring books every year to the St. Jude (Children’s Research) Hospital. Every month, we have a different charity focus. Sometimes (we give our) time, sometimes it’s donations for a shelter.”

The club is hoping to raise about $10,000 for the event, said Pollentier. She encouraged area residents to join the fun while supporting a worthy cause and expressed optimism that the weather would cooperate.

“We’re due for some nice weather,” she said. “I’d encourage everybody to come out and join us for all or part of the day.” 

For more information on the Leather and Leis River Run, visit www.facebook.com/leatherandleis.