The holiday season is right around the corner and Illinois’ holiday festivals are a great way to kick off the wonderful time of year. Stunning light displays, exciting parades, special visits with Santa and classic holiday performances make Illinois the ultimate place to come together with friends and family. Here are a few ideas for holiday happenings occurring around the state. For more holiday activities and events, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.
Chicago & Beyond
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, will take place on Saturday, November 17 in the heart of Chicago’s Loop. Festivities include an evening parade marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, illuminating one million lights on 200 trees, family friendly activities, concerts and, of course, holiday shopping. The event concludes with a spectacular fireworks performance over the Chicago River. Jumpstart your holiday shopping and experience an awe-inspiring holiday festival in one action-packed weekend. Make the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival a new tradition and create memories for years to come!
Land of Lincoln
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays at The Baby Fold’s Festival of Trees from November 8-11 at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington. The four day festival features an abundance of events, such as the Top of the Tree opening gala, Avanti’s Family Night and Breakfast with Santa. Festivalgoers can explore the Gingerbread Village, see Santa’s Workshop and view custom-designed trees. All proceeds from the event benefit the children and families of The Baby Fold. In addition to the Festival of Trees, the Bloomington area boasts an abundance of family-friendly activities to entertain all ages.
Trails to Adventure
Experience a three mile drive through enchanted lighted displays, entertainment, crafts, food at the Annual Holiday Lights Fair in Du Quoin. The treasured holiday festival begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through the month of December. Visitors can meet with Santa in the Expo Hall, take a trip on Santa’s train ride and even visit the jolly man’s workshop. Du Quoin is located only a short drive away from the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, bustling Carbondale and quaint Rend Lake. The Annual Holiday Lights Fair is a must-see during your holiday trip to Southern Illinois.
Great Rivers Country
The popular East Peoria Festival of Lights is celebrating 28 years of holiday cheer by starting one week earlier. Running from November 17 through the holidays, the festival features a gigantic drive-through light display and a narrated nativity display. The East Peoria tradition provides entertainment for the entire family and is a splendid way to jump start the holiday season.
–The Illinois Office of Tourism