Archive for December, 2012

Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect in Peoria) is hosting a Kwanzaa Display through Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm Today (Thursday) through Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 5 pm. Kwanzaa is the African American holiday that celebrates family, community, and culture.  Enjoy the display of African plants in the holiday surroundings of the Poinsettia Show. Conservatory admission is waived during the holidays, although donations are always accepted. For more information, call 309-686-3362.

FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland is open through Monday at the VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road in East Peoria. Hours are 5 – 9 pm Tonight (Thursday), 5 – 11 pm on Friday & Saturday and  5 – 9 pm on Sunday & Monday. Cost is $10 for cars & vans, $20 for limousines, extended vans and party buses and RVs and $150 for full size buses. Cash & debit cards are accepted for payment. For more information, visit www.folepi.org

Home for the Holidays will complete its run at the Barn 2 Dinner Theatre in Goodfield tonight (Thursday) through Monday. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday doors open at 6 pm, buffet is at 6:30 pm, and the show is at 8 pm. On Sunday, doors & the buffet open at noon, and the show is at 1:30 pm. Prices are $34 for Thursdays, $36 for Fridays and Sunday brunch and $38 for Saturdays. For more information, call 309-965-2545 or go to www.barn2.com

Dale Jones (aka Monkey Boy) will perform at the Jukebox Comedy Club tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm Friday & Saturday and New Years Eve at 8 pm & 11 pm. Tickets are $12 for tonight’s (Thursday) show and $14 on Friday & Saturday and $21 or $20 with cash payment for New Years Eve. For more information and to reserve seats, call 309-673-5853 or visit www.jukeboxcomedy.com

Velocity, the Official Nightclub Experience for Teens, will be at the Peoria Civic Center Exhibit Hall B tonight (Thursday) beginning at 8 pm with doors opening at 7 pm. Girls get in for half price before 8 pm. General admission is $20 at the door or $15 with a RSVP on Facebook  The age requirement to attend is high school freshmen through age 19 (ID or signed permission slip required) forms of ID accepted listed at http://velocityparty.com/f-a-q/

Live at the Five Spot at the Contemporary Art Center will feature Bill Porter (blues, rock) beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday. Admission is $7 for members, $10 for non-members, $6 for student & senior members and $9 for student & senior non-members.
Enjoy Swing Dance at the Contemporary Arts Center on Friday from 8:30 – 9:30 pm for the dance lesson and 9:30 pm – 12:30 am for open dancing to DJ Matt Vasquez. Admission is $3 for CAC Members and $6 for non-members. For more information on either event, call 309-674-6877 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org

The Boat Drunks will perform at the Gateway Building (located at 200 NE Water Street in downtown Peoria) on Friday from 9 – 11:30 pm. Admission is $10 per person. Call 309-689-3019 for tickets .

The Harlem Globetrotters will play at the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday beginning at 2 pm. Tickets are $15, $25, $35, $45 and $75 and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com  Before the game, spend time on the court with the Globetrotters – shooting, trying out ball tricks plus getting autographs and photos. This year’s Globetrotters roster features stars Special K Daley and Flight Time Lang. They will join many other fan favorites, including, 7-ft 8-in Tiny Sturgess (the world’s tallest pro basketball player), 5-ft 2-in Too Tall Hall (the shortest Globetrotter ever), and female star T-Time Brawner.

Bradley Men’s Basketball will take on Drake on Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center Arena beginning at 7 pm. Tickets are $8, $14 and $20 for the general public, $4, $7 and $10 for Bradley faculty & staff and $1 for Bradley students and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling 800-745-3000.

The Rusty Pickup String Band presents its second annual Australian New Year Old-Fashioned Barn Dance at Shore Acres (located at 100 Park Boulevard in Chillicothe) on Sunday beginning at 7 pm. Callers Jim Hicks and Gail Hintze plus surprise guests will teach the dances – beginners are welcome. Live music will be provided by Chillicothe’s own champion fiddler Emmy Holmes-Hicks, who returns from the East Coast to lead the original Rusty Pickup String Band.  Costumes are encouraged. Admission is $5 with a $20 maximum for families. You are invited to bring a snack to share. For more information and directions, call 309-274-5358 or 309-274-2228.

Julie K’s 3rd Annual “Noon Year’s Eve Celebration” will take place at Five Points Washington (located at 360 N. Wilmor Road in Washington) on Monday beginning at 11 am. Tickets are $10 & $12 and are available www.fivepointswashington.org

The Peoria Rivermen will take on the Abbotsford Heat at the Peoria Civic Center Arena on Monday beginning at 6 pm. Individual game tickets range in price from $13 – $28 and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, by calling 309-676-1040 or online at www.ticketmaster.com

Ring in 2013 by celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra at Ring-a-Ding-Ding New Year at Peoria Players Theatre on Monday beginning at 7:30 pm. Admission is $20 for all ages and includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are available at the Peoria Player Box Office or by calling 309-688-4473. For more information, visit www.peoriaplayers.org

An All Ages New Year’s Eve Ball will be held at the Grand Hotel (located at 4400 N. Brandywine Dr in Peoria) with an indoor pool party on Monday beginning at 4 pm. Live music will be provided by Chicago jam band Family Groove Company, Peoria’s Brainchild, Jack Willis, DJ Trinketz, DJ Psydell & DJ Mike Buck. There will be a full bar, a New Year’s Eve Countdown at midnight and special room rates available. Tickets are $23 at the door for adults or $20 in advance at www.jcampbellevents.com and $10 for children ages 10 – 15 and free for children 9 and under with a paid adult. For more information, call 309-691-0866.

The Contemporary Art Center will host a Special Salsa Dance on Monday to ring in the New Year.  From 8:30-9:30 pm is the introductory lesson (included in admission price) and the dance party from 9:30 pm – 1 am. Admission is $3 for members and $6 for nonmembers. For more information, call 309-674-6822 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org

The 2012 Get Lit New Year’s Eve Fun Run will take place at FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland (located on Par Three Lane off Springfield Road in East Peoria) on Monday beginning at 11:50 pm. Cost for the run/walk is $14 due by night of event. A post-race pizza party at Avanti’s will follow:  food is  furnished, drinks will not be provided. For more information, call 309-253-2420 or visit http://www.cityofeastpeoria.com/festival-of-lights
Open to men, women and children, this event is a non-competitive run/walk on a two-mile paved course through the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display. There will be no vehicular traffic in the Winter Wonderland during the run/walk. All participants must remain on the main road through the Winter Wonderland due to the numerous guide wires that hold up the lighted displays. No dogs are allowed on the course.

FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland is open through New Year’s Eve at the VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road in East Peoria. Hours are 5 – 9 pm Sundays – Thursdays and 5 – 11 pm on Fridays & Saturdays. Cost is $10 for cars & vans, $20 for limousines, extended vans and party buses and RVs and $150 for full size buses. Cash & debit cards are accepted for payment. For more information, visit www.folepi.org

Enjoy a Girls Night Out from 5 – 7 pm tonight (Thursday) at Wines ‘N More (located at 151 South Main Street in Morton) featuring a free wine tasting. Local vendors will be displaying their unique merchandise and there will also be free massages, facials, a wellness coach and wine tasting. Admission is free. For more information, call 309-291-0899.  Extended hours and special discounts will be offered by Eli’s Coffee, LuLu’s, Pumpkin Patch and Leaves N Beans also located in downtown Morton.

The Annual Journal Star Family Christmas Sing will take place tonight (Thursday) at 7 pm in the Peoria Civic Center’s Great Hall.  Admission and parking are free. Former Peoria mayor Jim Maloof, Rebekah Bourland, Vice President of the Methodist Medical Center Foundation and Lee Wenger of WCBU-FM will lead the singing of Christmas carols.  For more information, call 309-680-3586.

The O Holy Night Christmas Production will be presented at Northwoods Community Church (located at 10700 North Allen Road in Peoria) Friday beginning at 7 pm, at 4 pm & 6 pm on Saturday, at 9 am, 11 am & 1 pm on Sunday and at 1 pm & 4 pm on Monday. Tickets are free, however are required. (There was a performance scheduled for tonight (Thursday), but it has been cancelled due to inclement weather.)  Tickets must be requested in advance online at www.nwoods.org/christmas  Childcare is available at every performance for ages birth through three.

Home for the Holidays continues at the Barn 2 Dinner Theatre in Goodfield tonight (Thursday) through December 31. On Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, doors open at 6 pm, buffet is at 6:30 pm, and the show is at 8 pm. On Sundays, doors & the buffet open at noon, and the show is at 1:30 pm. Prices are $34 for Thursdays, $36 for Fridays and Sunday brunch and $38 for Saturdays. For more information, call 309-965-2545 or go to www.barn2.com

Mike Toomey will perform at the Jukebox Comedy Club tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm Friday & Saturday at 8 pm & 10:30 pm. Tickets are $14 except for the Thursday 8 pm and Friday & Saturday 10:30 pm shows, which are $12. For more information and to reserve seats, call 309-673-5853 or visit www.jukeboxcomedy.com

A Downton Abbey Season 2 Marathon‘s last viewing will take place from 10:30 am – Noon on Friday at the North Branch of the Peoria Public Library (located at 3001 W Grand Pkwy. in Peoria).  Enjoy an episode from Season 2 from this program that explores the impact of WWI on the people of Great Britain. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.peoriapubliclibrary.org

A Local Artists’ Holiday Showcase and Sale will be held at the Shoppes of Grand Prairie showcasing the works of local artists over the holiday season featuring glassblowers, wood turners, jewelry-makers, clay throwers and more in the old bookstore on the S.E. corner of the Shoppes complex. Hours are 4 – 8 on Fridays and Noon – 6 pm on Saturdays and Noon – 5 pm on Sunday. For more information, call 309-692-3672.

Live at the Five Spot at the Contemporary Art Center will feature Spring Creek Station (country, pop) beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday. Admission is $7 for members, $10 for non-members, $6 for student & senior members and $9 for student & senior non-members.
Salsa at the Contemporary Art Center will feature a dance lesson from 8:30 – 9:30 pm and open dancing to DJ Matt Vasquez from 9:30 pm – 12:30 am. A cash bar will be available. Admission is $3 for members or $6 for non-members. For more information on either event, call 309-674-6877 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org

Enjoy the holiday tradition of Candlelight Walks at Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect (corner of Prospect & Gift in Peoria) on Friday from 6 – 9 pm. The Poinsettia Show under the warm glow of hundreds of candles is enhanced with live performances of holiday music. Admission will be waived during the holidays, although donations are always accepted. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaparks.org

Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights) will host its annual Holiday Shop & Stroll on Friday from 6 – 8:30 pm. Take a walk along the illuminated forest paths and enjoy live music, storytelling, caroling, hot wassail and homemade goodies. While there, check out the annual Nature Art Show, which runs through December 29th and features photography, paintings, woodcarvings and more by local artists. For more information, call 309-686-3360.

Riverside Community Church (located at 207 NE Monroe St. in Peoria) will present Christmas Carol – A Musical Adaptation on Friday beginning at 7 pm. Admission is free. For more information, call 309-676-7700.

Christmas with a Capital C, will be screened on Friday beginning at 7 pm at the Peoria First Church of the Nazarene (located at 5504 N. University St. in Peoria). Admission is free. For more information, visit www.pureflix.com or 309-692-3131.

The River City Blues Society Friday Night Blues Series will feature Rob Williams and The Soggy Bottom Blues Band with opening act Chris Stevens at Goodfellas (located at 1414 N. 8th St. in Pekin) on Friday beginning at 7 pm. Admission is $5 for the general public and $3 for Society members For more information, visit www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510.

The Night Before Christmas Carol will be presented as part of the ICC Guest Artist Series at the ICC Performing Arts Center on Friday beginning at 7:30 pm. History, humor, and the holiday come to life in this entertaining study of Charles Dickens. David zum Brunnen portrays Charles Dickens and 17 familiar characters, giving personal, social, and historical context to the ghostly classic, A Christmas Carol. Tickets are $15 for adults & $10 for students and are available at the ICC Box Office or by calling 309-699-5136. For more information, visit www.artsaticc.com

Skate with Santa at Owens Center (located at 1019 West Lake Avenue – in Lakeview Park in Peoria) from 2:30 – 4:30 pm on Saturday or enjoy a Family Holiday Skate from 1 – 3 pm on Sunday. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for ages 12 and under and senior citizens aged 65 and over. Skate Rental is $2.  For more information, call 309-686-3368.

Jinglin’ Jazz will take place on Saturday from 6:30 – 9 pm at Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect at the corner of Prospect & Gift in Peoria). Cool jazz tunes complete the festive holiday setting of the Conservatory featuring the Poinsettia Show. A selection of hors d’oeuvres and specialty wine will be served plus there will be a silent auction too.  Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members (ages 21 and over only) which includes hors d’oeuvres.  A cash bar will be available. Call 309-681-3506 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Branson on the Road Christmas Style will be presented at Five Points Performing Arts Center (located at 360 N. Wilmor Rd. in Washington) on Saturday with a Meet & Greet Dinner (provided by Barrack’s Cater Inn) featuring a private performance by Branson on the Road performers plus door prize giveaways beginning at 5 pm and the show beginning at 7 pm. Tickets for the Dinner & Show are $60 per person. Show only tickets are $30. For more information and to order tickets, visit www.rbshows.com

I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Holiday Cabaret will be presented at Peoria Players Theatre on Saturday beginning at 7:30 pm. Enjoy an evening of holiday entertainment featuring festive music and dance performed by staples of the Peoria theatre community as well as native Central Illinois performers who have come home for the holidays.  Tickets are $14 for all ages and are available at the Peoria Players Box Office or by calling 309-688-4473. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaplayers.org

The 29th Annual Stocking Stuffer Store will take place at Northwoods Mall & the Shoppes at Grand Prairie through December 19 where children ages 12 and under can shop (with the assistance of a volunteer) for holiday presents for parents, grandparents, siblings – whomever they wish – while parents relax in a seating area located outside the store. Gifts range from $1 – $8. Locations & Hours are: Mondays – Fridays from 4 – 8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 8 pm and Sundays from noon – 5 pm at Northwoods Mall (Located in the upper Level near Sears, across from The Smo-King Pit) and Saturdays & Sundays from noon – 5 pm at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie (in the former Borders Location) on Saturday & Sunday only. All proceeds benefit Crittenton Centers. For more information, call 309-674-0105 or visit www.crittentoncenters.org

FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland is open through New Year’s Eve at the VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road in East Peoria. Hours are 5 – 9 pm Sundays – Thursdays and 5 – 11 pm on Fridays & Saturdays. Cost is $10 for cars & vans, $20 for limousines, extended vans and party buses and RVs and $150 for full size buses. Cash & debit cards are accepted for payment. For more information, visit www.folepi.org

Santa’s Wildlife Express at Wildlife Prairie Park is an enchanting evening full of holiday festivities running from 5 – 9 pm tonight (Thursday) through Saturday. Ride the Zephyr Train through Santa’s Wildlife Forest, mingle with Santa’s feathered and furry animal friends, make crafts with the elves, munch on cookies and sip on hot cocoa with Mrs. Claus, hike on illuminated animal trails and visit with Santa at this holiday event. Admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members $12 aged 14+ and $15 for members and $18 for non-member children. Children ages 1 & under are free. Reservations are required as seating will be limited and may be made by calling 309-676-0998. For more information, visit http://www.wildlifeprairiestatepark.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical continues at Peoria Players Theatre tonight (Thursday) through Saturday at 7:30 pm and a Sunday performance at 2 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for patrons 18 and under and are available at the Peoria Players Box Office, by calling 309-688-4473 or online at www.PeoriaPlayers.org  In this spectacular musical extravaganza that ran for 10 years at Madison Square Garden, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol gets the full Broadway treatment by Disney composer Alan Menken.

Home for the Holidays continues at the Barn 2 Dinner Theatre in Goodfield tonight (Thursday) through December 31. On Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, doors open at 6 pm, buffet is at 6:30 pm, and the show is at 8 pm. On Sundays, doors & the buffet open at noon, and the show is at 1:30 pm. Prices are $34 for Thursdays, $36 for Fridays and Sunday brunch and $38 for Saturdays. For more information, call 309-965-2545 or go to www.barn2.com

Dave Coulier of ABC’s Full House fame will perform at the Jukebox Comedy Club tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm Friday & Saturday at 8 pm & 10:30 pm. Tickets are $21 (or $20 with a cash payment) except for the Thursday 8 pm and Friday & Saturday 10:30 pm shows, which are $16 (or $15 with a cash payment). For more information and to reserve seats, call 309-673-5853 or visit www.jukeboxcomedy.com

The Peoria Riverfront Museum will host a Hobbit Costume Contest tonight (Thursday) from 10 pm – 12 am just prior to their Giant Screen Theatre premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D. Judging of costumes will take place from 10:30 – 11:30 pm, doors open for the show at 11:45 am and the show begins at Midnight. The winner of the contest will receive a free pair of tickets to the midnight premiere. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for children aged 3 – 17 and $13 for senior citizens aged 60+ and are available at the Peoria Riverfront Museum Box Office or online at http://www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org  For more information about the contest, call 309-686-7000.

Peoria County and the City of Peoria will host a joint Legislative Breakfast on Friday at the Peoria Riverfront Museum from 9 – 11 am featuring state senators Dave Koehler and Darin LaHood and representatives Jehan Gordon-Booth, David Leitch, Don Moffitt and Mike Unes. Admission is free. For more information, call 309-672-6056.

A Downton Abbey Season 2 Marathon will continue through December 21st from 10:30 am – Noon on Fridays at the North Branch of the Peoria Public Library (located at 3001 W Grand Pkwy. in Peoria).  Every Friday an episode from Season 2 will be presented from this program that explores the impact of WWI on the people of Great Britain. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.peoriapubliclibrary.org

A Local Artists’ Holiday Showcase and Sale will be held at the Shoppes of Grand Prairie showcasing the works of local artists over the holiday season featuring glassblowers, wood turners, jewelry-makers, clay throwers and more in the old bookstore on the S.E. corner of the Shoppes complex. Hours are 4 – 8 on Fridays and Noon – 6 pm on Saturdays through December 23. For more information, call 309-692-3672.

Live at the Five Spot at the Contemporary Art Center will feature Stephanie Aaron (jazz) beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday. Admission is $7 for members, $10 for non-members, $6 for student & senior members and $9 for student & senior non-members.   For more information, call 309-674-6877 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org

Enjoy a holiday tradition of Candlelight Walks at Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect (corner of Prospect & Gift in Peoria) on Friday & Saturday from 6 – 9 pm. The Poinsettia Show under the warm glow of hundreds of candles is enhanced with live performances of holiday music. Admission will be waived during the holidays, although donations are always accepted. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaparks.org

Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights) will host its annual Holiday Shop & Stroll on Friday and Saturday from 6 – 8:30 pm. Take a walk along the illuminated forest paths and enjoy live music, storytelling, caroling, hot wassail and homemade goodies. While there, check out the annual Nature Art Show, which runs through December 29th and features photography, paintings, woodcarvings and more by local artists. For more information, call 309-686-3360.

Celebrate the holidays at Community Workshop and Training Center’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Landmark Recreation Center (located at 3225 Dries Lane in Peoria) on Friday beginning at 6 pm. There will be fun, games, prizes, live music and dancing with Boogie Shooze. Tickets are $20 and include a taco bar with all the trimmings and cash bar. Don’t have an Ugly Christmas Sweater? Ugly Christmas Sweaters are available to rent for just $15 and you can call to reserve one at 309-686-3300. Order tickets online at www.cwtc.org  For more information call 309-686-3300.

Josh Turner with special guests Easton Corbin and Katie Armiger will perform on Friday at the Peoria Civic Center beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $34.50 in advance and $39.50 day of show and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by calling 800-745-3000 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com

The Peoria Area Civic Chorale will present An American Family Christmas at the Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points Center (located at 360 Wilmor Road in Washington) at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $24 for adults, $12 for students and $20 for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call 309-693-6725.

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa at the Embassy Suites Conference Center (located at 100 Conference Center Dr. in East Peoria) on Saturday from 9 – 11 am. Other entertainment includes a balloon artist plus Jonny Rovatti (a comedy magician). Bring your camera for holiday photos with Santa. Cost is $16 for adults and $9 for children aged 12 and under. Call 309-694-0200 for further information – no reservations are required.

The Peoria Rivermen will take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Peoria Civic Center Arena on Saturday beginning at 7 pm. Individual game tickets range in price from $13 – $28 and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, by calling 309-676-1040 or online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/806659

Salsa on the Riverfront featuring DJ Ed Caballero will take place at the Gateway Building Grand Ballroom (located at 200 NE Water Street in downtown Peoria) on Saturday from 8 – 11 pm. Enjoy an evening of Latin Music and Dancing with a $10 admission fee. A cash bar will be available. Call 309-494-6713 to reserve tickets.

The 29th Annual Stocking Stuffer Store will take place at Northwoods Mall & the Shoppes at Grand Prairie through December 19 where children ages 12 and under can shop (with the assistance of a volunteer) for holiday presents for parents, grandparents, siblings – whomever they wish – while parents relax in a seating area located outside the store. Gifts range from $1 – $8. Locations & Hours are: Mondays – Fridays from 4 – 8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am – 8 pm and Sundays from noon – 5 pm at Northwoods Mall (Located in the upper Level near Sears, across from The Smo-King Pit) and Saturdays & Sundays from noon – 5 pm at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie (in the former Borders Location) on Saturday & Sunday only. All proceeds benefit Crittenton Centers. For more information, call 309-674-0105 or visit www.crittentoncenters.org

Santa’s Wildlife Express at Wildlife Prairie Park is an enchanting evening full of holiday festivities running from 5 – 9 pm tonight (Thursday) through Saturday. Ride the Zephyr Train through Santa’s Wildlife Forest, mingle with Santa’s feathered and furry animal friends, make crafts with the elves, munch on cookies and sip on hot cocoa with Mrs. Claus, hike on illuminated animal trails and visit with Santa at this holiday event. Admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members $12 aged 14+ and $15 for members and $18 for non-member children. Children ages 1 & under are free. Reservations are required as seating will be limited and may be made by calling 309-676-0998. For more information, visit http://www.wildlifeprairiestatepark.org

The Washington Chamber of Commerce will host the Washington Square Candlelight Stroll tonight (Thursday) from 5 – 9 pm. Enjoy shopping, carriage rides and a special visit from Santa. The Courier Christmas Sing will begin at 6:30 pm and the lighting of the tree will happen at 7:15 pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.washingtoncoc.com

The 34th annual Morton Community Christmas Sing will take place tonight (Thursday) at Morton Community Bank (located at 721 W. Jackson Street in Morton) from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Enjoy cookies, coffee and punch while listening to the music of the John Phillips Oompah Band. For more information, call 309-266-5337.

Home for the Holidays continues at the Barn 2 Dinner Theatre in Goodfield tonight (Thursday) through December 31. On Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, doors open at 6 pm, buffet is at 6:30 pm, and the show is at 8 pm. On Sundays, doors & the buffet open at noon, and the show is at 1:30 pm. Prices are $34 for Thursdays, $36 for Fridays and Sunday brunch and $38 for Saturdays. For more information, call 309-965-2545 or go to www.barn2.com

FOLEPI’s Winter Wonderland is open through New Year’s Eve at the VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road in East Peoria. Hours are 5 – 9 pm Sundays – Thursdays and 5 – 11 pm on Fridays & Saturdays. Cost is $10 for cars & vans, $20 for limousines, extended vans and party buses and RVs and $150 for full size buses. Cash & debit cards are accepted for payment. For more information, visit http://www.cityofeastpeoria.com/festival-of-lights

The Central Illinois Herpetological Society will meet at Forest Park Nature Center tonight (Thursday) at 7 pm featuring a speaker, raffles, announcements of trips and exhibits and opportunities for hobbyists to interact with one another. Admission is free. Membership to the CIHS is $20 per year which includes the quarterly newsletter, Herp Alert. The Society meets the first Thursday every month at this time at Forest Park Nature Center.

Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove will be at the Peoria Civic Center Arena for seven performances tonight (Thursday) & Friday at 7 pm, at 11 am, 3 pm & 7 pm on Saturday and at 1 pm & 5 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10.50, $17, $23, $36 and $46 and are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.
Find a $4 Off Coupon for Disney on Ice on Peoria-Deals.com!

Eastlight Theatre continues their run of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the East Peoria High School Auditorium beginning at 7:30 pm tonight (Thursday) as well as on Friday & Saturday and at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $19 and are available online at http://www.eastlighttheatre.com/tickets.htm  For more information, call 309-699-7469.

Whisper & Shout at the Contemporary Art Center is an open mic for sharing and inspiring poetry. Doors open tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 pm, show begins at 8 pm. Admission is $4 for members or $7 for non-members. Live at the Five Spot at the Contemporary Art Center will feature Cousin Eddie (pop, rock)  beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday. Admission is $7 for members, $10 for non-members, $6 for student & senior members and $9 for student & senior non-members. Salsa at the Contemporary Art Center will feature a dance lesson on Friday from 8:30 – 9:30 pm and open dancing to DJ Matt Vasquez from 9:30 pm – 12:30 am. A cash bar will be available. Admission is $3 for members or $6 for non-members.  For more information on any of these events, call 309-674-6877 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org

Johnny Beehner will perform at the Jukebox Comedy Club tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm Friday & Saturday at 8 pm & 10:30 pm. Tickets are $14 except for the Thursday 8 pm and Friday & Saturday 10:30 pm shows, which are $12. For more information and to reserve seats, call 309-673-5853 or visit www.jukeboxcomedy.com

Enjoy a Holiday Breakfast with Greg and Dan on Friday from 7:30 – 9 am at the Peoria Riverfront Museum plus the 13th annual Holiday Luncheon, featuring a silent auction, raffle and catering by Cracked Pepper, beginning at 11 am. Peoria Riverfront Museum President/CEO Jim Richerson will host a gallery walk beginning at 1:15 pm. Cost is $25 per person. For more information, call 309-863-3010 or visit www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org

A Downton Abbey Season 2 Marathon will continue through December 21st from 10:30 am – Noon on Fridays at the North Branch of the Peoria Public Library (located at 3001 W Grand Pkwy. in Peoria).  Every Friday an episode from Season 2 will be presented from this program that explores the impact of WWI on the people of Great Britain. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. For more information, visit www.peoriapubliclibrary.org

A Local Artists’ Holiday Showcase and Sale will be held at the Shoppes of Grand Prairie showcasing the works of local artists over the holiday season featuring glassblowers, wood turners, jewelry-makers, clay throwers and more in the old bookstore on the S.E. corner of the Shoppes complex. Hours are 4 – 8 on Fridays and Noon – 6 pm on Saturdays through December 23. For more information, call 309-692-3672.

Enjoy a holiday tradition of Candlelight Walks at Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect (corner of Prospect & Gift in Peoria) on Friday & Saturday from 6 – 9 pm. The Poinsettia Show under the warm glow of hundreds of candles is enhanced with live performances of holiday music. Admission will be waived during the holidays, although donations are always accepted. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaparks.org

Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights) will host its annual Holiday Shop & Stroll on Friday from 6 – 8:30 pm. Take a walk along the illuminated forest paths and enjoy live music, storytelling, caroling, hot wassail and homemade goodies. While there, check out the annual Nature Art Show, which runs through December 29th and features photography, paintings, woodcarvings and more by local artists. For more information, call 309-686-3360.

The CIAO First Fridays Artists’ Tour will take place this Friday from 5 – 9 pm at 10 different locations in downtown Peoria including The Mill, Murray Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Art Center, and the Peoria Art Guild where visitors can view artist demonstrations as well as purchase pieces. For a complete map of the locations, visit http://ciaopeoria.com

Celebrate the spirit of the holidays on the Illinois River with “A Celtic Christmas” on the Spirit of Peoria featuring a hot homemade buffet, two-hour cruise and entertainment. On Friday, the dinner cruise boards at 6:30 pm and returning to dock by 9 pm for $43 per person or $21.50 for children aged 4 – 12. Children 3 and under eat free including tax and gratuity. To make reservations for individuals or groups, call 1-800-676-8988.

Corn Stock for Kids continues their production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Corn Stock Theatre Center (located in upper Bradley Park) beginning at 7:30 pm on Friday and at 2:30 pm on Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults & $6 for children and are available at the Corn Stock Box Office, by phone at 309-676-2196 or online at www.CornStockTheatre.com

A Christmas Carol – The Musical will be presented by Peoria Players Theatre opens on Friday at 7:30 pm with a performance on Saturday also at 7:30 pm and a Sunday performance at 2 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for patrons 18 and under and $12 for all ages on Wednesday, December 12 and are available at the Peoria Players Box Office, by calling 309-688-4473 or online at www.PeoriaPlayers.org  In this spectacular musical extravaganza that ran for 10 years at Madison Square Garden, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol gets the full Broadway treatment by Disney composer Alan Menken.

Keokuk Junction Railway Co. will be operate its annual Santa Train where Santa Claus will be on hand making six stops along the KJRY’s railroad line to visit children, provide railroad safety demonstrations and to confirm their Christmas lists. The route begins in Mapleton at Mapleton Road on Saturday with an 8:30 am arrival and continues through 5:15 pm making several additional stops (visit the ExplorePeoria.com Events Calendar for a complete listing). A limited number of passenger train tickets are available online: visit www.pioneer-railcorp.com or call 309-697-1400 for more information. A minimum suggested donation is $10 and please select one segment to ride. All ticket proceeds will benefit St. Jude.

Do some holiday shopping at the Embassy Suites Convention Center on Saturday from 9 am – 2: pm at the Holiday Craft and Vendor Show. With over 30 vendors, cash and carry items will be available for purchase including Scentsy, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, Watkins, Norwex, Miche, It works, Carlson Crafts, Jockey, Silpada, Beijo, Thirty One, Nail Art, Paparzzi plus there will be hand made crafts available too.

Christmas on the Ghost Front will be held at Sommer Park (located at 6329 N. Koerner Road in Edwards) on Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm. Join World War II veterans, historians and re-enactors as the days leading up to the Battle of the Bulge are recreated at the Pioneer Homestead. Demonstrations will include soldier life, military vehicles, POW interrogation, and a first aid station. Admission is $5 per vehicle.

Chocolate in the Heights will take place on Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm at participating businesses in downtown Peoria Heights offering special chocolate treats and discounts on chocolate for the holidays. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaheightschamber.com

The Harmonie-Concordia Singers of the Peoria German-American Society will host a Kristkindlmarkt at the Lindenhof (located at 7601 N. Harker Drive in Peoria across from Finish Line Ford) from 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday and from Noon – 5 pm on Sunday. Find arts and crafts plus imported items from Germany and Austria. Food and beverage will also be available including bratwurst, schnitzel, homemade strudel, glühwein, hot chocolate, Bavarian pretzels, and German beer. Entertainment features the Lindehhof Echoes (alpine horn group), a brass group playing Christmas Carols, Christmas Carolers and a strolling accordion player. Santa Claus will be available beginning at 1 – 4 pm each day. Admission is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable foods to the event for donation to local food pantries. For more information, call 309-444-4656 or visit www.peoriagermans.net

The Junior League of Peoria will host a Victorian Christmas Celebration at the historic Balance Herschel House (located at 256 NE. Randolph Ave. in Peoria) on Saturday for a 11 am and a 2 pm Tea. Tickets are $20 per person and are only sold in advance as seating is limited. For more information or to make reservations for this event, call 309-685-9312.

Join the farm animals in the Big Barn at Linden Hill Farms (located at 8412 W. Middle Road in Peoria) on Saturday from 4 – 5 pm as they settle down for the night to hear the Christmas story. Sing Christmas Carols and share the joy of the season during the frosty winter evenings. Cookies and hot chocolate provided. Admission is $5 for adults, children under 3 are free. Call 309-697-4041 to make reservations. For more information, visit http://www.lindenhillfarms.com/Weekend_Events.php

The 8th Body Fitness Annual Christmas Gala (located at 3020 N. University in Peoria) will take place on Saturday from 7 pm – Midnight. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres & dancing featuring swing, latin, ballroom and more plus dance and vocal performances. Cost is $12 per person or $20 per couple or $15 per person at the door. Members & students are $5 (high school/college) prepaid or $10 at the door. Attire is dressy (no jeans please). For more information, call 309-685-1950.

The Spirit of Peoria will host North Pole Naughtiness, a Murder Mystery Cruise with on Saturday boarding at 7 pm and cruise from 8 – 10 pm. Who done it? And why? This interactive cruise is more than a shot in the dark. The cast of the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company will dine and mingle with you as the mystery unfolds. Tickets are $47 for adults and $23.50 for kids ages 4 – 12 and reservations may be made by calling 309-637-8000 or online at http://www.spiritofpeoria.com

The Peoria Ballet will present The Nutcracker at the Peoria Civic Center Theater beginning at 7:30 pm on Saturday and at 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets range from $10 to $43 and are on sale at the Peoria Civic Center, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com   A family holiday tradition and perhaps the most popular of all ballets is the beloved story of Clara and the Nutcracker. Guest artists join a cast of more than 100 dancers, actors and tumblers, all wrapped up in Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music.  For more information, call 309-690-7990 or visit http://www.peoriaballet.com

Holiday Brunch with Santa at Wildlife Prairie Park will take place on Sunday from 10 am – 2:30 pm in the Prairie Hall. Enjoy a Holiday feast and visit with Santa Claus. Admission is $18 for adults (ages 11 and up), $7.95 for children (ages 3-10) and free for ages 2 and under. Reservations may be made by calling 309-676-0998. For more information, visit http://www.wildlifeprairiestatepark.org

Enjoy Christmas with the Philharmonic at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria on Sunday for an afternoon of Christmas music and fellowship bginning at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 and $8 for students and senior citizens, and are available at the ICC box office or calling 309-694-5136.