5 things to do in the Illinois Valley: Christmas activities are in full gear

1 - La Salle and Peru will be Christmas central in the Illinois Valley this weekend. A Christkindl market will will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday on the Second Street lot on the corner of Second and Marquette streets. La Salle also will host the annual Miracle on First Street with breakfast with Santa at 8 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Auditorium Ballroom; Santa’s craft workshop at the Ax Church at the Grove Center, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; visits with Santa at his house on First and Wright streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; among other activities, culminating in the City Hall tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. The Peru Hometown Christmas Light Up the Night event will begin with a lighted parade at 5 p.m. Saturday. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. at Washington Park with various gifts, hot chocolate, cookies, and games with other activities to follow at 6:30 p.m. Additionally, La Salle-Peru High School will host its Santa’s workshop starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the school’s commons. The Celebration of Lights display will continue 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at Rotary Park in La Salle.

2 - Princeton will host several Christmas activities. A Christmas tree light up is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Veterans Park, followed by a candy cane hunt at 7 p.m. at Soldiers and Sailors Park, across from the Bureau County Courthouse. The 30th annual Princeton Lions Club Christmas parade is at 1 p.m. Saturday. The parade will start at the corner of Marquette and North Main streets and march south on Main Street in Princeton. After the parade, there will be games and treats at 2 p.m. at the Bureau County Fairgrounds. Saturday night the Home for the Holidays lighted drive-thru display will open at 5 p.m. The drive-thru will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through New Year’s from 5 to 9 p.m.

3 - There’s even more Christmas events all across the Illinois Valley. The Chris Kringle Market at the Jordan block, Jackson Street along Washington Square and Court Street in Ottawa, will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Sheridan will have a parade and activities beginning at 6 p.m. Friday; Grand Ridge will be home to a Donuts with Santa event 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Farm Ridge Township Hall; Marseilles will host its Holiday Magic Lighted Santa Parade and Light Up Knudson Park event 5:30 to roughly 7:30 p.m. with activities at Knudson Park; Minonk will feature its Parade of Lights and fireworks from 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, among other activities; A Mendota Christmas is scheduled 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with vendors and a visit from Santa in downtown, among other activities; Newark will have a fireworks display, followed by a lighted truck parade at 7 p.m. Saturday; LaMoille is hosting Christmas in the Park 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

4 - There’s even an old-fashioned Christmas event in Ottawa. The Reddick Mansion, 100 W. Lafayette St., will host its Candlelight Tours from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, and the mansion will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas. Making a special appearance will be Father Christmas, in the person of Charles Stanley, who will be on hand for pictures. The cost is $10 a person and $5 for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

5 - Get a feel for a Christmas abroad and Scandinavian Christmas tradition in Stavanger. Stavanger Lutheran Church, 2904 N. 32nd Road, five miles north of Seneca, will present its annual Scandinavian Christmas program 7 p.m. Sunday. 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.