The 21st Light Up the Holidays Festival & Parade provides a daylong series of events in downtown Joliet on Friday.
Activities start at 10 a.m. and culminate with the parade at 5:30 p.m.
“We get huge crowds. It really kicks off the season,” said Lauren Las, marketing and events manager for the Joliet City Center Partnership. “It’s a great day for our businesses. They are busy all day.”
The event is sponsored by the University of St. Francis.
The Joliet Area Historical Museum will have free admission all day with a full schedule of events that includes:
• 10 a.m. opening with arrival of Santa and holiday activities and crafts, holiday movie in the Visitor Center, and ice sculpting demonstrations in front of the museum;
• 11 a.m. performance by the Joliet Township High School Central Jazz Ensemble in the Auditorium;
• noon preview performance for Festival of Gnomes;
• 1 p.m. demonstration by the Joliet Township High School Robotics Team;
• 2 p.m. performances by the St. Joseph Academy Choir of Joliet and Kids Christmas Choir of Fine Tunes Center for the Arts of Channahon;
• 3 p.m. performance by Joliet American Legion Band Small Ensemble.
Other activities include:
• Chicken-N-Spice, 251 N. Chicago St., open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a free holiday treat and $1 hot chocolate;
• Joliet Public Library, 150 N. Ottawa St., open 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with Santa story times at noon and 2 p.m., and a horse and carriage outside the library for photographs from 3 to 5 p.m.
• Sue Regis Glass Art, 81 N. Chicago St., live flame-working demonstrations 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and “Make Your Own Pendant” at a discount price;
• Art of Breath Galeria, 34 W. Clinton St., live Christmas paintings by Ruben Calderon from 1 to 4 p.m.;
• Gji’s Sweet Shoppe, 81 N. Chicago St., open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for holiday cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus;
• Jitters Coffee House, 178 N. Chicago St., photos with Santa and hot chocolate from 3:15 to 5 p.m.;
• Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Teddy Bear Teas at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for $25 and free cider for the first 500 people between 3 and 5 p.m. in the box office lobby;
• 5:15 p.m. lighting of the city Christmas Tree in Van Buren Plaza across from Rialto;
• 5:30 p.m. start for the parade on Chicago Street.