Hol Spec

There will be lots of singing at this year's Pantagraph Holiday Spectacular, held Dec. 1-3 at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.


Following is a guide to the many big holiday happenings in Central Illinois scheduled between now and year’s end.

For any additions or updates that arise as the season progresses, consult the weekly arts and entertainment calendar in Thursday GO! section.


Holiday Treasures Exhibition and Sale; McLean County Arts Center, downtown Bloomington; affordable works and seasonal items by more than 50 local and national artists; 309-829-0011.

NOV. 23

Turkey Trot; 9 a.m. (registration, 8 a.m.), Miller Park, Bloomington; half-mile fun run for ages 8-14, 3-mile run for ages 15-adult, 1.5-mile non-competitive walk; free; 309-434-2260.

NOV. 24

Pontiac Christmas Light-Up Parade; 6 p.m., downtown Pontiac square; parade, followed by Santa arrival and visits; free; 815-844-6692.

NOV. 24-DEC. 30

Christmas at Clover Lawn; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sat., David Davis Mansion, 1000 E. Monroe Drive, Bloomington; historic home decorated for Victorian Christmas; $2-$4; 309-828-1084.

DeWitt County Museum Holiday Tours; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. and 1-5 p.m. Sun., C.H. Moore Homestead, 219 Woodlawn, Clinton; tours of decorated Victorian mansion, with candlelight tours and live music 5-8 p.m. Fri., through Dec. 22; $1-$3; 217-935-6066.

NOV. 25

Clinton Christmas Parade; 2 p.m., downtown Clinton; parade, followed by opening of Santa’s House on Mr. Lincoln’s Square; free; 217-935-3364.

Holiday Pictures with the Reindeer; 10 a.m.-noon, Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington; family pictures taken with zoo reindeer; $20 with zoo admission; reservations at www.mpzs.org; 309-434-2243.

Light Up Streator and Lighted Parade & Midnight Madness; 10 a.m.-midnight, downtown and City Park, Streator; lighting of park decorations, lighted parade (7 p.m.), food, live music, Santa visit, merchant specials, more; free; 815-672-2055.

Paxton Christmas Parade; 1:30 p.m., downtown Paxton; annual parade; free; 217-379-3388. 

NOV. 30-DEC. 3

Christmas in the Chapel: An Old-Fashioned Christ-Mess; 7 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 10 a.m. Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2-3, Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln; LCU Chorale holiday show; $6-$12; 217-651-4825.

NOV. 30-DEC. 3 and DEC. 7-10

The Best Christmas Ever; Eagle Performing Arts and Conference Center, 319 N. Plum, Pontiac; Vermillion Players holiday musical revue; $25-$35; 815-844-1187.

DEC. 1-31

Christmas at the Weber House & Garden; Weber House, 1503 Baker St., Streator; historic home decorated for holidays; 815-672-8327.

Dooley Park Forest of Lights; dusk nightly, Dooley Park, Downs; illuminated holiday displays; free.

DEC. 1

Dwight Light-Up Christmas Parade; 6 p.m., downtown Dwight; floats, bands, Santa, tree lighting, carriage rides, more; free; 815-584-2091.

Jammies and Jingles: Family Fun Night; 6-8 p.m., Children’s Discovery Museum, 101 E. Beaufort St., Normal; games, crafts, milk and cookies, Santa; $4 members, $11 non-members; 309-433-3444.

Once Upon a Holiday/First Friday; 5-8 p.m., downtown Bloomington; window displays featuring live models, animated scenes, holiday music, local art, more; 309-829-9599.

DEC. 1-2

Eureka College Chamber Singers Renaissance Christmas Dinner; 6:30 p.m., Eureka College Cerf Center Terrill Rooms, Eureka; meal, with entertainment by singers; $13-$27; 309-467-6420.

DEC. 1-3

The Pantagraph’s Holiday Spectacular; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Dec. 2-3, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St., Bloomington; holiday music and entertainment revue; $14-$34; 866-686-9541.

DEC. 2

Bloomington-Normal Jaycees Christmas Parade; 10 a.m., Kingsley Junior High School in Normal to downtown Bloomington square, with Santa and Mrs. Claus; free; 309-319-6107.

Brass Band of Central Illinois Holiday Season Concert; 7 p.m., Central Catholic High School Auditorium, Bloomington; traditional British brass band in holiday concert; donation.

Christmas at the Courthouse; 11 a.m.-4 p.m., McLean County Museum of History, 200 N. Main St., Bloomington; live holiday music, homemade cookies/cider, children’s crafts, caroling, more; 309-827-0428. 

Christmas in Minier; noon-4 p.m., downtown Minier; craft/business vendor fair, Christmas parade (2 p.m.); free; www.minier.com.

Christmas on the Prairie; 9 a.m.- 8 p.m., Lexington school gyms and downtown; more than 80 vendors selling various products, breakfast with Santa, storytelling, horse and buggy rides, children’s area, door prizes, more; free admission; 309-365-8431. 

Fairbury Christmas Parade and Celebration; all day, downtown Fairbury and other locations; parade (10:30 a.m.), with Santa visit, horse-drawn carriage rides, cookie sale, Kids’ Christmas Corner, merchant specials, food, more.

Family Nature Exploration Day; 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sugar Grove Nature Center, Funks Grove; guided hike, animal feeding, holiday craft activities, more; free; 309-874-2174.

Minonk Christmas Parade of Lights; 6:30 p.m., downtown Minonk; electric parade, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus visit, fireworks, downtown merchant open houses and specials, more; free; 309-432-2332.

DEC. 2-3

ISU Music for the Holidays Concerts; 3 p.m. Dec. 2-3, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, ISU Center for the Performing Arts; annual holiday concerts featuring ISU Civic Chorale, Concert Choir, Men’s Glee, Women’s Glee, Belle Voix, Symphony Orchestra, Madrigal Singers and Trombone Choir; $10-$15; 309-438-2535.

The Splendor of Christmas Past: Peoria Historical Society Holiday Tour of Homes; 5-9 p.m. Dec. 2, 1-5 p.m. Dec. 3, Flanagan House Museum, Pettengill-Morron House and three private homes; tours of five decorated historic Peoria homes; $15-$20; 309-674-1921.

Twin Cities Ballet Presents The Nutcracker; 2 p.m., ISU Braden Auditorium; Twin Cities Ballet production; $20; 309-438-5444.

DEC. 2-24

Uptown Normal Santa's Station; daily visits with Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves; www.normal.org

DEC. 3

LeRoy Christmas Celebration & Parade; parade at 2 p.m., west on Center from high school to downtown Kiwanis Park, plus craft fair (10 a.m.-4 p.m., high school), more; free; 309-962-7094.

Victorian Christmas Splendor; 1 and 4 p.m., Vrooman Mansion, 701 E. Taylor St., Bloomington; Tea Ladies Victorian-era Christmas tea; $38; 309-827-2200 for reservation.

DEC. 7

Kenny Rogers: Christmas & Hits; 7:30 p.m., Grossinger Motors Arena, Bloomington; country singer in farewell tour; $55-$88; 800-745-3000.

Light the Night; 7 p.m., IWU Evelyn Chapel; multi-faith/multicultural celebration of holiday light traditions; free.

Lincoln Christmas Parade; 6:30 p.m., downtown Lincoln; Christmas parade, chili supper, bake sale, Santa, more; free. 

Streator Community Chorus: Handel's Messiah; 3 p.m., St. Michael the Archangel Church, 700 E. Lundy St., Streator; with guest soloists Julie Clemens, Kate Tombaugh, Roger Amm and Josh Ramsmeyer; free-will offering.

Winter Holiday Concert at the Pavilion; 7 p.m., Miller Park Pavilion, Bloomington; Community Concert Band performance; free. 

DEC. 8-9

Zoo Wild Lights; 5-8 p.m., Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington; zoo illuminated by more than 1,000 luminaries; $3-$7; 309-434-2250.  

DEC. 9

Christmas at the Mansions; 2-5 p.m. or 5-8 p.m., tours of decorated David Davis Mansion, Ewing Manor and a "Mystery House," with costumed guides and period music; $15 advance, $18 day of; 309-828-1084. 

Toys for Tots Silver Ball; 7:30 p.m., Castle Theatre, Bloomington; Toys for Tots fundraiser with Steepwater Band, and Jack Drupp & The Empty Bottles; $12-$15

DEC. 9-10

Cookies with Santa; 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 10, Dooley Park, Downs; cookies and milk, and pictures with Santa; $5. 

DEC. 10

Decades Rewind Sleigh Ride; 7 p.m., Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St.; nationally touring '60s-'80s theater-music tribute; $36-$46; 866-686-9541.

IWU Collegiate Choir Christmas Choral Concert; 3 p.m., Holy Trinity Church, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington; featuring IWU choral ensembles and vocalists; free.

USA Ballet Youth Ensemble Presents The Nutcracker; 3 p.m., Scottish Rite (Masonic) Temple, 302 E. Jefferson St., Bloomington; $20; 309-808-2898. 

DEC. 13

Tour de Lights; 5:30-7 p.m., meet at Lincoln Leisure Center, Bloomington; tour to see holiday lights around town while judging House Decorating Contest; 309-434-2260.

DEC. 14

Cirque Dreams Holidaze; 7:30 p.m., Grossinger Motors Arena, Bloomington; live touring holiday edition of cirque spectacle; 800-745-3000.

DEC. 16

Bill Kirchen's Honky Tonk Holiday Show; 6 p.m., Eagle Performing Arts & Conference Center, 319 N. Plum, Pontiac; Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen guitarist in holiday show; $38; 815-844-1187. 

Breakfast with Santa; 8:30 and 10 a.m., Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington; holiday breakfast with Santa and reindeer; $8-$12, with reservations required at 309-434-2250.  

Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra Holiday Concert; 7:30 p.m., Second Presbyterian Church, Bloomington; 866-686-9541. 

DEC. 27-30

State Farm Holiday Classic; various times, various locations; annual holiday basketball tournament with high school teams from throughout Central Illinois; www.theclassic.org.

DEC. 28

Chicago Festival Ballet's Nutcracker; 7:30 p.m., Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St.; touring production; $25-$45; 866-686-9541.

DEC. 31

Noon Year’s Eve at Children’s Discovery Museum; 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 101 E. Beaufort St., Normal; confetti countdown at noon, with noisemakers, party hats, games and more; $2 members, $9 non-members; 309-433-3444.