Happenings for December

thru Dec 17 – Candlelight Walks – Recurring weekly on Fri. & Sat. at  Luthy Botanical Gardens.

thru Dec 31st – Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre presents “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Recurring weekly on Sun., Thurs., Fri., Sat. at Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre, Goodfield

Dec 1 – Candlelight Stroll in Washington Square – Washington, IL. Phone: (309) 444-9921.

Dec 1 – 4 – Crittenton Centers Presents Festival of Trees in the Youth Building @ Exposition Gardens.

Dec 2 – 11 – Pettengill_Morron House Museum Candelight Tours – Recurs weekly on Sun., Fri., Sat.. Contact the Peoria Historical Society at 309-674-1921.

Dec 2 – 31 – Festival of Lights Winter Wonderland. Celebrate the holidays at the Annual East Peoria Festival of Lights. This is one of the largest lighted nighttime festivals in the nation. Times: Sun.-Thurs.- 5:00pm- 9:00pm Fri.-Sat.- 5:00pm- 11:00pm; Phone: (800) 365-3743. Admission: Cars, vans and mini-buses $10, Limousines and RVs are $20 each night and full size buses are $150.

Dec 3 – Breakfast with Santa at the Peoria Glen Oak Zoo. Enjoy Christmas Zoo style! There will be a light breakfast and crafts with Santa in our lodge from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., and then head out into the Zoo. Starting at 9:30 a.m., animals will get gifts at the Zoo. Everyone from meerkats to lions to tigers will receive special treats throughout the day. Special thanks to the Ol Dairy Barn Christmas Tree Farms in Trivoli for the Christmas trees. Phone: (309) 686-3365

Dec 3 – Heights Christmas Walk – Phone: (309) 691-1500

Dec 3 – Victorian Christmas Celebration – The historic Ballance-Herschel House will be decorated for the holidays in an 1800’s setting. Guests will learn about the history of the Ballance-Herschel House and several different Christmas traditions while being served lunch and listening to Christmas music played by a local harpist. Vendors will be located upstairs for a holiday marketplace. Two tea times are scheduled: 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Admission tickets required, call the Junior League at 309-685-9312.

Dec 3 – 24th Annual Jingle Bell Run at the RiverPlex on Peoria’s Riverfront. The 5K race starts at 10:00 a.m. This is the largest fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. Last year had over 1,500 participants and raised $54,818. Call to register: 309-682-6600.

Dec 4 – The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol will be read by actor Doug Day at 3:00 p.m. Sun., Dec. 4 @ Grand Army of the Republic Hall, 416 Hamilton Blvd. Day has directed & starred in local theater, studied acting in NYC, toured nationally, performed at the White House and on television, taught at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and at Illinois Central College. He dedicates this performance to the late architect and historic preservation advocate Les Kenyon, whose vision saved the GAR Hall, the venue for this event. It is a fund raiser to benefit the elevator fund of the GAR Hall. Admission: $10.00.The public invited & refreshments served.

Dec 8 – Morton Chamber of Commerce’s final Women In Business breakfast on “Goal Setting: Getting Where You Want To Be”, presented by Kate Varness, owner of Green Light Organizing at the Best Western Terrace Room in Morton. The Morton High School Madrigals will also be performing some of their classic songs as we celebrate this holiday season together. Tickets are $25 for the breakfast and program. Doors open at 7:00 a.m.; program begins at 7:30 a.m. Reservations accepted through December 5 by logging on: www.mortonchamber.org.

Dec 8 – Taylor Martin Auction at Exposition Gardens at the Carnival Lot and Ameren IL Building.

Dec 8 – Women in Business Networking Conference – at Embassy Suites Conference Center in East Peoria. Training, speakers, networking & food for women business owners. Call to register: 309-224-9665.

Dec 8 – 3rd annual Holiday Party & Silent Auction to benefit Haute: Empowering Entrepreneurs in Africa, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ Contemporary Art Center, 305 SW Water Street in Peoria. Wine, beer, informal dinner & musical entertainment provided. Highlighted silent auction items include artwork from African and local artists, Master’s Tournament Golf items, a week stay in Colorado ski resort condo, local hotel getaway packages and many more items perfect for holiday gift giving. Tickets are: $15 in advance and $25 at the door.For advance tickets, go to: http://hauteparty.eventbrite.com.

Dec 9 – Christmastime Gospelfest 2011 from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Caterpillar Performing Arts Center at Five Points Washington. Admission is $15 in advance/$18 at the door. Call 309-472-0027. This event promises an unforgettable evening at a holiday concert featuring Shawn Degenhart and the Gospelfest Singers performing great southern gospel Christmas music.

Dec 9 – The X Nutcracker II – in the Youth Building in Exposition Gardens.

Dec 10 – Peoria Art Guild’s Artist’s Gift Show 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. @ Peoria Art Guild, 203 Harrison Street, downtown Peoria. Event is held in conjunction w/the CIAO (Central Illinois Artist Organization) Open House at nine other art locations within walking distance in the downtown area. Great opportunity to buy local, support local artists, just in time for your holiday shopping. Show features 20 local artists. The show features quite a bit of jewelry artists, as well as artists in ceramics, abstract painting, photography, and more. Light refreshments & Starbucks coffee will be served.

Dec 10 – Chocolate in The Heights – Call 309-691-1500.

Dec 12- The Riverfront Toastmasters Club will meet from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at One Technology Plaza, 211 Fulton Street. The meeting is designed to help individuals with public speaking skills. Free meeting – open to the public. Call 685-5014.

Dec 18 – Giant Flea Market – in the Youth Building at Exposition Gardens.

Dec 18 – FREE Christian Christmas Concert at the Gateway Building, 200 NE Water St. at 3:00 p.m. This is sponsored by the Central IL Christian Ministries & Central IL Bible School. Call 309-697-5292.

Dec 18 – 23 – Poinsettia Show & Candlelight Walks, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. @ Luthy Botanical Gardens. Admission is free; donations accepted. Call 309-686-3262. View the Poinsettia Show at night, under the warm glow of hundreds of candles, while enjoying live performances of holiday music.

Dec 31 – A Ring-a-Ding-Ding New Year! Ring in 2012 by celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra! The New Year’s Eve performance includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Recurs every 2 days. Times: 7:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. at Peoria Players Theatre, 4300 N. University, in Lakeview Park Contact: Nicki Haschke at (309) 688-4473. Admission: $15 all ages.

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