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The Illinois State Redbirds Marching Band participated in the annual Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Bloomington in 2016.  This year's event starts at 10 a.m. Dec. 8, after being canceled last week because of bad weather.

Special events


41st annual Holiday Treasures exhibit and sale; now through Dec. 30, McLean County Arts Center, Bloomington; includes painting, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture and seasonal gifts.

Christmas at Clover Lawn, holiday decorations with Dickens theme; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. thru Dec. 29; David Davis Mansion, Bloomington; free, donations accepted.

Season of Light; 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays from Nov. 30-Dec. 15, Illinois State University planetarium; program recounts historical, religious, and cultural rituals surrounding winter; $4, adults, $3, ages 5-12.  

Annual tree lighting ceremony, with carolers; 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7; Withers Park, downtown Bloomington. 

Bloomington-Normal Jaycees annual holiday parade; 10 a.m. Dec. 8; begins at Kingsley Jr. High travels south on Center Street to downtown Bloomington. 

Christmas at the Mansions, tours of David Davis Mansion, Ewing Manor and a third secret location; 2-5 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Dec. 8; $18 in advance, available through Dec. 7 at Casey's Garden Shop, The Garlic Press, Hy-Vee Market, both B-N Schnucks and David Davis Mansion.


Reece Huber, 8, peeked inside the live vignette Dec. 4, 2015, at Red Raccoon Games, 309 N. Main St., as Callista Huber, 10, and Laura Clark, 10, played a word game in the store window. At left is Trisha Malott and her son, Jackson, 1, and friend, Bozidar Jovanovic, who were taking in the Christmas windows.

Live Window Vignettes, in conjunction with First Friday, art studios and galleries also open; 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7, downtown Bloomington. 

Sing-a-long concert of Handel's Messiah; 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7; ISU Center for the Performing Arts concert hall, Normal; free will offering.

ISU String Project winter concert, performances by children in grades 3-8;  11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 8; ISU Center for the Performing Arts, Normal

Miller Park Zoo Wild Nights, explore the zoo, see hundreds of luminarias, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7-8; Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington; $7 adults or $3 for MPZ members, kids under 3 free.

Breakfast with Santa; 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Dec. 8; Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington; $9 members, $14 non-members, pre-registration required at

Skate with Santa; 12:40 to 1:55 p.m. Dec. 8; Pepsi Ice Center, downtown Bloomington; Santa and elves available for photos.

121107 USA Nutcracker

Nutcracker by USA Ballet 

USA Ballet Youth Ensemble Presents The Nutcracker; 3-5 p.m. Dec. 9, Bloomington-Normal Masonic Temple, 302 E. Jefferson St., Bloomington; $20; 309-808-2898. 

Tour de Lights; 5:30-7 p.m. Dec. 13, bus tour of B-N holiday lights; departs from Lincoln Leisure Center, Bloomington; $6 with online preregistration at https: //

Indoor farmers market; 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 15; Grossinger Motors Arena, downtown Bloomington. 

Central Illinois

East Peoria Festival of Lights; Nov. 22-Dec. 31; downtown East Peoria and other locations; holiday light show, displays, more.

The Nutcracker performed by the Champaign Urbana Ballet and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9; Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center, Urbana; $21-$45.

Santa’s Wildlife Express; 4-8 p.m. Dec. 7, 2-8 p.m. Dec. 8, 2-7 p.m. Dec. 9, Wildlife Prairie Park, Hanna City; train ride and indoor activities; $13 per person; registration required; 309-676-0998.


Harlem Globetrotters 2018 World Tour;  7 p.m. Dec. 7; Peoria Civic Center; $27 and up. 

The Nutcracker, performed by Peoria Ballet; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9; Peoria Civic Center; $10-$45.

The Nutcracker, performed by the Springfield Ballet Co., 44th annual production; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 2 p.m. Dec. 9; UIS Performing Arts Center, Springfield; $17-$37. 

Harlem Globetrotters 2018 World Tour;  3 p.m. Dec. 9; BOS Center, Springfield; $25.50-$275.50.

Christmas Wonderland, holiday show; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14; Peoria Civic Center, Peoria; $35-$65. 

Allerton Mansion A Holiday Affair, elegant evening with drinks, dinner, dessert and the soothing sound of vintage holiday records; 6-10 p.m. Dec. 15; Allerton Mansion at Allerton Park, Monticello; $80-$90 via Eventbrite.

Luminaria Sunday at the Dana-Thomas House; 5-8 p.m. Dec. 16, Dana-Thomas House, 301 E. Lawrence Ave., Springfield; tours of Frank Lloyd Wright home, with 1,000 exterior candles; free.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, musical; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16; State Farm Center, Champaign; $39-$65.


The Bottle Rockets are scheduled to perform Friday at The Castle Theatre, Bloomington.



The Bottle Rockets; 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Castle Theatre, downtown Bloomington; $17 and $20.

Lindsey Stirling; 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Grossinger Motors Arena, downtown Bloomington; $35-$75.

Brass Band of Central Illinois "Go Tell It On the Mountain"; 7 p.m. Dec. 8, Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois State University, Normal; special guest: SOI Chorus; free; voluntary donations.

Pink Talking Fish; 8 p.m. Dec. 13; Castle Theatre, downtown Bloomington; $17 and $20.

Mr. Blotto and the Henhouse Prowlers; 8 p.m. Dec. 14; Castle Theatre, downtown Bloomington; $14 and $18.

Illinois Symphony Orchestra; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, UIS Sangamon Auditorium, Springfield; Holiday Pops in the Heartland.

Matthew Curry's 4th Annual Fender Bender; 8 p.m. Dec. 15; Castle Theatre, downtown Bloomington; $12 and $15. 

Central Illinois

Bement Country Opry; 5 p.m. Dec. 7, Monticello Community Ballroom; artist Eric Gordon; meal, 5 p.m.; $10; 217-778-0990.

Snowball V, with Steady Flow, Mt. Joy, and Billy Raffoul; 6 p.m. Dec. 7; Monarch Music Hall; Peoria; $15 and $18.

PrimeTime Country Opry Christmas Show; 7 p.m. Dec. 8, Olympia High School auditorium, Stanford; doors open at 6 p.m.; ham meal at 5:30; $7; 309-449-5484.

This One's Pink, a tribute to Pink Floyd, and Mojo, a tribute to Tom Petty; 8 p.m. Dec. 8; Monarch Music Hall, Peoria; $10 and $13. 

Holiday Jazz featuring Millikin University Jazz Sextet with Angel Spiccia; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8; Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Millikin University, Decatur;  tickets, $7.50-$25.

Michael McDonald; 7 p.m. Dec. 9; Virginia Theatre, Champaign; $49.95-$79.95.

Andrew Peterson presents "Behold the Lamb of God;"  7 p.m. Dec. 12; Virginia Theatre, Champaign; tickets, $25-$40. 

American Family Christmas concert; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14-15, 3 p.m. Dec. 16, Five Points Washington; Peoria Area Civic Chorale; soloist: Penelope Shumate; $20, adults; $8, students through college; 309-693-6725, or at the door.



The Ghosts of Dickens; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, Eastland Mall, Bloomington; free tickets at box office one hour before show time; includes characters, carolers, live music; presented by Crossroads Area Student Theatre; mall festivities, 5-8:30 p.m. weekdays, noon-8:30 p.m. Sat.

Central Illinois

The Little Town of Christmas; 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 8 and 2 pm.. Dec. 9, Paxton Market Street Theatre, 120 N. Market St., Paxton; $12; 217-379-7028.

Renaissance Christmas Dinner; 7 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Terrill Rooms, Donald B. Cerf College Center, Eureka College, Eureka; Eureka College Chamber Singers, meal; $27 adult, $13 student or children under 12; 309-467-6317 by noon Nov. 27; seating begins 6:30 p.m.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play; 6:15 p.m. Dec. 6-8, 12:45 p.m. Dec. 9, Vermillion Players, Eagle Performing Arts and Conference Center, Pontiac; dinner theater; $37; 815-844-1187 or

Annie!; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9-15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8, 16, Eureka College Pritchard Theatre, $11.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, University of Illinois Springfield's Performing Arts Center; $25-$59. 



Semi Sweet; 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7, Ride the Nine/Shooters Lounge, Bloomington.

The Bygones; 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Bloomington Moose Lodge; nostalgic rock; no cover.

The Bad Plus; 7:15 p.m. p.m. Dec. 7 (doors open at 6 p.m.); second show, 10:15 p.m., Dec. 7, Nightshop, Bloomington; jazz; $15 in advance, $20 day of show.  

Mark and Melisa; 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Eagles Aerie 527, Bloomington; $5 cover.

Robert Sampson Blues Band; Dec. 7, Jazz Upfront, Bloomington.

Harry Tonchev Trio; Dec. 8, Jazz Upfront, Bloomington.

The Bygones (copy)

The Bygones; 8 p.m.-midnight Dec. 8, Winners Lounge, Bloomington; nostalgic rock; no cover.

Karaoke; 7 p.m.-midnight Dec. 8, Winners Lounge, Bloomington.

Mark Rose, Pelafina; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Nightshop, downtown Bloomington; alternative rock; $6.

Toke, Blackwater, Trench, DJ Wireless Mike; 7 p.m. Dec. 9, Nightshop, downtown Bloomington; hard rock/metal; $8.

Karaoke; 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 9, Ride the Nine/Shooters Lounge, Bloomington.

Karaoke; 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 11, Ride the Nine/Shooters Lounge, Bloomington.

A Wilhelm Scream; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Nightshop, downtown Bloomington; punk; openers: Hospital Job, Dirty Rotten Revenge; $10-12;

Karaoke; 7 p.m. Dec. 13, Eagles Aerie 527, Bloomington; no cover.

Open jazz stage; Dec. 13, Jazz Upfront, Bloomington.

The Country Mavericks; 7 p.m. Dec. 14, Eagles Aerie 527, Bloomington; no cover.

Acquaintances; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Nightshop, Bloomington; garage-influenced noise rock; cover TBD.

Karaoke; 7 p.m. Dec. 20, Eagles Aerie 527, Bloomington; no cover.

New music fest (copy) (copy)

The Kilborn Alley Blues Band 

Kilborn Alley Blues Band; Dec. 14, Jazz Upfront, Bloomington.

Soft Spoken; Dec. 15, Jazz Upfront, Bloomington.

Central Illinois

King T's; 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Clinton Eagles; blues and oldies; no cover.

She Said So; 5-8 p.m. Dec. 7, PK UnKorked, Pontiac; no cover.

Twang!; 6-8 p.m. Dec. 8, PK UnKorked, Pontiac; no cover.

Silver Fox band; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, American Legion, Heyworth; country; no cover.

Greg Wolf; 5-8 p.m. Dec. 15, PK UnKorked, Pontiac; no cover.

091218-blm-loc-2cdm (copy)

Children's Discovery Museum 

For kids


Children's Discovery Museum; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat.; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, 101 E. Beaufort St., Normal; exhibit gallery, paint wall, two-story climber, AgMazing exhibit, educational programs, more; $7, under 2 free; 309-433-3444.

Jammies and Jingles, design ornaments, play holiday games and visit with Santa; 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7; Children's Discovery Museum, uptown Normal. 

Breakfast with Santa, complimentary photos with Santa, children’s activities; 9-11 a.m. Dec. 15; Bloomington-Normal Marriott, uptown Normal; $16 each, kids under 2 free, advance tickets required at





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