Local News

5 things to do in the Illinois Valley: Christmas time in Ottawa, Streator, Spring Valley and Hennepin

Also plenty of high school basketball tournaments for hoops fans

1 - Get into the Christmas spirit Friday in Ottawa. The Festival of Lights Parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, starting at the intersection of Jackson and La Salle streets, coinciding with the lighting of Washington Square. The parade will be followed by fireworks (6:30 p.m.) and lighting of the Jordan block Christmas tree (6:45 p.m.). The Chris Kringle Market will take place across four weekends beginning Friday through Sunday, Dec. 19.

2 - Awe at the lighting of City Park and parade Saturday in Streator, among other Keeping Christmas Close to Home activities. Volunteers from Light Up Streator will flip the switch on their Winter Wonderland of lights at City Park beginning at 6:30 p.m. Following the lighting of the park, the Christmas parade will begin at 7 p.m., running down Main Street toward the City Park. Before that, though, will be the Lamplight Carolers walking downtown starting at 5 p.m., and after will be carriage rides in the City Park starting at 8 p.m. There also will be a model train show at 10 a.m. at the Streator Incubator, 401 W. Bridge St., with vendor markets 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Incubator; Park Place, 406 E. Hickory St.; Bruce Township building, 216 N. Sterling St. Food trucks will be on location at the Incubator and also at the City Park.

3 - Take a trip Saturday to Whoville in Spring Valley as the city celebrates Small Business Saturday. The city is hosting a Whoville-themed lighted parade at 6 p.m. Saturday beginning at Hall High School, 800 W. Erie St., traveling east on St. Paul Street to Power Street with a Christmas tree lighting after. There will be family activities, performances and treats. The Santas on the Run 5K also will be taking place.

4 - Watch Santa flip the switch Sunday in Hennepin. Santa will arrive at 5 p.m. to light Durley Boyle Park at the Brenneman Memorial Shelter. A backdrop will be set up to take personal photos with Santa. Classic holiday music will be playing. Refreshments will be available and heaters running in the shelter to keep guests warm.

5 - Get your fix of high school basketball all weekend in Ottawa, Seneca and Streator. The Dean Riley “Shootin’ the Rock” tournament will have games beginning at 11:30 a.m. through 7 p.m. Friday and another set of games 1 p.m. through 5:30 p.m. Saturday, including the tournament’s championship. The Seneca Turkey Tournament has games scheduled to begin 3 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. Friday and then another set beginning noon through 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Woodland High School in Streator will host the final games of the Route 17 Classic on Saturday, beginning with games at 1:30 p.m. and concluding with the title game at 6 p.m.