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Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available first come first serve on weekends. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-800-258-6645.
Antioch's Summer Arts & Crafts Faire
This newly designed Summer Hand-Crafted Arts and Crafts Faire will feature artisans from around the country. Enjoy more than 140 booths of hand-crafted goods for summer and fall, food and free admission. There will also be plenty of children's free fun including face painting, balloon art and Paint our Town!
Atlanta Fall Festival
A small town festival has carnival rides, a petting zoo, car show, pie and cake baking contest/auction, bingo and bands nightly that are sure to entertain the whole family!
Aurora's Holiday Festival of Lights
Enjoy the sparkle, shimmer and shine of the 2014 Festival of Lights. One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois. Dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children. A winter wonderland of animated visual arts, lighted tunnels, a forest full of lights and more! Open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 28 through Dec. 28, 2014. Donations accepted.
Barrington Art Festival
Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at the Barrington Art Festival. The festival offers the work of 125 juried artists from around the country in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, photography, watercolors and wood. Live music, great food and fun activities for kids make the Barrington Art Festival a perfect family experience!
Annual Barry Apple Festival
Over 50,000 people join this quaint historic town to celebrate the apple industry. Old-time crafts, specialty food, entertainment, a car show, and a parade are highlights of the weekend of festivities.
Way of Lights
This unique celebration of Christmas features a drive through light display, tree and wreath displays, an interactive children's village, camel rides and an indoor laser show. With over one million lights, this event celebrates Christmas in all it's glory.
Historic National Landmark, Bishop Hill, glows with luminary lit sidewalks and candle lit windows in honor of St. Lucy, a celebration of lights. Musical entertainment abounds throughout the village. Musicians will perform at the Steeple Building and at Vagnhall Galleri, the air will be filled with musical melodies. The village specialty shops and dining establishments stay open late for an enchanted evening to remember. Feel like dancing? Experience the Old Colony School barn dance serenaded by the Rusty String Pickup Band. Experience a utopia on the prairie holiday experience this season.
CITY: Bishop Hill
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. For more information, visit www.CZS.org or call (708) 688-8000.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Chicagoland’s largest lights festival surrounds you in the cheer of over 1,000,000 twinkling LED lights, ice carving, light shows, Santa and Mrs. Claus. You’re sure to feel the magic of the holidays! Saturdays and Sundays, December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 Friday to Wednesday, December 26-31 See the Lights. Feel the Magic. Continue the Tradition.
The 12th Annual Buffalo Grove Invitational Art Festival
Currently rated as one of the top 100 art festivals in the country, the festival hosts more than 100 juried artists from around the globe. Art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to watch the masters at work with art demos and booth chats taking place all weekend long! In addition to the work of the 100 juried artists, festival-goers will have the opportunity to view and purchase works from young artists, ages 18 and under, who participate in the Youth Art Division of the festival taking place on Sunday. In addition to the artwork, festival-goers will enjoy live performances from a variety of musical acts, great food and art activities for kids, including an art scavenger hunt and spin art at the festival and much more!
CITY: Buffalo Grove
Lights Fantastic Activities & Parade
Take pictures with Santa’s reindeer in Carbondale's Town Square, stop by the Polar Express Station (the Old Train Depot) for candy cane treats, and enjoy the Holiday Cookie Walk, where downtown businesses offer cookies and refreshments. The Lights Fantastic Parade kicks off at 6pm.
Southern Illinois Irish Festival
This Festival began in 1997 and continued to grow and expand with new events and excitement for participants of all ages. A Celtic cultural celebration with special concerts, fairs with music, dance workshops & demonstrations, Celtic arts & crafts, and merchandise, children’s activities. This year's Southern Illinois Irish Festival will be hosted by Walkers Bluff. This new venue provides a picturesque location just northwest of Carterville, Illinois.
Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days
The 26th Annual Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days will be held at John A Logan College. It is the largest celebration of Hunting and Fishing Day in the country. This 200+ vendor show offers something for the whole family. Bass Fishing and Crappie seminars, catfish contest, Goose calling contests, Dock Dogs competitions, retriever demonstrations and a kids fishing hole are just a few of the activities throughout the weekend.
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
Hatch: A Creative Re-Use Art Festival
What happens when you mix artists with unwanted materials destined for the landfill? You get Hatch, a Creative Re-Use Art Festival from the I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign, a marketplace of ideas from recycled materials. In its third year, the event will kick off with a “Trashion” Show, where designers use only recycled materials to make the latest in fashion. An exhibit filled with inspired, recycled pieces follows and concludes with an art fair where you can purchase the artwork that you just can’t live without.
Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago's beautiful Grant Park on the city's magnificent lakefront has been home to the world's largest food festival.
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.
Celebrate the pepper harvest from 11am to 5pm, A favorite gathering for all chile heads and hot pepper fans. Walk the pepper field and see many varieties of hot peppers in bloom, meet the vendors and see who makes the best hot/spicy food, visit the Pepper Farm Store and select your favorite salsa, jellies, spices and pepper products, relax, visit with friends, enjoy great local music and soak in great southern Illinois pepper heat. 618-893-1443. www.darnhotpeppers.com
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.
Cache River Nature Festival
Enjoy the area’s rich bird life and wetland habitat. A 12-minute orientation film gives a wonderful overview and introduction of the watershed, explaining the unique bio-diversity of the flora and fauna that can be experienced here. Visitors can also acquaint themselves with the area by exploring an interactive diorama of a bald cypress-water tupelo swamp, area state champion tree information and changing landscape displays. Activities include guided field trips, canoe tours, live bird demonstrations and various exhibits from 8am to 4pm.
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 holiday lights will be displayed weekends from 5-8 p.m.
Phases of the Moon Music & Art Festival
The inaugural Phases of the Moon Music & Art Festival is set to take place September 11-14, 2014 at the beautiful 3.000 acre Kennekuk County Park. Phases of the Moon is a four-day music, arts and camping event thoughtfully tailored to provide a unique festival experience. It boasts four outdoor stages: two main stages that alternate following each set and two smaller stages. Along with amazing music, attendees will have access to farm-to-table food, craft beer, a farmer's market and a mall of diverse craft vendors featuring an array of original items. Large interactive sculptures, live art, and works from renowned national and local artists will be on display.
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.
CITY: Du Quoin