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Itchy Brothers Chainsaw Art
Start off the winter Eagle Season at the Confluence Tower by watching the Itchy Brothers Chainsaw Art create amazing bald eagles using raw wood and their chainsaws. Luke Harris and Don Johnson, the duo that makes up Itchy Brothers, have over 30 years experience in chainsaw art. There will be pieces of finished wood sculptures available for sale.
Live Bald Eagle at TreeHouse Wildlife Center
There will be live bald eagles on display every weekend in January and February at the TreeHouse Wildlife Center. Free admission. Donations are appreciated.
Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
Outdoor sports enthusiasts from across the state travel to Bloomington-Normal for the Illinois Fish and Feather Expo. 120 vendors covering the entire spectrum of the outdoor recreation industry are exhibited.
Maple Syrup Time
For 4 weekends in February and early March, you're invited to walk with us into the Garden's sugar bush as we tap our maples. Help us collect the sap as it flows from the trees and cook it down to pure maple syrup. A great way to shake the winter blues!
Rosiclare Car Show
16th Annual Fluorspar Festival car, truck, and motorcycle show - City Park Rosiclare, Illinois, Overlooking the Ohio River Registration 8:00a.m. -11:45a.m. Judging at Noon Trophies at 3:30p.m. Entry Fee: $10.00 Dash Plaques to the first 50 registered.
Galva Freedom Fest Celebration
Come and enjoy a hometown filled with pride. 4th of July, events begin at 8am, including a pancake breakfast, 5K/fun run, a parade filled with antique tractors, bands and floats. Stop by the park for an art jam, photo photo show, talent show, food and much more. Stay the for the evening and Join us at the park for professional entertainment and spectacular fireworks fired by International award winners Melrose Pyrotechnics.
Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show - Indoor Sports Center
The 2016 Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show will continue to be your one stop shop. Whether you are interested in buying a fishing boat, pontoon, runabout, personal watercraft, looking for the perfect charters, guides, lodging, or just needing to buy the right fishing tackle the show will have exactly what you are looking for. We have some of the most experienced Illinois anglers and guides giving seminars. They will be talking to you about what baits and lures to use, teaching you different fishing techniques, and much more. Bring the whole family and take advantage of the trout pond, Hawg Trough, and much more!
Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition
As many as 70,000 visitors view these massive works of snow art each year. Teams from around the state will compete in Rockford for the right to represent Illinois in the 2017 U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition, and high school teams from the Rockford area will compete in the high school division the same week. The public is encouraged to cast their vote for the People's Choice award between 8:30am and 11:00am on January 23. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at 1:00pm in the Sinnissippi Park Maintenance Building. Sinnissippi Park is open to the public for sculpture viewing while weather permits. Viewing hours are daily from sunrise until 10:30pm. You may drive or walk through the park. Visitors are encouraged to take the time to walk through to maximize their experience and allow them to view the sculptures from all sides. Limited parking is available at Sinnissippi Park. Additional parking is available at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens just west of Sinnissippi Park across N. Second Street.
Ringin' in the New Year in Downtown Naperville
Bring the whole family to enjoy the final day of 2015 shopping, dining and celebrating in Downtown Naperville. Enjoy free performers (face painters, caricature artists, magicians, henna tattoo artists, jugglers, stilt walkers, fortune teller and more) from 1-3pm. Get clues for a scavenger hunt. 50 randomly selected entries will receive a Downtown Naperville gift card. There will also be free trolley rides from 1-4pm and free Shutterbox photos and prizes for kids. Wander around downtown and see all the trains too! Follow the sky lights to the Covered Bridge and stroll down the Riverwalk just a short distance to the Carillon. There will be free hot chocolate at the Riverwalk eatery while you wait for the early evening Countdown to Ring in the New Year at 6pm.
Bald Eagle Watch - Fulton
Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge & the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be presenting the 31st Annual Bald Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Eagle viewing will be held at Lock and Dam 13 in Fulton, Illinois off IL Hwy 84 starting at 8am.
9th Annual Crazy Horse Bluegrass Festival
The fun starts Friday night at 7 p.m. Two shows on Saturday and a gospel show on Sunday. Lots of fun and great music. Tickets can be purchased at the door if not camping. Line-up will be announced around March/April 2016. Everyone is welcome!
Santa Cause 5K
The Santa Cause 5K race will be a family friendly event for all ages; a great activity for the whole family to participate in during the holiday season. Join the cause and embrace your inner Santa. For our inaugural event, we are partnering with the Peoria Downtown Development Corporation and bringing the route into the Downtown Warehouse District to show-case major improvements to the area. In addition, all extra proceeds will benefit “Dazzle Downtown,” providing funds for festive lights and decor for the warehouse district.
PNC Winterfest at the Peoria Civic Center
PNC Winterfest, Peoria’s newest holiday tradition, is coming to downtown Peoria on November 27th. This 39-day event will give central Illinois the chance to enjoy outdoor ice skating on the corner of Fulton Street and Jefferson Avenue. PNC Winterfest will feature a real ice rink will be ready for you to skate in any type of weather.
Wonderland Express is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience. Bring the smartphones and video cameras, as our holiday exhibition delights children and parents, friends and families. Kids, look for Thomas the Tank Engine! New this year: A focus on landmark history, plus the Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon, Glencoe's Writers' Theater, Chicago "El" trains, and both Spike and Alice the Amorphophallus join Wonderland Express! Join Landmark Illinois' Bonnie McDonald for narrated tours of the history and architecture of Chicago's landmarks. Kids' tours, too!
Come learn about the Siberian Husky, the Iditarod, & the sport of mushing, then watch dog sled demos with the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago. Some activities include:“human mushing," snowshoe races, roasting marshmallows, warming tent, pet a husky puppy. Outside vendors & exhibitors include, photos with a sled dog, ice sculpting, food vendors.
Chicago New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner - Mystic Blue
Ring in 2016 with the hottest New Year's Eve celebration on the water! It's all happening aboard Mystic Blue's New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise. With the tastiest treats, a platinum open bar package, a champagne toast at midnight, the best views of Chicago's amazing skyline and a fireworks show from Navy Pier (weather permitting), there's no place else you'll want to be when you say farewell to 2015. The night will end with a half-hour dockside party on our cool and contemporary decks. Trust us, you don't want to miss this! New Year's Eve aboard Mystic Blue will be unforgettable.
New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise - Spirit of Chicago
Spirit of Chicago's 2015 New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise is the most festive and entertaining party in the city. Splash aboard for our dinner buffet, premium open bar, champagne toast at midnight, interactive DJ entertainment and midnight fireworks (weather permitting) provided by Navy Pier. Welcome 2016 on the water!
Frozemont at MB Financial Park
Winter fun in Rosemont! Complete with winter tubing, ice skating, hockey games and more. Free holiday fun for the whole family!
Eagle Watching Open House
Visit Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge to learn about bald eagles and how to watch for them, then venture out to watch for eagles with a refuge ranger. Experienced eagle watchers will be set up with viewing scopes at various locations at the wildlife refuge. Kids crafts will be available at the visitor center. For more information, call 618-883-2524.
Winter Wonderland Festival
Enjoy a horse & carriage ride through the Festival of Lights, great food, shopping, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating, hot chocolate, crafts, a present for every child and so much more.
Chicago Valentine's Day Dinner Cruise - Spirit of Chicago
What are your Valentine’s Day plans? For the perfect way to enjoy Chicago with your sweetheart, come aboard Spirit for a special Valentine’s Day Cruise. Nothing beats the atmosphere of a night on the water with the city as your backdrop. With a beautiful setting, delicious dinner and dancing, this cruise is Cupid approved! Now get sailing, you lovebirds.
Eagle Watching with Ranger
Join refuge rangers from Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge for a morning of eagle watching. Visit multiple areas at the wildlife refuge that are known for eagles. A personal vehicle will be needed. Attendees are reminded to dress for the weather. Open to all ages. Space is limited, call 618-883-2524 to register in advance. This program will be on December 5th & 19th, January 2nd & 16th, February 6th & 20th, and March 5th & 19th at 9 am to 10 am each day.
Chicago December Holiday Cruises - Mystic Blue
This year, celebrate the season with a festive cruise aboard Mystic Blue Chicago! Experience the holidays from an exciting, fresh perspective. Complete with tasty eats, awesome DJ beats for dancing and the best views at the best value! See website for Cruise list.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
See the Lights. Feel the Magic. Continue the Tradition. Chicagoland's largest lights festival surrounds you in the cheer of over 1,000,000 twinkling LED lights, ice carvings, light shows, Santa and Mrs. Claus. You're sure to feel the magic of the holidays! Enjoy a full schedule of nightly music and live entertainment inside the pavilions. Also on the schedule, an amazing magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad display, and the 38 foot Talking Tree. Holiday Magic is from 12/5-12/6, 12-13, 19-20, & 26-31. Regular parking and admission fees apply.
NYE Fireworks Dinner Cruise – Odyssey
Make a magnificent New Year's Eve memory aboard Odyssey's upscale Chicago New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise from Navy Pier. It's the perfect, most sophisticated celebration on the lakefront. End 2015 and welcome 2016 with DJ entertainment, dinner, a platinum bar package, a champagne toast and fireworks from Navy Pier at midnight (weather permitting). For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or visit http://www.odysseycruises.com/chicago/cruises/specialty/new-years-eve-fireworks-dinner
Chicago December Holiday Cruises - Spirit of Chicago
This December get into the Holiday Spirit! Celebrate the season with a Spirit of Chicago Holiday Cruise. These special holiday events feature buffet dining, engaging DJ entertainment for dancing and dazzling views from the water. See website for Cruise options.
17th Annual Jacksonville Rotary Club Bass Tournament
17th Annual Jacksonville Rotary Club Bass Fishing Tournament at Lake Jacksonville. People come from all the surrounding areas to compete in this tournament. Prizes are awarded. If you enjoy fishing and like competition, this event is for you. Register early... only 40 boats allowed in the tournament.
Holiday Lights at Bunker Hill
Historic buildings at Kennekuk County Park's "Bunker Hill Historic Area" will be lit for the occasion and decorated for the holidays. Continuing throughout the holiday season, the lights will be displayed weekends from 5-8 p.m.
Winter Holiday Hayride
Our annual holiday hayrides will feature the food, fun and traditions from the pioneers of North America. We'll ride on our decorated hay wagon through the streets of Palos Heights singing Christmas carols then return to the Nature Center to enjoy food, crafts and other activities. Registration and payment to be made in person or by mail no later than the Monday before hayride. $8 per person.
See tractors of all shapes, sizes and ages. Held along with a Farmer's Market in downtown Golconda.
Home for the Holidays in Downtown Oak Park
Catch the old-fashioned holiday spirit with free horse-drawn sleigh rides and a visit from Santa!
2015 Annual Holiday Walk
Live window displays, horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa and his reindeer are just part of the magic of The Annual Holiday Walk. Enjoy winter on Madison Street!
Luminary Night On Stephenson and Lincoln Streets
Enjoy the beauty of the soft light of luminaries and the architecture of these historic homes as you stroll this lovely residential neighborhood. Also, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Stephenson Street and Lincoln Boulevard from West Street to Park Boulevard.
Deerfield's Annual Winter Celebration
The Village of Deerfield will be celebrating the holidays with festive activities for every age. Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides, roasted chestnuts, carolers, live animals and more. Local downtown businesses will have seasonal treats and activities. Music, hot cocoa and more.
Hardin County Heritage Festival
The Hardin County Heritage Festival and Duck Race on the Ohio river celebrates the county’s rich heritage and history. The event includes exceptional period entertainment and activities to fill your weekend, including; 1800’s outdoor play, Civil War reenactment, pageant, quilt show, duck race, area craft and food vendors. Festivities also include a period ball, a Regal Women’s Tea and live entertainment throughout. Events are held in Elizabethtown (Saturday) and at the Hardin County K-12 School located East of Elizabethtown on 146. (Friday night pageant)
Volo Bog's WinterFest
Looking for a great combination of indoor and outdoor fun in mid January? WinterFest is a long-standing event at Volo Bog featuring live music and storytelling, photo contest awards, and winter-theme and other crafts indoors, while outdoors winter bog hikes, and snow permitting - snow sculpting contests and cross-country skiing, may be enjoyed throughout the afternoon. There will also be cookies, hot cocoa & coffee for sale by the Friends of Volo Bog. Visit the website for a complete agenda. Donations accepted.
Bald Eagle Tours at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Crab Orchard is home to six nesting pairs of resident bald eagles and their offspring. A few nesting sites are visible from public roads throughout the Refuge and eagles are spotted daily. Guided tours visit eagle nests and areas of the Refuge where eagles may be spotted. The cost is $5 for adults and $2.50 for youth under the age of 12, and reservations are required.
Crappie USA Super Tournament
Crappie USA will hold one of the 2015 Super Tournaments on Lake of Egypt in Marion, IL. This will be a guaranteed payout of $10,000 and prizes. The tournament starts at 6:30am and will run until 3pm with a weigh-in at 4pm.
Frankfort Fall Festival
The Frankfort Fall Festival is ranked in the top 15 shows to visit by Sunshine Artist. There are 300 artisan from 30 states selling hand-crafted items at our show which includes local civic organizations selling food items, a carnival, entertainment and a community parade.
St. Patrick's Day Festival
Start the day with the 5K run/walk race at 9 a.m. Watch the parade at 11am, enjoy corned beef & cabbage at the 17th Street Bar and Grill Warehouse. The Irish Kids’ Fest will feature arts and crafts, games and story telling at the Murphysboro Youth Center, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Grab a shillelagh and pour a green beer, or sample local craft beers while listening to the Irish music, and try your hand in the dart tournament or the Leprechaun Classic Bocce Tournament to be held at Riverside Park.
Alton-Audubon Eagle Festival
Join us for the kick-off of the eagle watching season. Activities include: live eagle meet & greet, preview of events at the Eagle Watching Hot Spots, kid's activities, crafts and eagle viewing walks. Learn about eagle watching - how to spot eagles, where to look and what brings the eagles here each winter. Then, head across the river to Downtown Alton for ice sculpting on the streets.
Super Car Show
Cars and trucks are polished to perfection and fill Fort Massac State Park for a popular summer show. Winners are determined in various classes, including Mayor's choice and Superman's Choice.
Cache River Days
This fun fest includes a flea market, parade, softball tournament, yard sales, BBQ and music, canoe tours on Saturday.
4th of July Celebration & Parade
Two day Celebration at Nichols Park beginning at 6 p.m. July 3rd and ending after fireworks on July 4th. Parade, concessions, kid’s events, live entertainment, fireworks and more!
Union County Colorfest
Enjoy the fall color of the Shawnee National Forest and guided home tours. Shop at local orchards, farm markets and art and craft fairs. Sample wine along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, participate in the fun run or biathlon race.
Eagle Meet and Greet
Come see live eagle demonstrations every Saturday in January at the Alton Visitor Center. See a live bald eagle up close and personal! Ask and learn about their species and habitats. Then, grab your official All Around Alton Eagle Watcher's Guide as you journey out along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway to see eagles in their natural habitat. Free! For more information, call 1-800-ALTON-IL or go to www.VisitAlton.com.
Enjoy the lights of the season in beautiful Peterson Park with more than 50 magnificent light displays, many of which are animated. Definitely a site to see! Drive through at your leisure starting at 5pm. Over 15,000 visitors each year see this great display of holiday lights. Admission is free, donations accepted.
4th of July Celebration events includes: Freedom Run a 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run; a gospel show; a parade; free concert at the City Park and much more. Capping off the Freedom Fest is one of the largest fireworks display in Southern Illinois.
Starved Rock Walkers Club
Join the fun on our weekly, guided hikes! Explore Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park, the I & M Canal and a nearby Nature Preserve. Every Thursday morning, year round, the Starved Rock Walkers Club meets in the lobby of the Lodge and departs at 9:00 am. Hikes last between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the destination. The hikes vary each week and over a 4-month period, the group will see the entire park. Make some new friends and learn about wildlife, wildflowers and more. This event is free and open to the public. Please note: We will not hike on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Every Thursday (year round).
Bluegill Music Festival
March 16, 2015 - Bluegill Music Festival will lunch its inaugural event on July 4, 2015 for a one-day festival packed with some of country music's hottest acts. The all-day festival will be complete with Southern Illinois' largest fireworks display, along the shores of the Rend Lake Dam, in Benton, IL. The lineup includes Eli Young Band, LoCash, Clayton Anderson and more exciting acts to be announced. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, March 20th and can be purchased at www.bluegillfest.com and at Black Diamond Harley Davidson. Drawing fans from around the country, including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, the festival is at the intersection of some of the nation's most dedicated country music fans. Bluegill Music Festival will feature nationally recognized BBQ vendors from around the country. Interactive entertainment for fans will also include activations, like: bags, washers, bubble soccer, Illinois longest slip n' slide, helicopter rides from Black Diamond Harley Davidson, a mechanical bull, a kids area with a large inflatable slide and the "Bluegill Lagoon", featuring a 60 x 100' VIP beach, with cabanas, private wading pools & lounge area. Additionally, Southern Illinois' largest fireworks display will begin at 9:30pm, and is free for all guest.
Village of Robbins Open Air Market
Year round, each Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday. Thinking of going into business? Let us be your testing ground. Become a vendor or shop til you drop. We have new and used merchandise.
Lunch with Santa on the Train
Come out for Lunch with Santa on the Train at the Wabash Depot in Monticello, Illinois, a holiday favorite for kids of all ages. Enjoy a train ride, individual visit with Santa, and kid friendly sack lunch. The ride is about 60 minutes per trip. Reservations required. Tickets go on sale online Saturday, June 6th.
Art Dans La Rue
Join us on Tuesday, August 6th from 12-9pm for Downtown Oak Park's authentic urban French Street Festival! Featuring: art exhibits by local artists, special showing of a French film, Can-Can dancers, French music by "Paris La Nuit," Poodle Parade, French lessons, Fresh made crepes, Wine tastings, Sidewalk chalk contest, Bike Rentals, and much more!
Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair
Don't miss the Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair and Wildlife Art Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Illinois. The show is heralded as the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the United States' national symbol of freedom. The three-day event includes live eagle, hawk, owl and vulture flying demonstrations along with educational programs and over 200 fun and informative exhibits.
69th Annual Morgan County Fair
Five fun filled days where families can enjoy live entertainment from bands, a talent show, queen & princess pageants, live stock exhibits, home economics building; a variety of foods, exciting carnival rides, demolition derbies, tractor pulls and so much more! Come and "Explore the Excitement!"
32nd Annual Cruise Nite and Classic Car Show
One of the largest Cruise Nites in Illinois. This event brings in classic and antique autos for a full day and night of fun for the whole family. Attend the car show on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cruise that evening from 5-9 p.m.
Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show
A weekend long event sponsored by the Youth Outdoor Education Foundation and the Williamson County Tourism Bureau. The show features boats, trailers, trucks, ATVs, fishing tackle, live entertainment and more. Admission and parking is free. Great fun for all ages.
Home Garden & Business Expo
Annual Home Garden & Business Expo featuring over 40 exhibitors and 2 full days of "How To" demonstrations. Breakfast and lunch available, hourly door prizes, blood screenings on site and register for the "Grand Prize!"
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m.
Tour de Shawnee Bike ride
Bicyclists meet at the Olive Branch Community Center at 8 AM. Organized bike routes of 15, 30, 45, 62 and 100 mile rides around scenic Horseshoe Lake and area. Entry fee includes: Event bag, chance for attendance prizes. Early registration includes commemorative t shirt.
Starved Rock Photography Club
Whether you are just beginning in photography, are an advanced amateur or a professional, you are welcome to the Starved Rock Photography Club. Monthly photography walks at Starved Rock State Park’s Lodge with club leader, Jacki Pienta. The Photography Club will meet each month throughout the year for guided walks to planned sites for photography opportunities. Members will informally exchange ideas and tips for quality nature and wildlife photos. We will meet the 4th Saturday of every month at 9am in the back of the Large Parking Lot at Starved Rock Lodge. All meetings will consist of a hike to an area of either Starved Rock State Park, Matthiessen State Park or Buffalo Rock. Please be prepared to carpool if necessary. $25.00 annual fee to join which will include a club t-shirt and an annual cookout! Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 4th Saturday of each month. For more information, call 815-220-7386.
Walking Tour of Historic Riverside
The Frederick Law Olmsted Society is pleased to offer great opportunities to learn about our historic landmark village. Discover the winding roads, delightful parks, beautiful landscapes, varied architecture and much more!
Sweet Autumn Clematis Festival
See and smell hundreds of feet of walls covered in Autumn Clematis; followed by punch served in Luther Hall. The event runs from 10:00am- 5:00pm.
Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden
Take a magical trip to a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and holiday beauty at the Chicago Botanic Garden when we kick off the holiday season! Outside, 750,000 lights sparkle and welcome you and your family to the Garden's wonderland. Inside the Regenstein Center, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition of miniature trains winds over bridges, under trestles, past waterfalls, and through more than 80 mini-replicas of Chicago's favorite landmarks. Paul Busse, designer of the Model Railroad Garden, created this amazing exhibition exclusively for the Garden's holiday celebration.
Jacksonville Main Street's Pumpkin Fest
The Jacksonville Main Street Pumpkin Festival Celebrates everything fall with this fun family pumpkin festival. Pumpkins, food, and fall vendors create a festive atmosphere while the kids enjoy Pumpkin Playland, inflatables, pumpkin drops, costume parade and contests... plus a pumpkin pie eating contest, pet costume contest, trunk and treating and much more!
Gem & Mineral Show
Annual Gem and Mineral Show showing off Indian artifacts, fossils, lapidary displays, shell crafts and much more.
Bald Eagle Bus Tour
Guided, four-hour tours of bald eagle, wintering communities. View and learn about the bald eagle's habits, life history, preservation efforts and threats to its future. Reservations required. Bus departs from Stoney Creek Inn.
88th Annual Lake County Fair
Come out and enjoy 5 days of fun at the 88th Annual Lake County Fair. Events at the fair include live entertainment, food vendors, carnival rides and games, live animals, motor crossing, banana derby, demolition derby, flower show, expo hall and so much more. Please visit the website for updated information.
Chicago Botanic Garden- Weekend Family Classes
Together, adults and children can explore cool things about how plants connect to science, art, history, and culture. Each program includes a variety of hands-on activities and projects, as well as opportunities to bring the Garden home. Programs run from November through April on Saturdays.
Winter Horseback Riding
With all the foliage gone from the trees, winter offers some great views of bluffs and rock formations in the Shawnee National Forest area. Enjoy the beautiful countryside, with no bugs in the cooler weather. Due to milder winters, several Southern Illinois stables offer year round riding, with or without guide service.
Du Quoin Annual Holiday Lights Fair
Starting the day after Thanksgiving and continuing through the month of December. Come experience Du Quoin Tourism’s transformation of the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds into a magical place with lights and decorations. The event features a 1 1/2-mile drive through over $250,000 worth of lighted displays as well as decorated trees, entertainment, food, crafts and visits with Santa in the Expo Hall. The light trail opens nightly from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., and the Expo Hall will be open on the second and third weekends in December from 5:30 — 9:30 p.m. The Expo Hall features Santa’s train ride and Santa’s Workshop.
Blessing of the Bikes
Thousands of motorcyclists travel to Bald Knob Mountain, Southern Illinois’ highest point and the site of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace located just outside of Alto Pass, about 10 miles south of Murphysboro on IL-127.
Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Declared a "must-see destination" by the Chicago Tribune, Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns this November with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. Brand new experiences in 2015 include dazzling lighting effects on Meadow Lake, and Ornament Hill, where a series of glowing orbs create a glittering vista. Visitors can also take in new effects — sing to the trees to activate LED lights that rain down from the trees like shiny strands of tinsel and watch as lights dance, synchronized to updated music from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The Polar Express at Monticello Railway Museum
Held at Monticello Railway Museum. Read along with the story as the train makes its round-trip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa and enjoy caroling, hot chocolate, surprises and a treat. And, for those who believe, a special gift for each child. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas! Nov 14, Nov 20-21, Nov 27-29 & Dec 4-5. Reservations required. Tickets go on sale June 6th.
Cave-In-Rock Frontier Day
Cave-In-Rock Frontier Festival is held on the banks of the beautiful Ohio River. The festival, which commemorates the extensive and colorful history connected to Cave-In-Rock and the surrounding community, is an entertaining and fun filled community event. First held in the 1960’s, the celebration includes a parade, carnival, various entertainment held in the Old Opry House, food and craft vendors. A Little Miss and Mister Frontier Days and Frontier Queen pageant is a highlight as well as various other activities. Come join the festivities for a weekend of fun and entertainment.
CITY:Cave In Rock
Warrenville Holly Days
Holly Days, sponsored by the Warrenville Park District is the City's annual holiday celebration that marks Santa's official entry into Warrenville. Guests can enjoy a warm bonfire, raffles, free horse and carriage rides, hot cider and cookies, and, of course, a visit with Santa. Local Park District and school dance troops, singers, and bands entertain attendees during the event. It is at this event that Warrenville officially turns on its holiday lights creating an array of colors for passersby along Route 56 to see. Holly Days, primarily for Warrenville residents, gives the community an opportunity to come together and kick off the holiday season.
Murphysboro Apple Festival
The Murphysboro Apple Festival is the oldest and largest, alcohol-free festival in Southern Illinois. Over 45,000 people attend the festival each year. During the five days of the Apple Festival, there are numerous activities drawing large crowds such as evening stage shows, carnival/concessions, Queen Contest, Prince and Princess Contest, contests from apple pie eating to apple core throwing, firefighters' water fights, marching band competition, car shows, Appletime 5K Walk/Run and much more. In addition, the festival's Grand Parade is one of the largest parade in Southern Illinois. The parade features an average of about 160 total units, 25 of those marching bands, and a variety of groups and organizations.
Historic Trolley Tour
Take a great adventure every June through December! Board a trolley outside of the Great Hall area of the Lodge. Enjoy a historic trolley ride with stops at the Starved Rock State Park Visitor Center where you will see a short video of the area. You will also travel to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center where you will see Starved Rock from across the river and watch as the river traffic lock through the locks. You will also travel through the village of Utica and hear about the Illinois and Michigan Canal. While aboard, the driver will narrate the history and legends of the area. For tickets and information please call 815-220-7386. $12 Adults, $10 Seniors, $8 Child 10 and under. 2014 Dates: JUNE – OCTOBER- Tuesday – 3:00pm, Thursday – 3:00pm, Saturday – 3:00pm, Sunday – 12:00pm & 1:30pm. November & December- Saturday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm, Sunday - 12:00pm & 1:30pm.
Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands
The Cache River Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resource and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor's center.
Chicago Pride Fest
Get ready for a flamboyant, fun party in Boystown! Show your pride while enjoying an eclectic lineup of crafts, food and entertainment from some of Chicago's finest LGBT performers.
Shelbyville Festival of Lights
Come to Shelbyville and take a drive through Forest Park as it is lit up for the Holiday season. These lights are put in place each year by volunteers and new lights and themed areas are also added. Candy Cane lane is to honor loved ones. The Historical Chautauqua Building becomes a huge carousel. Come enjoy the Victorian Village, Santa's Shop, the North Pole, Bethlehem, and others.
Eagle Watching in Alton
Illinois boasts the largest concentration of wintering American bald eagles in the continental U.S., and the Alton area is a great place to see them. Mingle with a live eagle at the National Great Rivers Museum. Get a bird’s-eye view from eight stories high as majestic eagles soar along the Mississippi River at the adjacent Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Or drive along on an exciting eagle-watching expedition with a nature expert at Pere Marquette State Park during Bald Eagle Days, held from late December through mid-February.
Boo! at the Zoo
Halloween fun awaits families at Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo celebration. The popular daytime event, presented by Fisher-Price, features a Costume Parade, Costume Showcase, professional pumpkin-carving demonstrations, not-so-scary games and activities, special animal Zoo Chats, and haunted hayrides.
Lincoln Park ZooLights
Enter a winter wonderland illuminated by the laughter of children and more than one million lights at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Charter One. This holiday classic has become one of the Windy City’s must-see seasonal events. Watch live ice carving then escape Jack Frost with an exotic trip past crocodiles, pygmy hippos and meerkats at the Regenstein African Journey. Animal exhibits stay open late as guests roam taking in the lights, music and taking photos with Santa. Prepare holiday crafts and enjoy the zoo’s incredible animals immersed in an atmosphere unlike any other.
The Christkindlmarket is a four-week, open-air market modeled after the famous Nuremberg Christmas market dating back to 1545. The market offers shopping opportunities and serves as a winter wonderland meeting place for family and friends. Plus, enjoy German delicacies like brats, goulash and potato pancakes while you’re there.
City of St. Charles RiverFest
Unique among Chicagoland festivals, Riverfest features the annual ancient sport of dragon boat racing, a 40-ton Fantasy Sand Sculpture, water ski shows, carnival, petting zoo, and an assortment of events and entertainment for all ages.
Cobden Peach Festival
Celebrate the local peach harvest, sponsored by the Cobden Lions Club. Join us for fresh peaches from local orchards, carnival rides and games, crowning of ‘Miss Peach Queen’, homemade food and peach cobbler & pie with a 5K run/walk and parade on Saturday. Free admission.
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show brings springtime to winter with its 20 lush gardens, beautiful and fragrant flowers, trees and other plants allowing “newbie” gardeners and experts alike to experience the latest the industry has to offer. Top garden builders create fresh designs, while nationally-known presenters teach visitors how to get that professional garden look. It's all happening at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano's, Mar. 12-20, 2016 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Be among the first to see new plant varieties for 2016 and experience the newly-redesigned Navy Pier. Enjoy art, free kids activities, wine tastings, cooking demos from noted chefs, and a shopper's paradise of garden gadgets, jewelry, and more. Special rates available for groups. www.chicagoflower.com.
East Peoria Festival of Lights & Folepi's Winter Wonderland
Light up your night at the East Peoria Festival of Lights (FOLEPI)! The annual Festival of Lights is a one-of-a-kind holiday spectacular. With more than two million lights in the festival, the beauty will be sure to mesmerize you and your family.
Eagle Watching at Starved Rock State Park
You don’t have to travel north to see these majestic birds of prey. Thousands of eagles migrate south from Canada during the winter and Illinois is one of the homes of the greatest population of wintering bald eagles. The Starved Rock Lodge in Utica offers a “Bald Eagle Trolley Tour” in January and February on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Viewing birds from the Veranda at the Starved Rock Lodge is good as well. Dress warmly though. This great viewing spot is right outside the doors of the Great Room. If you’d like some exercise, take a hike on one of the trails at the Starved Rock State Park. One trail begins right at the Veranda. For a birds eye view, hike to the top of the Rock. Another popular event is "Eagle Watch Weekend" with activites both at the Starved Rock Lodge and the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center.
Holiday Lights Train
The Holiday Light Train is Pete's biggest event of the year. The park is decorated for the Holidays. See over 250,000 lights in various displays. Giant toy soldiers, candy canes, cascading snow flakes, flying reindeer, and swans swimming, just to name a few of Pete's displays!