Forreston’s ‘Christmas in the Country’ begins Friday, Dec. 1

Kooper Norris, 7, of Forreston, talks to Santa and Mrs. Claus about his present wish list in Memorial Park during Forreston's Christmas in the Country on Dec. 2.

FORRESTON – Forreston’s annual Christmas in the Country kicks off this Friday, Dec. 1.

The day starts with the ever-popular Methodist Church rolls and coffee from 9-11 a.m. They will again offer their Christmas Corner and their soup, sandwich, and salad luncheon from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. All food prices are by donation.

At 4 p.m., the Lutheran Church will host its annual cookie sale at the Forreston Township building. Get there early, because when the cookies are gone, the sale is over.

The Forreston High and Jr High chorus students will be caroling in, and around, the businesses from 5-6 p.m. They will welcome Santa to the park at 6 p.m. with “Here comes Santa Claus”. Also at 5 p.m., Sauerkraut Days is offering up a meal deal. You can choose either an Italian beef or a meatball sandwich. Each meal includes chips, a cookie, and a drink.

If you purchase tickets early (Koeller Forreston Hardware or Forreston Car Care) the cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids. Tickets at the door are $1 more for each meal. The meal is available 5-8 p.m. at the Forreston Cardinal Center, formerly Believe in the Children.

The lighted parade is back and a great way to welcome Santa to the park. Registration and line up is at 5 p.m. with the parade kicking off at 5:30. Line up is on Ash Street, north of Cherry St.

If you have a side-by-side, a bicycle, a wagon, or just want to walk – you are encouraged to join in the fun. Everyone that is part of the parade will receive a free LED lighted wand.

The parade route starts on Ash St, west on Cherry, south in the alley behind the grade school, east on Elm, and north on Walnut ending at the park. Santa will disembark and help light the Community Christmas tree.

After the tree lighting, kids will have the opportunity to sit on his lap and chat with him and Mrs. Claus. There will be a drop box for letters to Santa. While at the park, grab a smore and cook it over the fire. Hot cocoa will also be available at the park.

There will be wagon rides around town on the Candy Cane express. This is a fun time to see a lot of festive Christmas lights around Forreston. The Candy Cane express will drop off and pick up at Memorial Park, and Forreston Fire Station. The fire department will have cookies and hot cocoa. The EMTs will be hosting a fundraiser by selling Nothing Bundt Cakes.

We have a new event on Friday night. The first is the Cookie Decorating sales from 5-6 p.m. The North Grove Evangelical Church youth group is raising money by selling sugar cookies to decorate. Not only do you get the cookie, but you get the frosting too! This is happening at the Forreston Library Community room.

Also back this year is the Scavenger Hunt from 6-8 p.m. This event is great for both teens and adults as the winning team will win $100 in Cardinal Cash. Also on Friday night, the downtown businesses will have extended hours until 7:30 p.m.

Saturday morning starts early with the 7 a.m. Men’s Prayer breakfast at the Forreston Reformed Church. Santa will be back in town at the Forreston Library from 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. There will be snacks, crafts, and chats with the jolly old elf.

Beginning at 11 a.m., Forreston Sauerkraut Days is hosting their annual Super Soup lunch. They will have chili, baked potato, and sauerkraut soup along with a grilled cheese, cookie, and drink.

After lunch, join the Community Christmas Concert at 3 p.m. at Forreston Reformed Church. There will be a free will donation of canned goods that will be donated to the New Life food pantry and Forreston Lions Club. The concert will feature the Rock River Valley Barbershop Chorus.

And finally, while you are out an about this weekend, look for the commemorative “Christmas in the Country 2023″ mugs. They are $5 a piece and are available at most downtown businesses.

The weekend really has something for everyone.

• Jane Koeller is a member of the Forreston Area Business Association (FABA), Sauerkraut Days and owner of Koeller Hardware in Forreston.