5 things to do in the Illinois Valley: Variety of events to celebrate Christmas season

From parade to markets, cookie walks to performances, plenty of activities set for the season

A float with decorative Christmas trees rolls down Peoria Street for the Peru Hometown Christmas parade on Saturday Dec. 4, 2021 in Peru.

1 - Appeal to your Christmas spirit this weekend in La Salle-Peru. Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, the Christkindlmarket will be at the parking lot at Second and Marquette streets in La Salle. An authentic German menu, unique artisan vendors, seasonal holiday beverages and live entertainment will be featured. Then 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Miracle on First Street in La Salle will feature a full day of activities, including breakfast with Santa 8 to 9:30 a.m. at The Auditorium Ballroom, 109 Wright St. Call 815-223-3755 and press 1 to make a reservation, and Santa’s workshop and crafts at Ax Church at the Grove Center, 1055 Sixth St. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. La Salle-Peru High School will host its annual Santa’s Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. Children ages 10 and younger can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus and many other special guests to play games, make crafts and have fun. At 4:30 p.m. the tree lighting will take place at City Hall, 745 Second St., along with an open house with treats for children. On Saturday evening, Peru will host a lighted parade at 5 p.m. Then at 6 p.m. Santa arrives at Washington Park, where there will be gifts for children, cookies and hot chocolate.

The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois ride on a trailer Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, along Main Street in Marseilles during the annual Holiday Magic Lighted Santa Parade.

2 - Visit with Santa this weekend and take in holiday parades in Marseilles or Princeton. The Holiday Magic Lighted Santa Parade and Light Up Knudson Park in Marseilles begins 6 p.m. with the parade. There will be all kinds of treats available at the park. There also will be a drop box for letters to Santa at the park. Frosty the Snowman and Santa’s elves will be on-hand for visits.

Santa will make an appearance Friday for the annual community tree lighting and candy cane hunt at Veterans Park in Princeton. Breakfast with Santa is scheduled 9 a.m. Saturday 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 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.

3 - Experience one of the world’s most recognizable pieces of music Sunday in Streator. The Streator Community Chorus will present George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 509 E. Broadway St., in Streator. The concert is open to the public. A freewill offering will be accepted.

4 - Satisfy your sweet tooth Saturday in Spring Valley. Spring Valley United Church of Christ will host a cookie walk from 7 to 10 a.m. at 227 E. Erie St. There will be a wide variety of cookies, candy and peanut brittle will be available for purchase. All cookies and candies cost $7 a pound. Peanut brittle may be pre-ordered by calling the church at 815-663-1951 or 815-664-2509. The orders will be ready for pickup at the cookie walk. Those looking to buy cookies are asked to use the east alley entrance.

Leland Elementary fourth grade students pose in front of the two Christmas trees they decorated at the Reddick Mansion in Ottawa.

5 - Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas Friday night in Ottawa. Reddick Mansion, 100 W. Lafayette St., will host its Christmas by Candlelight Open House. Entry costs $10 per person and $5 for students kindergarten through 12th grades and no reservations are required. Father Christmas will be making an appearance. Additionally, Ottawa will play host to the Chris Kringle Market from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday across the street from the mansion at Washington Square, and in the nearby the Jordan block.

Bonus event: Take in Christmas from another part of the world Sunday in Stavanger. Stavanger Lutheran Church, 2904 N. 32nd Road, five miles north of Seneca, is presenting its annual Scandinavian Christmas program at 7 p.m. Gifted singers and musicians from around the area have been invited to perform. The congregation youth, dressed in Norwegian attire, will sing several Christmas carols. The program will end with audience participation in the singing of a number of carols.