ST. CHARLES – In past years, a lighting of the lights ceremony, horse-drawn trolley rides and an Electric Christmas Parade helped usher in the holidays as part of the Holiday Homecoming event in downtown St. Charles, set for Friday and Saturday.
The pandemic has forced organizers to drop this year's parade and the traditional lighting of the lights ceremony will become a virtual event. But organizers still hope to provide plenty of holiday cheer as part of this year's Holiday Homecoming.
The city's Christmas lights will be turned on starting Monday to brighten the community during this time. The Lighting of the Lights celebration will be held virtually and broadcast on St. Charles Business Alliance's social media pages at 5 p.m. Friday.
The Holiday Tree Trail kicks off on Saturday. This event will feature approximately 45 real trees that will be put up around 1st Street and the riverwalk in downtown St. Charles.
Local businesses, organizations and individuals have purchased trees to light and decorate with their individual theme. The trees will stay up through Jan. 1.
Starting Saturday, Santa will be at his house set up on the East Plaza in downtown St. Charles from 1 to 4 p.m. every Saturday through Dec. 19. The house will be set up so Santa will be socially distant from visitors, still allowing for a photo to be taken. There will be a mailbox set up for children to leave their letters.
Although the event will look different, the spirit of the holidays will be there for all to enjoy, said St. Charles Business Alliance executive director Jenna Sawicki.
“We want to make sure to set the expectation that this year is going to look significantly different than previous Holiday Homecomings,” Sawicki said in a news release from the St. Charles Business Alliance. “While there will be major changes in place, we have been working hard to keep the holiday spirit of this amazing, community event alive so that we can keep the joy and benefits it brings to our businesses and community.”
More information about Holiday Homecoming is at