Communities across McHenry County will mark the start of the holiday season in the coming weeks.
Here’s your guide to where to find the big man himself as well as ice sculptures, reindeer, parades, carolers and, of course, lots of holiday lights.
Algonquin: Miracle on Main will take place starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, on Main Street with ice sculpting, Santa’s reindeer, live performances by local groups and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. For more information, go to algonquin.org/recreation.
Cary: The Merry Cary Holiday Parade and Festival will take place 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in downtown Cary with a petting zoo, pony rides, horse-drawn sleigh rides, carolers, music and visits with Santa. The parade begins at 1 p.m. For more information, go to the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce at carygrovechamber.com or view the flyer at bit.ly/2022MerryCary.
Crystal Lake: The Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Crystal Lake will step off at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, ahead of the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in a new location this year, the Brink Street Market courtyard.
Santa will be available for free visits at his Santa House through Dec. 23. The Santa House will be open 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Depot Park downtown also will be filled with 40 trees decorated by local organizations and businesses for the fourth annual Christmas Tree Lane starting Friday.
More information is available at www.DowntownCL.org.
Fox Lake: The Fox Lake Festival of Lights will take place Saturday, Nov. 26, starting with a Kris Kringle Winter Market 2 to 6 p.m. at the Community Garden Green, 17 E. School Court.
The parade will start at 5 p.m. at Grant Community High School, 285 E. Grand Ave. Immediately following the parade, the annual tree lighting and opening of the Santa Cottage will take place at Millennium Park, 23 Rollins Road.
Visits with Santa are free, and families are asked to bring their own cameras. For a full schedule of Santa Cottage hours, go to bit.ly/SantaCottage2022.
Fox River Grove: The annual tree lighting will be held, weather permitting, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, on the Kids Care Court and soccer fields at Algonquin Road School, 975 Algonquin Road.
The event will feature a performance by the Cary-Grove High School swing choir, pictures with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, train rides, kids games and family crafts, culminating with the tree lighting at 4 p.m.
Huntley: A Very Merry Huntley will kick off Friday, Dec. 2, with a sold-out event at the Huntley Area Public Library. The Huntley Rotary Club will then host its inaugural Running of the Elves the morning of Saturday, Dec. 3.
Christmas on the Square will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, with the Kris Kringle Market in Fellowship Hall at First Congregational Church of Huntley, 11628 E. Main St. Free games for kids and crafts-to-go will be available at the market starting at 10 a.m. The market closes at 2 p.m.
There will be a trackless train, free hot chocolate, live reindeer and the chance to vote for your favorite Christmas tree at the Square from 3 to 6 p.m. All money collected through the tree contest will go to the Grafton Food Pantry. At 5 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a fire truck and light the Christmas tree. A fireworks show will follow.
A community pasta dinner will be held 4 to 6:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 673, 11712 Coral St. The cost is $8 for adults, $4 for kids ages 4 to 9 years old, and free for children 3 and under.
Island Lake: The annual tree lighting ceremony will take place 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Island Lake Village Hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave., with hot chocolate, doughnut holes, kids crafts and a visit from Santa.
Johnsburg: This year’s Holiday Magic event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, with Johnsburg’s fourth annual Holiday Parade.
The route begins at Angelo’s Fresh Market, 4000 N. Johnsburg Road, and ends at the Johnsburg Community Club, 2315 W. Church St., where the tree lighting ceremony will take place. The event, free to Johnsburg residents, will include crafts, music, refreshments and a visit from Santa. Attendees are asked to bring a new toy or an item for the food pantry for those in need.
Lake in the Hills: Flurry Fest will feature a self-guided walk 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, through the Island of Misfit Toys on the outside walkway behind Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate.
The event will include Santa and other characters for photos and visits. The cost is free for residents who pre-register and $2 for non-residents who pre-register. At the door, tickets will be $2 for residents and $4 for non-residents.
Lakemoor: A visit with Santa and his reindeer will be held 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Lakemoor Village Hall, 28581 Route 120, with snacks and crafts.
Marengo: The Christmas parade starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, followed by the tree lighting at 6 p.m. A Christkindl Market will be held 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.
Richmond: The Christmas of Yesteryear Celebration will take place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at The District at the historic Memorial Hall, 10308 N. Main St.
The event will feature St. Joseph Church’s Cookie Walk from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and visits with Santa and children’s activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first 175 children to visit Santa will receive a stocking filled with goodies. Families should bring their own cameras. There also will be a holiday craft table, face painting and the Joe + Dough food truck on site.
Spring Grove: The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival will take place 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Horse Fair Park, 8105 Blivin St, with a visit from Santa, hay rides, storytelling, crafts, refreshments and the tree lighting at 5 p.m.
The enclosed pavilion will be heated. Admission is free, but donations of non-perishable food and toiletry items for the food pantry are requested.
Wonder Lake: The Wonder Lake Community Club will host its second annual Christmas at the Lake from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, along Hancock Drive and at the Master Property Owners Association office, 7602 Hancock Drive.
There will be visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, indoor pop-up shops, a tree lighting at dusk at the Triangle, a DJ and holiday singalong, craft holiday cards for veterans and the Wonder Lake Rockin’ Christmas Caravan Parade.
Woodstock: The annual Lighting of the Square will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, with live music, free doughnuts and cider, more than a dozen food trucks and festive selfie stations. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on the Square by way of firetruck and visit with families in front of the Opera House until the lighting ceremony begins at 7 p.m.
The annual Woodstock Christmas parade will step off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, at Woodstock Water Works, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road, and ends circling the Square. Immediately after the parade, a Cookies and Churros with Santa event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at Flores Banquets, 240 N. Throop St.
For information, go to woodstockil.gov.