Candlestick Lane and more in weekend Family Picks!

Candlestick Lane and more in weekend Family Picks!

It’s another jam-packed weekend of festive fun in Champaign-Urbana and beyond! Take in the annual Candlestick Lane lighting ceremony, a parade and Christmas celebrations in Bement, or any number of holiday musical productions. Or how about making some holiday treats for the birds? It's all here!

Candlestick Lane: Lighting ceremony 6 p.m. Saturday, corner of Grant Place and Eastern Drive, Urbana. Free.

A proclamation will commemorate this celebrated neighborhood tradition, which dates back to the early 1960s. Torchbearers will then lead a procession from house to house to "light" the displays -- everything from lighted reindeer sculptures to Nativity scenes to giant Smurfs.

Traffic tip: Access by car from Cottage Grove to Fairlawn and Eastern Drive will be blocked beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday. Eastern Drive will be closed from the east starting at Cole Place and Fairlawn will be closed from the east starting at Patton.

Candlestick Lane will be lit from 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Christmas. Don't miss it!

For information: Contact Kim Harden at or visit

Christmas show: Tons O’ Fun Band’s fifth annual Christmas Show, 7:30 p.m. Friday, First Christian Church, 3601 S. Staley Road, C. Admission charge.

This family-friendly show (formerly held at the Virginia Theater) will feature guest appearances by La Familia Aguire, Tony Clements as master of ceremonies, the Central Illinois Children’s Chorus and vocalist Terry Luttrell.

Proceeds benefit Developmental Services Center’s “Tree of Hope” Campaign and Haitian Christian Outreach.

Tickets are $5 to $10 and available at Newstalk-Lite Rock-URock Radio Center or at the door.

For information: Visit this website or the Tons O'Fun Facebook page

Feed the birds: Kids Garden Club, "Holiday Decorations for the Birds," 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Discovery Garden, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 600 N Lombard St., Mahomet

Make native birds sing for the winter season by creating natural bird feeders that can be hung around your yard.The cost is $5 per child, and registration is required.

For information: Call 586-2612 or visit, or email

Candy Christmas Trees: 11 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday, Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., U. Free.

Enjoy stories and songs about Christmas trees and make a delicious candy Christmas tree to take home. For children of all ages with an adult.

For information: Call 367-4069 or visit

Bement celebration: 'My Favorite Christmas Story," annual holiday celebration, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Bement Grade School, corner of Piatt and William streets, Bement. Free.

Watch a parade, make some crafts and enjoy a holiday lunch! The parade starts at 1 p.m. at the grade school, then proceeds to  Bodman Street, Illinois 105 and William Street back to the school. Visit with Santa at the school after the parade.

The celebration also includes vendors and a make-and-take craft table from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a chili and cheese soup luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., both in the Bement school cafeteria.

For information: Call 678-8184

Bryant Cottage Christmas: Holiday Open House, 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Bryant Cottage State Historic Site, Bement. Free.

The 1856 cottage will be decorated for the holidays and illuminated by candle and lamplight, with period holiday music. The first 50 families will receive a handmade Christmas ornament. Horse-drawn carriage rides around Veterans Park will offer views of the 500-plus luminaria. "Mrs. Bryant" will also read ghost stories at 5:45 and 6:30 p.m.

Children's story readings and tea parties are also scheduled on Saturday and Sunday in the Bryant House, north of the Bryant Cottage, by reservations only. A few openings are still available at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Satudray, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

For reservations or information: Call  678-8184 or visit the Bryant Cottage website

Children's Chorus: Central Illinois Children’s Chorus, 33rd annual Winter Concert, 4 p.m. Saturday,  Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S. Prospect Ave., C. Admission charge.

Seasonal music, featuring their ensembles: Music Makers, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and Youth Chorale.

Admission is $5 for adults, free for 18 and younger.

For information: Call 359-3268 or visit the group's website

Santa in the Depot: 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Chat and take photos with the big guy in the red suit!  Santa will also be there 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16-17, 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 18, 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 19, and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 21-23.

For information: Call 762-7921 or visit the chamber's website

'Improv Your Holidaze': Holiday party and performances, 7 p.m. Saturday, Class Act, 114 S. Neil St., C. Admission charge.

Improv for all ages starts at 7 p.m., an interactive show appropriate for the whole family, plus hot chocolate, snacks and wacky carols. 

Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

For information: Call 766-5964 or visit

'White Christmas’: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, The Little Theatre on the Square, 16 E. Harrison St., Sullivan.

The classic holiday tradition "White Christmas" comes to the stage, as a brand new Irving Berlin musical direct from Broadway.

Tickets are $28 to $30. Other performances: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. Dec. 19.

For information:  Call 728-7375 or visit

"A Christmas Story": Rantoul Theatre Group, 8 p.m. Friday and Saurday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Grissom Hall Theater, 914 Arends Blvd., Rantoul. Admission charge.

The Rantoul Theatre Group presents this heartwarming classic by author Jean Shepherd and adapted by Philip Grecian. “A Christmas Story” revolves around a young boy named Ralphie Parker who wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB gun. Who hasn't seen the movie version, complete with the infamous snowsuit scene and leg lamp?

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors.

For information: Call 892-1121 or visit

"Nuncrackers!" The Nunsense Christmas Musical, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Parkland College Theater, 2200 W. Bradley Ave., C. Admission charge.

Those irreverent nuns, the Little Sisters of Hoboken, offer their own gifts for the Christmas season. Sister Amnesia and the crew will have new songs and an outrageous version of "The Nutcracker."  Appropriate for ages 10 and up.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and $6 for children.

For information: Call 351-2528 or visit

Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Open House. 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Bunker Hill Historic Area, Kennekuk County Park, 22296-A Henning Road, near Danville. Free.

The Vermilion County Conservation District offers the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned holiday season. All historic buildings will be decorated and open for tours, and refreshments will be served. Outside lights will be turned on at dusk (5 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 31).

For information:  Call 442-1691.

Holiday Pops: Urbana Pops Orchestra Celebrates the Holidays Concert, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Wesley United Methodist Church, 1203 W. Green St., U.

Tickets are $5 to $10, with a $25 family special.

For information: Call 615-0305 or 979-1910

Children's Christmas Party: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, American Legion Post 559, 704 North Hickory St., C. Free.

Each year the post celebrates the holidays by inviting community children in for a Christmas party.  The women’s auxiliary has a fun-filled afternoon of games, entertainment, gifts and a very special visitor for children up to age 12.

For information: Call 398-4227 or visit the Facebook page


Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources.

Do you have an item you’d like to submit? Email me at, or use the online calendar on the News-Gazette home page,

Photos: Just one of the many houses decorated for Candlestick Lane in 2008, top. Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas," bottom. Courtesy Little Theater on the Square website


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