BLOOMINGTON — The holiday season is once again upon us. At the McLean County Museum of History, the season reminds us of a time in the early 1850s, when an influx of German immigrants helped to grow the community’s enthusiasm for celebrating the Christmas holiday.
Today, the museum continues a time-honored tradition of celebrating the holiday season with our annual Christmas at the Courthouse. We invite you to what has become one of the area’s most diverse and popular events of the season.
On Dec. 2, immediately following the Jaycees Christmas parade, the ISU Big Red Marching Machine will accompany St. Nick up the courthouse steps and into the museum, where visitors can enjoy holiday music, family activities, and free refreshments throughout the day from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The theme for this year’s parade is “A Classic Christmas.” Jaycees organizer Andi Whalen notes, “Christmas means something to practically everyone and we would like the parade to reflect what the holiday means to you.”
This is truly a family event.
The old courthouse interior will be decorated in holiday splendor and exhibit galleries on all four levels will be open for viewing. Musical performances this year will feature acoustic guitarist Marcos Mendez, the BHS Quartet, the Sunshine Bells, Loving Missionary Choir, Sound of Illinois Chorus, the Wind Song Woodwind Quintet, and the State Farm Employee Activities Chorus.
Mike Matejka’s model railroad train will be available for kids to experience and Wild Style will provide face painting.
The Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center on the museum’s ground level has locally sourced books, food items, art, apparel, collectibles, and plenty of Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln related items of interest. The gift shop will be open all day. WBNQ will join the fun again this year, hosting the “Elf on a Shelf” contest. Visitors are encouraged to visit the museum on Saturday, find the Elf, take a picture of it, and email it to the WBNQ studio. The winner of the drawing will receive a prize from the station.
"This event is an opportunity to thank the community for their support," says Director of Development Lauren Lacy. "Donations from the public allow us to offer free educational programming to more than 9,000 students and senior citizens each year."
“Once Upon a Holiday” and “Fix it Friday”
Come out for the Downtown Bloomington Association’s “Once upon a Holiday” on Dec. 1 from 5 until 8 p.m. See the live window vignettes in the shops and visit the museum for an evening of music, refreshments, including adult eggnog, and celebrity readings of “'Twas the night before Christmas” by ISU President Larry Dietz at 6 p.m. McLean County Facilities Management Director Jack Moody will read the traditional poem at 7 p.m.
Friday evening and Saturday during the day, the museum will host ISU’s “Fix it Friday.” Fashion students will be on hand to mend and repair basic clothing. The events are free and open to the public.
Join us again this year on the museum square as we celebrate the spirit of community together this holiday season.