Experience Holiday Fun In Starved Rock Country

Four festive events taking place this weekend

Looking for some fun, family-friendly events to rev up your holiday festivities? Plan a trip to Starved Rock Country, where you’ll find elaborate light shows, artisan vendor markets and many more seasonal events sure to put you in the spirit of the season.

Ottawa’s Chris Kringle Market Returns

Get into the festive spirit at the Chris Kringle Market in downtown Ottawa. This popular attraction features artisan gift vendors, tasty holiday treats, traditional German-style beer and memorable activities for the whole family to enjoy.

This year’s Chris Kringle Market, which runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 17, will feature more than 80 curated vendors each weekend. These talented vendors include returning fan-favorites such as Albo Acres, specializing in alpaca wool accessories and real wool toys, and Unpossible Mead, which will serve up authentic small-batch mead made from fresh fruit and local honey. Other area favorites over the coming weeks include August Hill Winery, Jeremiah Joe Coffee, Yim Curry and The Lone Buffalo by Tangled Roots Brewing Co.

Each weekend of the Chris Kringle Market also will showcase special seasonal activities and free performances throughout Ottawa’s festive downtown. From themed story time and festive house walks to photos with Santa and wandering carolers, there is no shortage of exciting family-fun events happening during the market.

To see a full list of vendors and activities for each weekend, be sure to follow Chris Kringle Market on Facebook.

Motorists drive through the Celebration of Lights on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 at Rotary Park in La Salle.

La Salle’s Celebration of Lights Is Back

The city of La Salle’s spectacular Celebration of Lights has made its triumphant return to Rotary Park. One of the largest holiday attractions in north central Illinois, the massive collection of illuminated displays is back and bigger than ever before. Conveniently located near Interstate 39, the astounding drive-thru light show will run every night from now through New Year’s Day.

Now in its 11th year, the lights parade has expanded from having 17 displays to 365. Cars will meander along a winding path through the park, where you can get a good look at the hundreds of larger-than-life displays – each sponsored by an area business or organization.

The Celebration of Lights is free to view, but donations are encouraged to continue to grow the community-led project. The drive-thru display will be open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Don’t miss a chance to start a new holiday tradition at this beautiful and festive light show.

For more information, be sure to follow Celebration of Lights - City of La Salle on Facebook.

Photo provided by Camp Aramoni

Hike And Dine Experience At Camp Aramoni

809 N. 2199th Road, Tonica, IL 61370

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2-6 p.m.

Hike, dine and drink your way through Camp Aramoni’s historic 96-acre property at the upcoming Hike and Dine Experience. This seasonal culinary tour pairs together Camp Aramoni’s delicious food, craft cocktails, gorgeous hiking trails and live music. Celebrate the winter season in style at this rare ticketed public event.

The attraction starts at the stunning on-site Bricks & Stones event venue, where you’ll learn about the history of the brickyard that once operated on the property. From there, you’ll hike to their boutique campground where you’ll be greeted by a delicious spread of appetizers and hot spiced rum. Guests can continue to hike around the property, where they’ll see the Vermilion River, two creeks, a pond and plenty of wildlife photo opportunities. Along the way, hikers will stop at the Serenity Now picnic area to enjoy spiked hot chocolate with choice of spirit and toppings.

Back at Bricks & Stone, Jeff Manfredini will play a live set while you enjoy a buffet of delicious bites. After you visit the buffet, sit back and relax as you listen to live music around the fireplace. Be sure to dress warm and comfortable for this unforgettable seasonal experience at one of Starved Rock Country’s most unique destinations. Limited spots are available; pre-registration is required.

Visit camparamoni.com for more details.

Merry Grinchmas Brunch Buffett

2973 Route 71, Ottawa, IL 61350

Sunday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Visit Hank’s Farm in Ottawa for a special “Grinchmas” themed brunch. This popular dining destination will have exclusive holiday themed buffet items, cocktail specials and a Grinch photo booth – alongside all of their famous brunch buffet items. The Grinch himself is scheduled to make an appearance during the festivities. Reservations are highly recommended; call 815-433-2540 to reserve your space today.

Hank’s Farm is housed inside a former dairy barn, surrounded by 20-plus acres home to roaming peacocks, chickens, ducks, turkeys and sheep. Hank’s has been lauded for its elaborate brunch buffet that takes place every Sunday. The bountiful smorgasbord includes salmon, oysters, eggs Benedict, mini omelets and nearly 16 feet of fresh desserts.

For more information, follow Hank’s Farm on Facebook.