The Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 N. Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights) Nature Art Show & Sale will be held today (Thursday) through Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 1 – 5 pm featuring a diversity of media and unique artwork, all created by talented local artists. It is a great way to support local artists and find original nature-related photographs, paintings, woodcarvings, handmade jewelry and more. For more information, call 309-686-3360 or visit www.peoriaparks.org
The 30th Annual Stocking Stuffer Store will take place at Northwoods Mall & the Shoppes at Grand Prairie through December 22 where children ages 12 and under can shop (with the assistance of an adult volunteer) for holiday presents for parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. 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 on Saturdays & Sundays from noon – 5 pm at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie (located next to Justice) on December 6 – 8, 13 – 22 Mondays – Fridays from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm and Saturdays & Sundays from Noon – 5 pm. All proceeds benefit Crittenton Centers. For more information, call 309-674-0105 or visit www.crittentoncenters.org
Folepi’s Winter Wonderland continues through New Year’s Eve at the VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road (located at 123 Par 3 Lane in East Peoria). Drive through a million sparkles of excitement in the Festival of Lights’ signature event. Folepi’s Winter Wonderland features the majority of the Parade of Lights floats and many other lighted displays. Hours are 5 – 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays and 5 – 11 pm on Fridays & Saturdays. Cost is $10 for all vehicles excepts full size buses, which are $150. For more information, visit http://www.folepi.org
Enjoy Girls’ Night Out at Wines ‘N More (located at 151 S. Main Street in Morton) featuring a complimentary wine tasting tonight (Thursday) from 5 – 7 pm and women can enjoy select wines for $5 per glass in the Wine Bar. Gourmet appetizers and small plates will be available plus premium microbrews and wines by the glass, flight or bottle from the wine list. For more information, call 309-291-0899.
Deck the Halls continues tonight (Thursday) through Sunday at the Barn 2 Dinner Theatre in Goodfield and runs through December 31st. 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 $37 for Fridays and Sunday brunch and $39 for Saturdays. For more information, call 309-965-2545 or go to www.barn2.com
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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.
Folepi’s Gifts Galore Fine Art & Gift Show will be held from 4 – 9 pm on Friday and from Noon – 9 pm on Saturday and Sunday at the new Civic Plaza in East Peoria’s Levee District (located at 400 Richland St. in East Peoria). Admission is free. Santa will appear from 2 – 4 pm on Saturday and from 4 – 6 pm on Sunday. Approximately 30 area artists will display and sell their creations including holiday decorations, unique hats and apparel, jewelry, ceramics, paintings, small sculpture, glass-blown items, handmade greeting cards and more. All items are original works. For more information, visit http://www.folepi.org
Whisper & Shout will take place at the Contemporary Art Center tonight (Thursday) beginning at 8 pm and is an open mic for sharing and inspiring poetry. Admission is $4 for members or $7 for non-members. For more information, call 309-674-6822.
Live at the Five Spot at the Contemporary Art Center will feature JuJu Jonny on Friday beginning at 5:30 pm. 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 also 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, call 309-674-6877. For more information, call 309-674-6877 or visit http://www.peoriacac.org
Costaki Economopoulus will perform at the Jukebox Comedy Club tonight (Thursday) at 8 pm and on Friday & Saturday at 8 pm & 10:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for all shows except the Thursday and Friday 10:30 pm show, which are $12. For more information and to reserve seats, call 309-673-5853 or visit www.jukeboxcomedy.com
Barry Cloyd and Brian “Fox” Ellis of Prairie Folklore Theatre celebrate the Spirit of the Holidays on the Spirit of Peoria with A Celtic Christmas on the Spirit of Peoria on Friday and Saturday with boarding beginning at Noon and cruise running from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm. Tickets are $39 for adults and $19.50 for children aged 4 – 12 and are available by calling 309-637-8000 or online at http://www.spiritofpeoria.com
Santa’s Wildlife Express at Wildlife Prairie Park is an enchanting evening full of holiday festivities that runs from 4 – 9 pm on Friday and 3 – 9 pm on Saturday. Ride the train on the lighted trail, make crafts, decorate cookies and see animals experience their own version of Christmas and more. Admission is $10 for members 2 and up and $12 for non-members aged 2 and up. 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 CIAO First Fridays Artists’ Tour will take place from 5 – 9 pm at ten 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
The Pekin Main Street Christmas on Court Luminary Walk will take place on Friday from 5 – 7 pm with more than 1,000 luminaries on the downtown Business District on Court Street. Featuring business open houses, strolling carolers, carriage rides, outdoor theater and photos with Santa, admission is free. For more information, call 309-353-3100 or visit www.pekinmainstreet.com
Enjoy a Candlelight Walk at Luthy Botanical Garden (located at 2520 N. Prospect in Peoria) on Fridays and Saturdays through December 20th from 6 – 9 pm. The walk takes you through the Poinsettia Show at night, under the warm glow of hundreds of candles, while enjoying live performances of holiday music. Admission will be waived during the holidays, although donations are accepted. For more information, call 309-686-3362 or visit www.peoriaparks.org
A Holiday Shop and Stroll will take place on Friday from 6 – 8:30 pm at Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 N. Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights). Experience a nighttime stroll on a forest path lit with luminaries, enjoy live holiday music, storytelling and caroling, hot wassail and homemade goodies plus find unique nature-related artwork from the Nature Art Show & Sale and shop for eco-friendly, organic, and Fair Trade items at the Trailhead Nature Store. For more information, call 309-686-3360 or visit www.peoriaparks.org
The Howlin’ on Water Holiday Party featuring dinner and the show will take place on Friday at The Waterhouse (located at 619 SW Water Street in Peoria) beginning at 6:30 pm. Cost is $38 and includes a two entree buffet dinner and the dueling pianos show. A full cash bar will be available. Reservations are required and my be made by calling 309-494-9100 or emailing email@example.com
Bradley University will host their annual “New Faces 2013″ Play Festival at Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts on the Bradley campus on Friday and Saturday beginning at 7 pm each night. Tickets are $7 for the general public and $5 for students and are available by calling the box office at 309-677-2650.
The 2nd Annual Madrigal Dinner Feaste will be presented by Peoria High School (located at 1615 N. North St. in Peoria) Mixed Ensemble and the Preparatory School for the Arts on Friday beginning at 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and include the meal and entertainment and are available at the the Peoria High School Office or by calling 309-672-6630. Cash, Check, Credit Cards accepted. Groups of 6 or more $15 per ticket. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wines ‘N More (located at 151 S Main Street in Morton) will present Paul Weddle in their Wine Bar with sounds of jazz sax and flute on Friday from 7 – 9 pm. Paul has played nationally and internationally for over 30 years, including commercial work in radio and television. He’s backed such artists as BB King, the Doobie Brothers and Dr. John. For more information, call 309-291-0899 or visit www.winesnmore.net
The Peoria Rivermen will take on the Huntsville Havoc at the Peoria Civic Center Arena on Friday and on Saturday beginning at 7:15 pm each night. Tickets are $17 and $20 for lower bowl tickets and $10 and $12 for upper bowl tickets and are on sale now at the Peoria Civic Center, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 309-676-1040 or online at www.Ticketmaster.com For more information, visit www.Rivermen.net
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Friends in Harmony presents its eighth annual Christmas Charity Extravaganza “A Hometown Christmas” on at 7 pm on Friday and 3 pm on Saturday in the auditorium of Washington Intermediate School (located at 501 Washington Street in Pekin). There will also be a raffle and performances by the Friends in Harmony Orchestra and Junior Friends. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance through Friends members or at Steger’s Furniture. Proceeds benefit the United Way. For more information, call 309-246-1896.
Eastlight Theatre will present Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the East Peoria High School Auditorium beginning at 7:30 pm 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-SHOW (7469).
Seussical the Musical will be presented by Corn Stock for Kids in the Corn Stock Theatre Center beginning at 7:30 pm on Friday & at 2:30 pm on Saturday & Sunday. Tickets are available now at the Corn Stock Box Office, by calling 309-676-2196 or online at www.CornStockTheatre.com
The annual Santa Train, featuring Santa Claus who will make six stops along the railroad line to visit children, provide railroad safety demonstrations and to confirm their Christmas lists. Admission is free. The schedule includes Mapleton at Mapleton Road – 8:30 am arrival, Glasford at Oak Street (near City park) – 9:35 am arrival, Breeds at Co. Road 23 – 11:20 am arrival, Canton at 2nd Avenue (near former TP&W Railroad Office) – 1:30 pm arrival, Cuba at 3rd Street – 3:45 pm arrival and Smithfield at Main and Front Street – 5:15 pm arrival. Santa will arrive at each location by train and will visit with the children aboard his holiday caboose. Sorry no passenger rides this year.
Critter Christmas will take place at the Peoria Zoo on Saturday from 9 – 11 am where you can enjoy a light breakfast and crafts in the lodge and then experience the Zoo. Pre-sale tickets are $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Watch the animals enjoy their gifts, Santa will be making a visit and everyone from meerkats to lions to tigers will receive special treats throughout the day. For more information, call 309-686-3365 or visit http://www.peoriazoo.org
The 2013 Jingle Bell Run/Walk will take place at the RiverPlex in downtown Peoria on Saturday beginning at 10 am. Online registration will be available through 3 pm on Dec. 6th with race day registration and packet pickup beginning at 8 am. Registration fees are $50 on race day for teams and $35 on race day for individuals. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/PeoriaJBR
The Peoria Heights’ Annual Christmas Walk, featuring visits and photo opportunities with Santa at area shops and businesses, will take place on Saturday from 10 am – 5:30 pm. There will also be a book signing by Sandy Miller, local author of Little Twig: An Uncommon Christmas Tale at I Know You Like A Book from 2 – 4 pm, the lighting of the village Christmas tree at 5:30 pm plus a night of caroling, hot chocolate and more. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.peoriaheightschamber.com
The Junior League of Peoria will host a Victorian Christmas Celebration on Saturday including a holiday tea setting and luncheon and live seasonal music at the Ballance-Herschel House, its historic headquarters (located at 256 NE Randolph in Peoria). Tea times start at 11 am and 2 pm. Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance. Seating is limited, so call 309-685-9312 for reservations.
The 2nd Annual Candy Cane Hunt will take place on Saturday from 2 – 2:30 pm at the Glen Oak Park Pavilion (located at 2218 N. Prospect Rd. in Peoria). There will be two hunt areas: one for 3 – 5 year olds and another for 6 – 10 year olds. Dress warmly and bring something to collect your candy canes. Parents must accompany their children. Fee to participate is $4 for residents and $9 for non-residents. For more information, call 309-681-2854 or visit www.peoriaparks.org
The Peoria Historical Society invites you to celebrate the holiday season with a tour of four historical homes in two historic districts of Peoria with The Splendor of Christmas Past from 5 – 9 pm on Saturday & from 1 – 5 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults in advance or $15 for adults at the door and children under age 12 free with adult admission and are available at the Peoria Historical Society Office (located at 611 SW Washington Street in Peoria), Harp and Thistle (located at 4605 N Prospect Road in Peoria Heights) or Kelleher’s Irish Pub & Eatery (located at 619 SW Water St. in Peoria). For more information, call 309-674-1921 or visit http://www.peoriahistoricalsociety.org
A Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise will take place on Saturday on the Spirit of Peoria featuring the cast of the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company who will dine and mingle with you as the mystery unfolds. Cruise time is 7 – 9 pm. Tickets are $47 for adults and $23.50 for kids 4-12 and and are available online at www.spiritofpeoria.com For more information or to reserve your seats via phone, call 309-637-8000.
Songs from the Woods, the 2013 Concert Series at Forest Park Nature Center (located at 5809 N. Forest Park Drive in Peoria Heights), will feature Lee Murdock and The Christmas Ship Concert on Saturday beginning at 7 pm. Admission is $7 for adults and $6 for ages 12 and under with a $1 discount for CORE members. For more information, call 309-686-3360 or visit www.peoriaparks.org
The Drunken Zombie Deadly Double Feature holiday edition will feature Killer Khristmas on Saturday beginning at 8 pm at the Landmark Cinemas. Tickets are $7 at the door. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/563033543766564
The Sing-It-Yourself Messiah, an annual Peoria Christmas performance, will be presented at The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception (located at 607 NE Madison in Peoria) on Sunday beginning at 2:30 pm. All are encouraged to sing along on the various choruses, with arias performed by featured soloists Kristen Lelm, soprano, Eric Ashcraft, tenor and Gregory Lewis, bass. Conducting the performers and the Handel orchestra will be Dr. John Jost, Director of Choral Activities at Bradley University. Admission is free.
Christmas with the Philharmonic Chorale will take place on Sunday at the ICC Performing Arts Center in East Peoria beginning at 3 pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and are available from any Philharmonic Chorale member or at the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office the day of the concert.
The Orpheus Club Winter Concert will be held on Sunday at the United Presbyterian Church (located at 2400 Northmoor Road in Peoria) beginning at 3 pm. Admission is $5 at the door.
Peoria Midwest Flames Basketball will take on the Chicago Steam in the Woodruff Gymnasium Home Gym (located at 1800 NE Perry Ave. in Peoria) on Sunday beginning at 3 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students with ID, $5 for children 6 – 12 and senior citizens and free for children 5 and under 5. Groups of 10 or more receive a $2 discount. For more information and to order tickets online, visit http://midwestflamesbasketball.com