Christmas celebrations in the Illinois Valley

A town-by-town schedule of holiday celebrations

Children ride the "Santa's Work Shop" float in the Peru Hometown Christmas parade on Saturday Dec. 4, 2021 in Peru.

Communities across the Illinois Valley are celebrating Christmas with town-wide events. Here is a listing of events scheduled.

City of La Salle employees Derek Piecha, Biran Milus and Mike Girton hang displays for the Festival of Lights at Rotary Park on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022 in La Salle. The park will be open to the public beginning this Friday.


The Earlville Athletic Boosters will host Holiday Treasures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Earlville High School Gym (west side), 415 W. Union St. The event features holiday crafters and vendors, raffles and refreshments. Call Missy at 815-712-9239 for more information.


Santa Sunday Funday is planned 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Flanagan American Legion, 201 S. Main St. The event will include bingo, a parade, the tree lighting and a visit from Santa.


Santa and Mrs. Claus are scheduled to arrive at the Hennepin Fire Station, 201 E. High St., between 3 and 4:30 p.m. Free photos with Santa will be courtesy of Quentin Buffington. Refreshments will be provided by the village and Hennepin Fire Department.

La Salle

Miracle on First Street will be hosted 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in downtown La Salle. Breakfast with Santa will be 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at the Auditorium Ballroom, 109 Wright St. (call 815-223-3755, press 1 for reservations). Crafts with Santa’s elves will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Christmas Family Bingo from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Grove Center, 1055 Sixth St. Fire truck rides and s’mores will be available 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at City Hall, 745 Second St. Photos with Santa will be at his house 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on First and Wright streets. There also will be carriage rides from First and Marquette streets. There will be a Walk with Santa from the Bowling Alley, 1021 First St., to City Hall at 4:15 p.m., followed by the tree lighting and treats at 4:30 p.m.

A Christkindlmarket will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the city’s Second Street Parking Lot at Second and Marquette streets. Hand-picked vendors will be selling unique and hard-to-find items, authentic German trinkets, local candy, among other items. An authentic German menu by Uptown Grill plus seasonal beer, mulled wine, hot cider, and hot chocolate in commemorative mugs or German boots from Germany will be available. Die Musikmeisters and festive music will be performed Dec. 3. There will be two live reindeer and a visit from Santa on Dec. 4.

The Celebration of Lights is a drive-thru light display in Rotary Park, 2837 E. Fifth Rd. The more than 450-display venue is open every night through New Years Day. It’s open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The week of Christmas the hours will be extended an extra hour and will be open 5 to 10 p.m. all days of the week.

Ladd's Lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 11.


There’s Snow Place like Ladd Christmas Walk is scheduled 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Activities are scheduled during the afternoon, including a 50/50 raffle, reindeer games raffle to win a TV, kids crafts, games, cookie decorating, carriage rides and pictures with Santa. Elm City Bell Ringers and holiday music will be featured. The Ladd Fire Station, 327 N. Main St., will be hosting a bake sale. The walk will include food and refreshments at Ladd businesses ending with soup, sandwich and dessert 6 to 8 p.m. at Ladd Moose Lodge, 1528 E. Cleveland St. The Ladd Grade School, 232 E. Cleveland St., will host local artisans from noon to 5 p.m. A mitten tree will be at the Ladd Village Hall, 121 N. Main St., to be decorated with donations of new mittens, gloves, hats and socks for all ages. All donations will be given to Project Success of Eastern Bureau County to benefit area families.

The lighted Snowman Parade will begin at 5 p.m. on North Main Street. Following the parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree on Main Street will take place. One lucky student from the Ladd Grade School will be selected to flip the switch.


Christmas in the Park is scheduled 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at LaMoille Park. Visit with Santa, carol, eat cookies and light the park tree. There also will be a fire pit and s’mores.


Lostant will light its park at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The free event will include a visit from Santa and a horse-drawn carriage. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served. The Ladies League is sponsoring the event.

Seattle Sutton waves to the parade crowd Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, as she rides in the Marseilles Museum train as if puffs along Main Street during the annual Holiday Magic Lighted Santa Parade.


The Holiday Magic Lighted Santa Parade and Light Up Knudson Park is scheduled to begin 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in Marseilles. The parade, which will line up 5 p.m. at IV Cellular, 200 Riverfront Drive, will move from Main Street to Washington Street, then to Chicago Street and Lincoln Street to Knudson Park, where the lighting ceremony and pictures with Santa will take place. There will be cookies, breads, coffee and water available. The Masonic Lodge will sell popcorn. There will be free s’mores and Christmas caroling. The Brookfield Aces 4-H Club will exchange hot cocoa for donations of word searches, crossword puzzles, markers, crayons and playing cards to donate to Aperion Care.


A Mendota Christmas is scheduled 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, downtown. Northbook School cheerleaders will perform at 11:30 a.m., along with the Mendota High School choir and school bands. There will be food vendors, carriage rides, Santa’s house and special guests, among other activities. A vendor fair is set at the Elks Lodge, 707 Indiana Ave.


A full day of activities are planned Saturday, Dec. 3, highlighted by the parade from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Santa will take visitors 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Sweet Shop, 570 N. Chestnut St. A nativity walk is set 4 to 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 336 W. Fourth St. A vendor fair is scheduled 3 to 6 p.m. at Minonk City Hall, 670 N. Chestnut St.


The winter festival is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 3, featuring Santa’s arrival 5 p.m. at the firehouse to 6:30 p.m., 101 E. Main St. Bounce houses will be set up 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the park’s basketball courts. The Newark Lutheran Church will host a bake sale, soup supper and children’s take-home crafts. The Newark High School chorus will provide entertainment at the firehouse, there will be popcorn and crafts. There also will be hot chocolate, s’mores, peach cobbler and other items available. Fireworks can be viewed at the firehouse at 7:15 p.m. followed by the lighted fire truck parade.


Winter Wonderland will begin 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, featuring several Oglesby businesses participating by offering crafts and activities. Hot cocoa, cookies and a visit from Santa Claus will be at City Hall, 110 E. Walnut St. A winter parade through town will conclude a full day of activities at 4 p.m.

The crowd at the Jordan block watches the Festival of Lights fireworks in downtown Ottawa on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.


Ottawa’s downtown will be illuminated for Christmas at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, during the annual Festival of Lights parade and fireworks. The parade also will feature the Sunrise Rotary’s Toy and Book Float, which will be parked 7 p.m. on Court Street, collecting donations distributed to the Salvation Army.

Roughly 42 vendor huts will be in the Jordan block and Washington Square every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 25 through Sunday, Dec. 18. Hours for the Chris Kringle Market will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


Featured in its Light Up the Night event, Peru will host a lighted parade 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Then at 6 p.m. Santa arrives at Washington Park, where there will be gifts for children, cookies and hot chocolate.

Scott Smith of the Princeton Lions Clubs leads the Christmas parade down Main Street in Princeton on Saturday.


Christmas Walk weekend continues Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20, in Princeton. The Friends of Stray bake sale is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Prouty Building, 435 S. Main St. The train and farm toy show is set 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bureau County Fairgrounds, 811 W. Peru St. The Christkindlmarkt will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Open Prairie Church, 25 E. Marion St., featuring gingerbread houses, international cookie market, traditional German lunch, homemade candies and vendors. Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus are planned 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Prouty Building with hot chocolate and cookies. A holiday photo booth and balloon twisting by Mr. Cinnamon also will be at the Prouty Building 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Santa will make an appearance Friday, Dec. 2, for the annual community tree lighting and candy cane hunt at Veterans Park.

Breakfast with Santa is scheduled 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Cliff Event Center, 1105 E. Peru St. Breakfast, Frozen characters and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus are among the activities. Cost is $10 for children and $15 for adults.

The Small Town Christmas with a Big Heart Community Christmas Festival and Parade begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, with the parade. The parade begins at Marquette and North Main streets. Activities will follow at 2 p.m. at the Bureau County Fairgrounds, 811 W. Peru St.


Santa arrives at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, to kick off the Christmas at Seneca’s Crotty Park event. There will be a holiday market from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; free cocoa and cookies with Santa from 1:30 to 2 p.m.; raffles for prizes and 50/50 tickets; horse drawn wagon rides from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; 2 to 4:30 p.m. hot cocoa and cookies will be provided by Village Christian Church; 2 to 4:30 p.m. holiday photos with Santa by Anna Rose Photography and 2 p.m. an ice craving show. Cruisin’ Concessions and Auntie Anne’s will be selling food.

The light up parade is scheduled 5 p.m., starting from Seneca High School and ending at Crotty Park. A tree lighting is set 5:30 p.m., where raffle and 50/50 winners will be announced. Park in the Seneca Grade School North or South Campus, 174 Oak St., parking lots. Handicapped parking will be available in the parking lot north of the baseball field entrance on Shipyard Road.


A holiday vendor fair is scheduled 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Corner Tap, 145 N. Bushnell St. Snacks, ornaments, clothing and other items will be available.

The Hall High School Marching Red Devils performing during Saturday's Lighted Christmas Parade in Spring Valley

Spring Valley

The lighted Christmas parade is scheduled 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, in Spring Valley. The parade begins at Hall High School, travels east on St. Paul Street to Power Street. Following the parade, there will be the lighting of the tree, the unveiling of the twinkle tunnel, opportunities to mail letters to Santa and performances by the Hall Devilettes, JFK Elementary school band and barbershop quartet at the downtown mini park.

A lighted firetruck cruises Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, through the Keeping Christmas Close to Home's Lighted Parade in downtown Streator.


Keeping Christmas Close To Home has a full day of activities scheduled Saturday, Sat. 26.

The lighted Christmas parade is set for 7 p.m. downtown, preceded by the Light Up Streator countdown to illuminating the City Park at 6:30 p.m. New this year, there will be two live ice sculpture performances from 2 to 4 p.m. at Heritage Park. There also will be a vendor fair 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Park Place, 406 E. Hickory St.; Bruce Township Hall, 216 N. Sterling St.; and the Streator Incubator, 401 W. Bridge St. Also there is a model train display 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Streator Incubator, with Dig Doug’s BBQ available.


Christmas in the Village is planned 3 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. There will be craft vendors, a live nativity scene, horse and carriage rides, a lighted parade, treats and drinks, among other activities, centered around Centennial Park. The parade will begin at 5:30, ending on Main Street, in time for Santa to light the big Christmas tree.


An Old Fashioned Christmas in the Village is scheduled 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 27, in Utica. Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, a strolling barbershop quartet, free trolley service, children’s activities, snacks and the Christmas in the Canal Vendor Show. Santa will visit 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday the Heritage Center, 208 Clark St. The Santa parade will be 4:30 p.m. Sunday.


A Christmas Open House is planned Saturday, Nov. 26. Among the highlights, a vendor show and face painting will be at the community building from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Storytime with Santa is scheduled 10:30 a.m. at the Walnut Public Library, 101 Heaton St., followed by a Christmas craft and meet-and-greet with Santa from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Grinch will make a visit, and hot cocoa will be distributed, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Too Good To Pass Resale Shop, 118 S. Main St.


“There’s Gnome Place Like Wenona for Christmas” is scheduled 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, with a number of activities being planned downtown. The event is sponsored by the Wenona Chamber of Commerce and more information, including a full schedule, will be released on its Facebook page.


The Wyanet Community Club is taking names and addresses to organize a visit from Santa Claus, via the Wyanet Fire Department. This is scheduled 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The club is organizing a time and place for Santa to visit as well. More information will be released.

  • If you have a community Christmas event that is not listed, email with the time, date and place, along with other details and we’ll add it to the list and print the information in an edition of the newspaper.