Christmas in the Country set for Dec. 3-4

New this year: lighted parade, chicken and biscuit lunch

FORRESTON — Forreston residents have the chance kick off the holiday season with hometown festivities this weekend.

Christmas in the Country takes place Friday-Saturday, Dec. 3-4, in and around Memorial Park and the downtown area. Most of the events are on Friday.

“I think it’s just a great atmosphere to start off the holiday season,” Christmas in the Country committee member Jane Koeller said. “To be able to get out and see your friends and neighbors, not only supporting the town, but the businesses are open till 8 p.m.

“Maybe you’re not able to get to them at the normal business hours, so this gives you the opportunity to see what else Forreston has to offer,” she said.

There are several new activities this year, including a chicken and biscuit lunch and a lighted parade.

The lunch, which is sponsored by the Forreston Lions Club, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.

The Light Up Santa Parade is set for Friday at 5:30 p.m. Participation is free and registration is due the day of the event.

ATVs, golf carts, wagons, bicycles and walkers are welcome in the parade, Koeller said. The route is about 0.5 miles and Santa Claus will lead the parade in a firetruck, she said.

“We wanted kids to be able to walk in it or ride bikes or pull wagons,” Koeller said.

The parade will start at the intersection of South Ash Avenue and East Cherry Street. Participants will travel west on East Cherry Street, then turn left onto the back street that goes behind Forreston Grade School (between South Walnut and 1st avenues). They’ll turn left on East Elm Street and go around the block, turning left onto South Walnut Avenue. The parade will end at Memorial Park.

“We didn’t know what kind of response we’d get [for the parade],” Koeller said. “That’s why we’re keeping it a smaller route, a neighborhood route, rather than right down Main Street.”

Once all parade participants have reached Memorial Park, there will be a Christmas tree lighting.

Santa also will be at the park that night greeting children and accepting Christmas wish lists, Koeller said. For those who aren’t able to visit Santa on Friday, he will be at the Forreston Library on Saturday morning, she said.

If anyone is interested in joining the Christmas in the Country committee or has ideas for events, contact Koeller at 815-266-1095.

Friday, Dec. 3, schedule

  • • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Chicken and Biscuit Lunch at First United Methodist Church (sponsored by Forreston Lions Club)
  • • 4 p.m. to sold out: Tasty Treats Cookie Sale at Sweetwood Interiors (sponsored by Faith Lutheran)
  • • 5 to 6 p.m.: Forreston Junior High School/Forreston High School carolers performing in downtown Forreston and Memorial Park
  • • 5 to 8 p.m.: Food Truck Friday featuring The Traveling Chef in the Memorial Park area
  • • 5 to 5:30 p.m.: Registration and line up for Light Up Santa Parade at East Cherry Street and South Ash Avenue
  • • 5:30 to 6 p.m.: Light Up Santa Parade around Memorial Park
  • • 5:30 to 8 p.m.: Cookies and Cocoa at the Forreston Fire Department
  • • 6 p.m.: Community tree-lighting with Santa at Memorial Park
  • • 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Santa visit and Christmas wish list submission at Memorial Park
  • • 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Hot Cocoa at the Park at Memorial Park (sponsored by Forreston Area Business Association)
  • • 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Crafts and Christmas Tales at the Forreston Library
  • • 6 to 8 p.m.: Centennial Acres Carolers performing in Memorial Park and downtown Forreston

Saturday, Dec. 4, schedule

  • • 9:30 a.m. to noon: Doughnut holes and stories with Santa at the Forreston Library
  • • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Mommy & Me Painting Class at Believe in the Children (registration required)
Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.