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THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR: Here's your guide to holiday-themed events in southern Illinois

  • Now, this is the kind of home decorating that will win a contest.

    Now, this is the kind of home decorating that will win a contest.
    SILMG file photo

  • The Holiday Lights Fair opened Thursday night at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.

    The Holiday Lights Fair opened Thursday night at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
    SILMG file photo

  • A parade entry from McKinley Avenue Baptist Church, in the recent past.

    A parade entry from McKinley Avenue Baptist Church, in the recent past.
    SILMG file photo

  • Marion City Hall decorated for the holidays in 2019.

    Marion City Hall decorated for the holidays in 2019.
    SILMG file photo

  • This year's Carbondale Lights Fantastic Parade will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4.

    This year's Carbondale Lights Fantastic Parade will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4.
    SILMG file photo

 
Posted on 11/29/2021, 7:13 PM

This list will continue to be published through the holidays. If your event is not here, please send details to comments@localsouthernnews.com.

December

Murphysboro Hometown Christmas tree lighting ceremony: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, Carl Lee Park.

Holiday Wreath Exhibit: Now ongoing through Dec. 4 at the Carbondale Civic Center. Bid on your favorite.

Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair: Now through Dec. 30 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds on Route 51. The southern Illinois tradition is back for the 22nd year. Over three miles of lighted Christmas displays fill the fairgrounds. $10 per car, each child receives a golden ticket to redeem at a visit to Santa at Du Quoin City Hall, and become eligible for prizes.

Carbondale Tree Lighting: 5 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Town Square Pavilion. Holiday music, hot cocoa, cookies.

Very Merry Marion Decorating Contest: Registration between Dec. 1-15. Online voting happens between Dec. 1-20. Award categories: Best Overall Christmas Spirit; Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; It's a Griswold Life; Best Use of Animation; Santa's Workshop; Jolliest Business. www.verymerrymarion.com/lightscontest.

Benton High School Madrigal Feaste: Dec. 2-3 at the Benton Civic Center, 414 W. Hudleston St., Benton. Share an evening of food, entertainment and song as the BCHS Music Department celebrates it's 42nd edition of this community favorite. $30 per person. Call (618) 435-5700 to order.

SIU Holiday craft sale: Dec. 2-4 at the SIU Student Center. Opens at 10 a.m. all days.

Magpie Market Days: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3-5 at the Williamson County Fairgrounds. Live music, food trucks, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus on Saturday, and 100+ vendors from all over the country. Tickets: Friday $10, Saturday-Sunday $5. Free for kids 12 and under. Tickets good for re-entry all three days. Free parking and shuttle service. Pets welcome (on a leash).

'A Christmas Story' live: A live theater version of the classic holiday film, performed Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 9-12 at The Varsity Center, 418 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11; 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 5 and 12. Tickets $15 ($10 students), except Dec. 9 when all tickets are $7. Tickets available online at www.stagecompany.org or at the box office, which opens 90 minutes before each performance for door sales. Seating is reserved. www.showtix4u.com/events/stagecocarbondale.

Christmas Craft Extravaganza: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4 at 1709 E. DeYoung St., Marion. Free admission. Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Du Quoin: 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 at Du Quoin City Hall, 302 E. Poplar St. Kids in line will receive a golden ticket which could win them prizes. Drawings will beheld on the final night, Dec. 19.

Cobden Christmas in the Village: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4 in the downtown Cobden pavilion. With Santa and Mrs. Claus, caroling, turning on the lights, church bazaar, local artist exhibition, musical performances and more.

Holiday craft and vendor fair: 9 a.m. Dec. 4 at West Frankfort First Church of God, 609 S. Route 37, West Frankfort. Booth space proceeds go directly to the church Women's Missions Group.

Goreville Christmas Open House: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 4 at Goreville Village Hall, 100 S. Broadway St. Christmas Open House with pictures with Santa from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and the Christmas Craft Market from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with crafts, baked goods, candies, more.

Johnston City Chili Cookoff: Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, downtown JC on Broadway Blvd. Second annual Chili Cook-off; get a team together and sign up at City Hall, or just come hang out and sample some awesome chili and support next year's fireworks show.

Carbondale Lights Fantastic Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 4 on Illinois Avenue, in downtown Carbondale. Also, Cookie Walk and Letters to Santa from 4-6 at the Old Train Depot; visit Santa's reindeer in the Town Square area; chili supper from 4-6 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center. Details at www.lightsfantasticparade.com.

Ste. Genevieve Christmas Festival: Dec. 4-5 in downtown Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of a French colonial Christmas, plus the Christmas parade. This festival prides itself on the depth and breadth of its musical offerings, but there's also plenty for the kids to do. www.visitstegen.com.

Metropolis Christmas Parade and Tree lighting: 3-4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in downtown Metropolis. Theme of this year's parade is "Christmas at the Movies." This parade will start on Ferry Street (down by Cordavino's restaurant), come up to 5th Street (turning at light by City National Bank), turning onto Superman Square then finishing the last haul down Market Street toward Walgreens.

Best of Illinois Nature 2021: 2-3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Giant City State Park Visitor Center, 235 Giant City Road, Makanda. Botanist Chris Benda travels throughout Illinois every year, visiting nature preserves, leading nature tours for the public, and encountering all kinds of neat plants and animals. Join him as he presents photographs highlighting his best nature encounters of 2021. Free, but registration is required by calling Jennifer Randolph, the Natural Resources Coordinator, at (618) 457-4836.

Alternative Gift Fair: 2-5 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Carbondale Civic Center.

'The New Arts Jazztet Does Cool & Yule:' 3 p.m. Dec. 5, on the Balcony Stage at The Varsity Center, 418 S. Illinois St., Carbondale. Tickets $10; get them in advance: thevarsitycenter.eventbrite.com, or at the door on Dec. 5.

Vienna Christmas on the Square: 4-6 p.m. Dec. 5 on the Vienna Town Square. Horse-drawn carriage rides, candy cane hunt, visits with Santa, cookie walk, hot chocolate, Live Nativity, and Christmas shopping.

Christmas in Killarney: 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square plaza, Marion.

Marion holiday carriage rides: Dec. 6-12, schedule them at www.verymerrymarion.com/book-now.

Newsong's Very Merry Christmas Tour: 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square plaza, Marion; with Newsong and Big Daddy Weave. $25-$35. www.marionccc.com.

Happy Holidays With the Humanities: 2-3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Southeastern Illinois College, in Harrisburg. Variety show, with music from the SIC Concert Choir and SIC Community Chorus, theater and improv performances, poetry readings, and a presentation on Spanish traditions. Free admission.

Very Merry Christmas Spectacular: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square plaza, Marion. Presented by High Image Dance. $5. www.marionccc.com.

Christmas in Carterville: 6-9 p.m. in downtown Carterville.

The Christ Event: Dec. 18-19 at Community of Faith Church, 5208 Meadowland Pkwy, Marion. Outdoor live Nativity retells the story of Christ's birth through dramatization, live music and pageantry, set against six panoramic scenes with live animals. Free. Tours every 15 minutes. Dress for outdoors. Register at The Christ Event registration tent, part of the Very Merry Marion celebration in downtown Marion between 5:30-9 p.m. both days. In the parking lot adjacent to 107 E. Union St.

A Carpenters' Christmas: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square plaza, Marion. Singer and playwright Lisa Rock and her 6-piece band keep The Carpenters' holiday traditions alive. $27-$49. www.marionccc.com.