The Joliet Light Up the Holidays Festival and Parade is adding new features this year, including a Christmas market, horse-drawn carriage rides and an ice-free skating rink.
The downtown event is held annually the day after Thanksgiving, November 25 of that year.
Light Up the Holidays is organized by the Joliet City Center Partnership and sponsored by the University of St. Francis.
“We want people to take advantage of an entire day to rediscover downtown Joliet and all it has to offer during the most magical time of year,” said Priscilla Cordero, Executive Director of the City. Center Partnership, in a press release about the event.
Activities start in the morning and include the new North Pole Christmas Market. The market will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Joliet Renaissance Centre, 214 N. Ottawa St., “where shoppers can find unique and personalized Christmas gifts,” the statement said.
A new North Pole Park across from the Rialto Square Theater will open at 1:30 p.m. with free activities that will continue until 5:30 p.m. These activities include an ice-free skating rink with free skate rentals available, a demonstration of ice sculpture, a giant inflatable snow globe and a curling rink among others.
Carriage rides begin at 2 p.m. and continue until 5 p.m.
The Joliet Central Madrigal Singers will perform ahead of the town’s Christmas tree lighting at 5:15 p.m.
The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Marching bands will include the Laraway School Band, the Joliet Central High School Band, the Joliet West High School Band, the Troy Middle School Marching Band, the Joliet Police Pipe and Drums, and the Joliet American Legion Band.
Other day activities include:
• Teddy Bear Teas at the Rialto Square Theater at 9:30 a.m. and noon
• Free admission all day at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, 204 N. Ottawa St.,
• Children’s crafts and family photoss at the Joliet Public Library, 150 St. N. Ottawa.
• A visit from Santa at Jitters Coffee House from 4:30 p.m. until the start of the parade.
Sponsors of Light Up the Holidays free activities include University of St. Francis, City of Joliet, Midland States Bank, Old National Bank, Ascension Saint Joseph–Joliet Hospital, Darcy Motors, First Secure Bank , Busey Bank, Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel, and the Arkas Restaurant Group.
More information about the Light Up the Holidays festival and parade can be found on the City Center Partnership website, jolietccp.com.