Fun shopping events, twinkling light displays, hometown celebrations and a number of activities are being planned in Alton and surrounding communities.
Here is a recap supplied by the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, which covers Madison and some surrounding counties.
Christmas Wonderland will be open nightly from Nov. 23 through Dec. 26. Rock Spring Park is located at 2100 College Ave, in Alton. Donations of $7 per car are suggested. Hours are Monday through Friday 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 5 to 9 p.m.
After Thanksgiving, Bethalto’s Central Park transforms into a magical winter wonderland. With live holiday music, Christmas themed cottages, holiday vendors, a live nativity scene, and a visit with Santa Claus, there’s something for the entire family.
Central Park is located at 213 N. Prairie St in Bethalto. Bethalto Christmas Village is open Nov. 24 and 25, and Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, & 15 and admission is free.
On Nov. 24, State Street in Jerseyville becomes the home to Downtown Country Christmas. The celebration begins with the arrival of Santa in a helicopter! Afterwards, the evening holds an array of entertainment including: Cheney Mansion holiday tours, music, fresh baked goods, games, photos with Santa, and a performance by the Muny kids. Finish the fun off with the lighting of the Jerseyville Christmas Tree and Rudolph’s Red Nose parade.
Downtown Country Christmas will take place on Nov. 24 from 2 to 8 p.m.
Celebrate Christmas in Collinsville at the D.D. Collins house! The fun begins with a parade through uptown followed by a tree lighting ceremony. Kids can get their picture with Santa, and the rest of the family can participate in caroling, family-friendly activities and crafts, and warm up with free hot chocolate and apple cider at the Collins house.
The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street.
The season isn’t complete without Christmas music, and The Wildey Theatre has the show of the season. Opera Edwardsville presents their first Christmas at the Wildey on Dec. 22 and includes classical and Christmas music from professional opera singers and a St. Louis Quartet.
VIP Tickets include concert admission, light appetizers, and a champagne toast.
Make sure to check out these holiday events:
Alton Community Tree Lighting
Landmarks Blvd. & Broadway St., Alton
Be a part of an annual blessing and lighting of the community Christmas Tree! Ride the free trolley down to the Square for free cookies, hot chocolate, caroling, and photos with Santa.
14th Annual Fall Native American Holiday Market
Nov. 23 – 25
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
30 Ramey St., Collinsville
Browse the selections of Native American jewelry, paintings, herbals, weaving, baskets, pottery, metal work, sculpture and more.
Christmas Candlelight Tours at the Stephenson House
Nov. 23 and 24
The Stephenson House
409 S. Buchanan St., Edwardsville
Experience an 1820s Christmas during this self-guided tour by candlelight with historically dressed docents telling tales. Each room will be festively decorated and visitors will enjoy hot wassail and sweet treats. Admission charge.
Green Gift Bazaar
YMCA ▪ 304 E. 3rd St., Alton
Support local artists and pick up unique, thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list. Event also includes interactive crafts for kids and a holiday light recycle drive.
SIUE Arts & Issues: The Other Mozart
Nov. 28 [7:30 to 9:30 p.m.]
SIUE Morris University Center
6 Hairpin Dr., Edwardsville
Based on actual letters between the Mozart family, see the story of Mozart’s lesser-known sister, Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart, brought to life in this play, which The New York Times describes as, “strikingly beautiful.”
A Christmas Story Live at the Wildey
Nov. 29 – Dec. 2
252 W. Main St., Edwardsville
Back by popular demand, Curtain’s Up Theater Company presents A Christmas Story, live on stage at the Wildey Theater. This family-friendly classic chronicles young Ralphie’s quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Staunton Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting
East Main St., Staunton
Get a jump on your holiday shopping as you browse the shops decorated for the season and offering holiday sales, check out the live nativity, and see Santa himself light the giant Christmas Tree on Main Street.
Tunes for Toys at Old Bakery Beer
400 Landmarks Blvd., Alton
Come out for the 3rd Annual Tunes for Toys hosted by Old Bakery Beer Company. An unopened toy, or $10, will get you into the door for complimentary snacks, one complimentary beer and live music all evening long.
Edwardsville’s Downtown in December Winter Market
Land of Goshen Market
138 St. Louis St., Edwardsville
Shop artisan wares while warming up with hot chocolate, caroling, and free craft activities for kids.
Olde Alton Arts & Crafts Fair
Dec. 1 & 2
Alton High School
4200 Humbert Road, Alton
Find all your Christmas goodies at the 30th Annual Olde Alton Arts & Crafts Fair featuring a variety of crafters from Illinois and Missouri.
Home for the Holidays House Tour
Village of Elsah
26 LaSalle St., Elsah
Experience a simpler time…in the quaint, historic Village of Elsah. Tour selected private residences decorated for the holidays and explore the Village Museum, Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah General Store, Village Civic Center, Maple Leaf Cottage, and Green Tree Inn. Musical entertainment will take place in both churches in the village. Horse and carriage rides are included. Advanced tickets are $15. Day of event ticket price is $18. Optional lunch by My Just Desserts for $11. Purchase tickets at www.HistoricElsah.org/tour.
Visit with Santa at Haskell Playhouse
1211 Henry St., Alton
Santa and Mrs. Claus are making a special stop at the Haskell Playhouse to see all the good boys and girls. Pictures with Santa are $2 each, or you may take your own.
Christmas on the Farm
Willoughby Heritage Farm
631 Willoughby Ln., Collinsville
Come see Willoughby Farm decorated for the holidays. Sip hot cider or hot chocolate, nibble on holiday sweets, sing along to holiday music, and visit Santa in the barn. Bring your own camera to snap a family photo.
25th Annual Festival of Trees
One Gateway Center Dr., Collinsville
Don’t miss out on the most anticipated holiday party of the year – the 25th Annual Festival of Trees. The event features: the Diamond Empire Band, food, drinks and more than 40,000 square feet of space filled with holiday décor, one-of-a-kind trees, gorgeous wreaths and table centerpieces, and tablescapes suitable for any special gathering. Place a bid on your favorite pieces and try your luck at the 50/50 raffle. All proceeds benefit Collinsville Junior Service Club.
White Christmas *Interactive*
252 N. Main St., Edwardsville
The annual screening of White Christmas returns to the Wildey complete with a free goodie bag of special props, movie trivia before the show, and a sing-a-long!
Alton Little Theater: Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming
Dec. 7- 9, 12 – 16
Alton Little Theater
2450 N. Henry St., Alton
The unforgettable Singing Sanders Family is back in the third installment of “Smoke on the Mountain,” featuring more bluegrass gospel singing, heartwarming stories, and hilarious antics in a way only the zany Sanders Family can present them.
Annual Snowflake Festival
1401 Stamper Ln., Godfrey
Visit beautiful Glazebrook Park lit up with twinkling lights to celebrate the holiday season. This free old-fashioned festival features carolers, hot cocoa, and pictures with Santa!
A Carlinville Christmas
Dec. 7 – 9
Carlinville Downtown Square
Holiday fun for the whole family can be found on the historic Carlinville Downtown Square. Get your shopping done with a visit to the Carlinville Christmas Market or peruse local shops and boutiques with great holiday sales. Families will enjoy the festivities, including: arts and crafts for kids, ice sculptures, free sleigh rides, free fire engine rides, street performers, carolers, a free movie on Saturday night, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and thousands of lights lining the buildings and rooftops.
Alton Symphony Orchestra: In the Nick of Time
Hatheway Cultural Center at Lewis & Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Rd., Godfrey
Alton Symphony Orchestra invites you to get in the holiday spirit by singing along to “Sleigh Ride” by Anderson, “Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah by Handel, and “A Visit from Saint Nicholas!”
Great Rivers Choral Society: Elizabethan Christmas
Godfrey First United Methodist Church
1100 Airport Rd., Godfrey
Enjoy an Elizabethan Christmas concert presented by The Great Rivers Choral Society, complete with costumes from the era.
Breakfast with Santa
Knights of Columbus Hall
1713 Stamper Ln., Godfrey
Children of all ages are invited to indulge in a breakfast buffet, music, magical entertainment, and a visit with Santa.
Yanda Cabin Christmas Celebration
Yanda Log Cabin
148 S. Main St., Glen Carbon
See Santa and Mrs. Claus during their stop in Glen Carbon for the “Cabin Christmas Celebration.” With the ambiance of the log cabin, this is the perfect opportunity to take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bring a donation of a non-perishable food item to go to the Glen-Ed Food Pantry.
Bethalto Spirit Christmas Walk & Spirit Choir & Orchestra Christmas Concert
Village of Bethalto
213 N. Prairie St., Bethalto
Enjoy a return to a quieter time at the Bethalto Spirit Victorian Christmas Walk. Stroll through the downtown area viewing the storefront decorations, children’s craft areas, snacks, costumed characters, Father Christmas and more. The event will kick-off with a performance by the Bethalto Spirit Community Choir & Orchestra at the Cornerstone Church of Bethalto. The concert features singers and musicians performing holiday pops, traditional Christmas songs and sacred selections in a variety of styles.
Erin Bode Group Holiday Concert
252 N. Main St., Edwardsville
It’s become a holiday tradition taking in the musical sounds of the season infused with jazz grooves as The Erin Bode Group performs at The Wildey.
For further information about events, call (618) 465-6676 or visit riversandroutes.com