The holidays for most are a time for being together with family, making memories that will last for years to come. Our communities in Downstate Illinois have many ways to make memories as a family, and we are highlighting eight amazing opportunities to do just that.
The 8th annual Candy Canes on Main will be held on December 2nd and 3rd in downtown Casey. This event kicks off with a lighted parade and includes food trucks, a shop local celebration, and even a bedtime story from Santa! Candy Canes on Main runs from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. What started in 2015 by local businesses as a way to promote shopping and tourism has turned into a family tradition for hundreds. So be sure to join the fun this year!
Whether you are a green hairy Grinch or his best bud Max, you have always known of Whoville and may have even dreamed of visiting! Luckily, Sainte Marie is turning into Whoville for one day this winter, all so that we may reminisce and create fond memories. The event will have ice skating, wagon rides through Whoville, Christmas trick or treat, caroling, town tree lighting and so much more! This town overall includes window paintings on businesses and is sponsored by the Saint Marie Community Club.
Head out to the American Farm Heritage Museum in Greenville for a one-of-a-kind display! Folks flock from counties around to experience the animatronic displays in the cases that line the walkway here. The 13th Annual Christmas Lights Wonderland is a great way to have fun with all the family either by walking or driving! Admission is free but donations are welcome, and for a small ticket price you may even ride the North Pole Express! This event runs after Thanksgiving through December and is open nightly from 5 - 9 p.m.
A great two-for-one lights experience is just about ten minutes north of Greenville in Woburn. After you’re through at the American Farm Heritage Museum, the Stief family in Woburn welcomes you to their home to experience the amazing display that encompasses much of their yard, driveway, and the front sidewalk! This amazing walk-thru display started in 1992 and is totally free to the public, though there is a donation jar. Donations are certainly appreciated because the Stief’s electric bill isn’t cheap this time of year, and you’ll see why! There are a couple hundred moving displays acting out Christmas scenes of all kinds! This display in Woburn draws upwards of 10,000 visitors from all over the world each year. Starting after Thanksgiving and running through December, expect to see the lights on while heading down Woburn Road.
Pack the van and head to Flora for a plethora of holiday events. Starting Thanksgiving weekend, the lights turn on in Charley Brown Park and run through December with the Little Toot Railroad operating every weekend. Join the fun on Friday, December 9th, as Flora’s first-ever Kriskindlemarket opens. This two-day event will feature unique shopping, food, carolers, ice skating, and more! On Saturday, December 10th, don’t miss out on breakfast with Santa from 8-10 a.m. Santa’s reindeer will be present after breakfast for a meet and greet as well!
Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit quite like seeing alpacas, camels, and cows all wearing a string of Christmas lights, right?! If you have never experienced anything like that around the holidays, then this is your cue to visit our friends at Rainbow Ranch Petting Zoo in Nashville! While the regular season for the zoo ends on November 1st, families are welcome on the weekends in December to enjoy Christmas in the Barn. Visit the animals in the barn decorated with holiday cheer each Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for only $12!
Our friends in Coulterville have made quite the name for themselves the last several years, and for good reason. The Holiday Light Display is a walking display, and part of it is now drive-thru as well. The walking portion is a half-mile worth of lights and displays in the Village Park, while the drive-thru spans another several blocks. They go all out here in Coulterville, as this display includes 2 million lights and nearly 700 figurines. The small town of 800 attracted a whopping 13,000+ visitors last year alone. With fun activities and free refreshments on the weekends, this display is a fantastic option for the whole family!
Santa will make his way to Highland this Holiday season for their annual Santa on the Square event. Santa will arrive on November 25th at 6 p.m. with a parade, and will reside in Highland until December 23rd before returning with Mrs. Claus to the North Pole. Be sure to follow the Highland, IL Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page for updates on Santa’s stay and other activities with Santa!
This article comes from the 2022 edition of the Holiday Tourism Times. To request your free guide to seasonal fun, visit our Tourism Times page.