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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 with advanced reservations by calling Greatting Horse Farm at 618-458-6986. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-866-465-7890.
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!
Winter Lights Holiday Walk
Usher in the holiday season with a family event featuring the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost, music, lights, refreshments and the lighting of the City's official tree. Top it off with a Winter Holiday Market, parade and fireworks and you have an event to remember!
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.
BatFest is Batavia's annual Halloween themed family event attracting over 2,500 ghouls. BatFest includes, downtown trick-or-treating, Mothers' Club Parade, pumpkin roll, contests BatArt and games for free family fun.
Light the Veltway
Roosevelt Road will light the way to the holiday season with merriment including live music, food and libations. Berwyn's entertainment row will offer festivities for the whole family.
Deck the Depot
Saunter over to Berwyn's Depot District for Deck the Depot, a brisk holiday walk through Berwyn's downtown Winter Wonderland complete with lights, live reindeer and a petting zoo at the Municipal Parking Facility. Let Santa know what's on your wish list and then get a complimentary photo with the Big Man in Red at Bounce Sports. Snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or a hayride (Windsor & Grove Ave.). Relax to the sounds of Carolers. For those who prefer a traditional chauffeur, a heated trolley will also make stops at all of the Open Houses. Best of all, even the "naughty" will be treated like the "nice" as all of the event's aforementioned features are family-friendly and free. Opening Ceremony will take place at 5:15pm at the "Berwyn" Train Depot at Windsor & Grove. Pick up an event punch card and enter our event raffle by visiting Bounce Sports. Depot District merchants will stay open late to offer complimentary goodies, holiday specials and cheer to all who visit. Don't forget that holiday shopping list! As an extra incentive, the event will feature a special drawing for adults 21+ who spend $10 in the Depot District and have the event passport "punched" by all of the participating open houses for a chance to win a basket worth over $200!
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
Christmas Market "Julmarknad"
The holiday festivities in Bishop Hill begin with Julmarknad, or Christmas Market. This event is based on Scandinavian customs dating back to the Middle Ages when farmers and artisans would gather in the village squares to sell their wares. Bishop Hill businesses will be offering unique gifts, handmade wares, antiques, quilts, collectibles, baked goods, delicious foods, and Swedish imports. Scandinavian foods such as herring, lutfisk, and rye bread are also in abundance. You can also participate in the Chocolate Walk, located at the Steeple Building, where you can choose from a variety of chocolate delicacies.
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
December 18th & 19th December 26th - 31st January 1st 4-9pm Start a new family tradition at Chicagoland's largest light festival featuring over 120 animated light displays and million twinkling lights. Come celebrate the holiday season with family and friends during Brookfield Zoos 29th annual Holiday Magic. Enjoy live entertainment, amazing animals, model trains and a train ride, special Dolphin Show, Sing to the Animals and professional ice carvers. Call or visit website for more info.
The Pumpkin Patch
An ideal family outing for fall! Explore two miles of trails, turns, deadends and U-turns at this newly designed six-acre corn maze (assistance available). Then stop by the Pumpkin Patch for a bite to eat at the Goblin Grill.
Back for it’s second year, the C-U Oktoberfest features locally brewed beer, food by locally owned restaurants and authentic German festival music from Die Musikmeisters, The Polkaholics and the Bolzen Beer Band. Come dressed in your lederhosen or dirndl and enjoy a specially brewed “bier”, C-U Oktoberfest, just for the occasion!
C-U Comedy Festival
Nothing beats a good laugh. The kind you let out when something hilarious happens. Get your fill of laughs October 22-25 at the first C-U Comedy Festival, held at a variety of locations including Champaign's infamous Memphis on Main and Urbana's iconic Canopy Club. This laugh-fest will feature local comedians as well has headliners from St. Louis and Chicago!
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.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Kick off the holiday season and create your special memories on The Magnificent Mile in 2014! The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, jump starts the holiday season on Saturday, November 22 with a full day of family friendly activities, concerts by top musical artists and the best holiday shopping. The day’s excitement culminates with a grand evening parade down Michigan Avenue marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, illuminating one million lights on 200 trees. The parade concludes with a grand finale fireworks show over the Chicago River.
Octoberfest in Coal City
The 29th Annual Octoberfest in Coal City includes craft stations, food, entertainment, a parade, children's games, inflatables and a kiddie parade. This Village of Coal City event is a fun time for the whole family!
CITY: Coal City
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.
Festival of Trees
Annually, more than 14,000 visitors stream through the David S. Palmer Arena to see beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, participate in activities and entertainment, special events, and the sounds and tastes of the holidays at the Danville Festival of Trees. Proceeds from the Festival of Trees fund outreach programs that give back to the greater Danville community.
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
Festival of Lights
Smile, laugh, be de-lighted at the East Peoria Festival of Lights! The festival features the fantastic Folepi's Winter Wonderland lighted drive-through display, open from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, and many other events during December including a competitive run, gift show, theatrical productions and more. The Festival of Lights annual Parade of Lights covers three miles of Washington Street starting on one side of the city and ending just past downtown. The parade features floats shaped entirely from lights, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the chopper motorcycle float illuminated with LED lights, a 70-foot long float of the famous Clydesdale horse team pulling a delivery wagon, Frosty the Snowman, the starship Enterprise illuminated with 48,000 LED light bulbs, and the 95-foot-long smoke-spewing China dragon.
CITY: East Peoria
Nearly two dozen businesses will host either a complimentary chili tasting stop or other treats and refreshments throughout the evening. Festival goers will be given ballets to vote for their favorite chili. Live entertainment will be provided throughout the night.