The holidays are in full swing in weekend Family Picks

The holidays are in full swing in weekend Family Picks

Suffering from post-turkey lethargy or Black Friday exhaustion? We’ve got some events to perk you up this holiday weekend!

For starters, Santa will be visiting no less than four area communities for parades and other festivities. Champaign’s lineup includes the annual Parade of Lights, tree-lighting and the “Snow Globe” party at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. Or try some winter star-gazing or take in the Harry Potter finale in the majestic Virginia Theater.

Christmas in Paxton: Tree-lighting at 7 p.m. Friday, annual downtown Christmas Parade at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Market Street, Paxton.

Can’t wait for Champaign’s holiday events? Paxton will light its downtown tree at 7 p.m. Friday at State and Market streets, followed by a children’s story time at the Vineyard Church.

The parade is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, with ”A Snow White Christmas” as the theme. The grand marshal will be Snow White and the seven dwarfs. The parade will be broadcast live on WPXN-Radio 104.9 FM.

For information: Visit Paxton's website

2011 Holiday Market: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17, Lincoln Square, Urbana.

Now that Urbana's outdoor Urbana's Market at the Square has closed for the season, you can visit the Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square. It offers fresh produce, arts and crafts, gifts and more.

For information: Call 344-3872 or visit

Shop local (and Santa!): 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, downtown, midtown and Campustown districts, Champaign, and downtown Urbana.

The Champaign Center Partnership and Urbana Business Association have designated Saturday as a day to shop at local businesses, with special discounts and streets and shops filled with carolers and holiday treats. Highlights:

  • Santa will be at the Champaign County) Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1 to 5 p.m. at 108 S. Neil St., Look for him in the plush chair next to the fireplace.
  • Need babysitting? Parents can drop off their kids, for a fee, at the SoDo Theater/Class Act Interactive, 114 S. Neil St., where they’ll work on crafts and play games while the adults go shopping.
  • The Art Theater, 126 W. Church St., C. will also show family films, including three Charlie Chaplin shorts (90 minutes total, regular matinee prices) at noon and Jurassic Park at 2 p.m. ($5 admission).
  • For Shop Local Saturday details, a sales flyer inserted into Thursday’s News-Gazette, highlights the variety of discounts and events being offered.

For information: Visit or

Parade of Lights: 6 p.m. Saturday, downtown Champaign. Free.

The annual holiday parade, organized this year by the Champaign Center Partnership, has been moved to Thanksgiving weekend to avoid the early December cold. Rain is a possibility on Saturday night, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. at Main and Chestnut streets, heads west on Main, south on Walnut Street, west on Chestnut and then north on Neil Street to Washington Street.

The tree-lighting ceremony will follow at One Main Plaza.

For information: Visit the Champaign Center website

Post-parade: Orpheum ‘Snow Globe’ event, following the Parade of Lights on Saturday evening, Orpheum Children’s Science Museum, 346 N. Neil St., C. Admission charge.

Launched last year, this event includes storytelling, jingle bell rock, candy-cane hockey, indoor sledding, “snowball” throwing and crafting, as well as hot chocolate and desserts. Tickets are $5.

For information: Call 352-5895 or visit

Movie & Munchies: 10 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday Westville Public Library, 233 S. State St., Westville. Free.

See what trouble a fun-loving St. Bernard gets into at Christmastime. The movie is for children of all ages, but reservations are required.

For information: Call 267-3170 or visit the Westville library website

Santa’s house: Nostalgic Visit to Santa’s House, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum, 219 E. Woodlawn St., Clinton. Free.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by sleigh at 1 p.m. Santa will greet visitors in the museum barn, Mrs. Claus will read holiday stories, and strolling carolers will provide holiday music in the afternoon. Horse-drawn sleigh rides are scheduled from 1:30 to 4 p.m.; tickets are available at the farm museum buildings.

You can also purchase gingerbread cookies, homemade candies, hot chocolate and cider, as well as homemade craft items by area vendors. A live Nativity scene can be viewed at the covered bridge. and the Moore mansion is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 pm..

For information: Call 935-6066 or visit the museum's website

Harry Potter duo: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2,’ 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park St., C.

Part 1 and 2 of the finale to this classic series will be shown back-to-back at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

For information: Call 356-9063 or visit the Virginia's website

Winter skies: William M. Staerkel Planetarium, Parkland College, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C. Admission charge.

“Season of Light” is the main feature from Friday through Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. And the children’s feature, “Santa’s Secret Star,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17. Admission is $3-$5.

For information: Call 351-2568 or 351-2446 or visit the planetarium's website

Christmas in Catlin: Catlin Christmas Spirit, 5 p.m. Sunday, outside of the Community Building, Catlin.

Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage through the luminary-lit streets, and he will be available for photos with your little ones. Visit the lighting of the community tree, join in a singalong by a community choir and bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Light refreshments will be served.

For information: Visit the Vermilion County First website


Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for weekend family-friendly events. To submit an item, e-mail me at, or use the calendar on the News-Gazette home page, For more local events, exhibits and things to do, check out Thursday’s e3 magazine!


Santa Claus rings his bell from atop a Paxton Fire Protection District firetruck before the start of the 2007 Christmas parade in Paxton. Heather Coit/The News-Gazette

Lights adorn the ServPro float during the 10th annual Parade of Lights in downtown Champaign in 2010.  Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette

The Orpheum Childrens Science Museum prepares for the 2010 "Snow Globe" event. Vanda Bidwell/The News-Gazette

Daniel Radcliffe is shown in a scene from "Harry Porter The Deathly Hallows: Part 1." AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Jaap Buitendijk


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