As we close out a year of many firsts and bests, the city of Morris is gearing up for what promises to be a successful fourth quarter for local businesses and a time of memory-making for residents and visitors.
Home for the Holidays returns Nov. 25-27, showcasing our community and encourages shopping in our Downtown Historic District. The event kicks off with the 17th annual Lighted Holiday Parade at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25. Floats and displays from the local business community are encouraged.
Mayor Chris Brown sent a letter to Santa requesting his presence at the parade. Since he’s been pretty good this year, we are counting on Kris Kringle to make an appearance. At the conclusion of the parade, families can gather for the Lighting of Chapin Park and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus beneath the snowflake lights. Horse-drawn carriage rides will carry guests through our downtown while the sounds of Madrigal singers fill the streets. These events are provided without charge.
Saturday brings many favorite activities, including Santa and his reindeer on the courthouse lawn, the children’s winter carnival, retailers’ window walk, Grundy Area Historical Museum Festival of Trees, visits and a craft with Santa at the Morris Area Public Library and more. The House Walk benefitting scholarships and local charities has five intriguing destinations. For a $20 ticket, guests can tour three unique Morris homes, including a log cabin owned by Nicole and Jody Gonzalez, a historic Downtown home owned by Al and Katy Jacobs, and a newer home situated on Nettle Creek Golf Course owned by Cindie and Jeff Hunt. The Morris Country Club will host the complimentary holiday tea, offering guests the chance to be a “member for the afternoon.” John Callahan will open the recently renovated U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home for tours as a Downtown Historic District special feature. The festival continues through Sunday with extended retailer hours and more holiday shopping.
Home for the Holidays parade entry form, schedule and volunteer and sponsor information are available at morrisil.org/home-for-the-holidays.
The excitement in Morris continues through December, with Midnight in Morris on the 2nd and the Winterfest Market on the 11th, both hosted by the Morris Retail Association. On Dec. 17, the city will offer a new event at the ice rink in Goold Park. “Holiday in the Park” will feature Santa visits in the bandshell, food trucks and ice skating.
Throughout 2022, city officials worked closer than ever with partners like the Morris Retail Association, Grundy County Chamber and many nonprofit organizations to drive activities and events to make Morris a destination. New events in Goold Park and the return of favorites like Corn Festival in our downtown drew visitors from around the country while enhancing the quality of life for local residents. Combined with enhanced city marketing, billboards, print adverting and enhanced social media, our community is growing in popularity as a place for work and play. Occupancy at local hotels tell the story, leading to an increase in tax dollars available in the Hotel and Motel Fund for further investment.
We have many partners to thank, including public works, police, firefighters and many volunteers. By working together, we assure that there is no place like Morris for the holidays!