Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

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Light up this holiday season with activities in southern Illinois

Light+up+this+holiday+season+with+activities+in+southern+Illinois

Southern Illinois has many different opportunities to get in the holiday spirit.

On Saturday, Carbondale hosted its 32nd annual Lights Fantastic Parade. The parade was kicked off with the lighting of the brand new Big Chill sign on Main Street, which is the successor to the iconic Dairy Queen that lost its franchise in May.

The parade was full of floats dressed to the nines in Christmas lights, with even a Carbondale Fire Department ladder truck decorated in lights. The Carbondale Community High School band followed the truck playing a Christmas medley.

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The ending of the Lights Fantastic Parade was brought by “the best dressed band in the land,” the Marching Salukis of Southern Illinois University, accompanied by Grey and Brown Dawg.

While you will have to wait until next December to see the Lights Fantastic Parade again, there are many other opportunities to get in the holiday spirit here in southern Illinois.

The Varsity Theater will be hosting a number of events this season beginning Friday, Dec. 8 when it hosts “The Holly and the Ivy,” a holiday play. The show will run on Friday and Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. and Sunday beginning at 2 p.m.

“The Holly and the Ivy” is directed by 1974 SIU graduate Kevin Purcell and is set in 1947 England after World War II. With the hardships of the war and finding ways to reconnect with each other, the characters will find a way to make their holiday  just as special as any other.

The Varsity will be hosting a number of other events this Christmas season. Ivas John’s “Blue Christmas,” a holiday concert celebrating the music of southern Illinois and beyond, will take place Saturday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

The concert will feature some of the region’s most popular musicians, including The Gordons, Tim Crosby, Smith & Hill and many more.

Closer to Christmas, The Varsity will host a showing of “The Muppet Christmas Carol” on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., bringing the 1992 classic holiday film to Carbondale.

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Project Human X, located in Carbondale, will be hosting a few Christmas crafting events this month. On Dec. 9, the group will be hosting a ceramic Christmas tree painting event where you can paint your very own ceramic Christmas decor. Following this event, on Dec. 14 the organization will be hosting a glass, seashells and resin Christmas tree making event where you can create your own Christmas tree art with different materials.

At John A. Logan campus in Carterville on Dec. 11, the Harrison Bruce Historical Village invites community members to take a walk through southern Illinois in the 1800s. Festive music, treats, vendors, children’s crafts and a visit from St. Nicholas himself mark the event, which is free and open to the public.

The Marion Cultural and Civic Center will host “A Carpenters Christmas” on Dec. 17. It’s being billed as a night of creativity, connection and celebration.

Outside of the Carbondale area, the fifth annual lights parade will take place in Cairo on Dec. 8. Floats in the parade will begin lining up around 5 pm with the parade beginning at 6 pm. After the parade there will be free hot chocolate, cookies, fireworks and more.

Dec. 15 and 21, the Robin’s Nest of Carbondale will be having everyone’s favorite holiday visitors.

Get those little ones out and active this holiday season but bringing one of their favorite movie characters to life. The Grinch who stole Christmas will be paying the Robin’s Nest a visit Dec. 15, to watch his very own movie and enjoy some popcorn. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday pajamas.

The Robin’s Nest will also be hosting Santa Clause on Dec. 21. Children of the Carbondale area are invited to wear their favorite Christmas attire for photos with the jolly man..

For those who will be traveling this holiday season, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to get in the spirit. All across the state there are drive through Christmas light shows where you can see the beauty of Christmas through lights displaying nativities, dancing candy canes and even Taylor Swift, a fan favorite this season.

The Holiday Lights Fair in Du Quoin has been setting up at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds for two decades. This light show has become a tradition for many in Southern Illinois. Admission to the show is $10 a car and will be lit up from now until December 30 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

For those looking to give back this season there are plenty of opportunities in the area. The Carbondale Police Department is working with the Coats for Kids program through their Christmas Store to provide new coats and toys to children ages 1 to 10 in Carbondale (see story page 1).

There are also many local churches that offer opportunities for community members to make donations to those in need during the holiday season.

With December moving fast, take this opportunity to get out and enjoy all of the holiday season festivities that southern Illinois and its surrounding areas have to offer.

 

Reporter Joei Younker can be reached at [email protected].

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