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.