MORRIS – The Home for the Holidays Committee has announced plans for the 21st annual Home for the Holidays celebration, which is scheduled for Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
The family-oriented weekend – during the Thanksgiving weekend – offers many events, most free, according to a news release from the celebration’s organizers.
Downtown retailers offer holiday specials and refreshments while music fills the streets. Home for the Holidays is funded by ticket sales from the Christmas House Walk and Holiday Tea, which will be Nov. 30, according to the news release.
Proceeds from this year’s Home for the Holidays will benefit the Downtown Beautification Fund, as well as other local organizations and individuals.
Events for this year’s celebration include:
• Festival of Trees: will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 30 and 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 1. This is sponsored by the Grundy County Historical Society and held at the society’s museum, 510 W. Illinois Ave. All auctions will be closed, with items available for pick up at 3 p.m. Sunday.
• Lantern making for Children’s Lighted Parade: will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Kids can construct a lantern at the Eagle’s Hall, 120 N. Liberty St. All materials provided at no cost. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Any child wishing to take part in the march around the courthouse lawn with their lantern can do so starting at 4:45 p.m. at Eagle’s Hall.
• Horse-drawn carriage rides: will be from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29. There is no cost; carriages will be in front of the Grundy County Courthouse.
• Lighted Holiday Parade and Lighting Spectacular: will start at 5 p.m. Nov. 29. This event is sponsored by Midwest Auto Service. The Lighted Holiday Parade returns to welcome Santa Claus back to downtown Morris. First Baptist Church, 215 Liberty, will provide complimentary hot apple cider.
Community members are encouraged to participate in the parade. Those wishing to submit an entry may request an application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling the MDDP office at 815-941-0245, or visiting www.downtownmorris.com. Entries will be judged and trophies awarded for the best use of lights and creativity. Deadline for applications is Nov. 22.
The parade will begin at the corner of Franklin and Washington streets and continue north on Liberty, concluding at Chapin Park. The Coal City High School Madrigals will perform carols in the park.
• Santa’s House: will be open from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in Canal Port Plaza.
• Luminaries: starting at 5 p.m. Nov. 29, luminaries will adorn downtown Morris; made possible by the Morris Rotary, and the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and their leader, Mary Miller-Roed.
• Breakfast with Santa: will be at 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 a.m. Nov. 30. The Morris Area Public Library, 604 N. Liberty, will have five sittings with Santa. A continental breakfast will be served. Seating is limited and registration required. Reservations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis, starting Nov. 1. Call 815-942-6880 to register.
• Children’s Theatre: will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 at Living Water Church of the Nazarene, 118 E. Jefferson St., where Veggie Tales’ “The Little Drummer Boy” will be shown.
• Santa and his reindeer: will be from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 30 on the courthouse lawn. Santa’s reindeer are friendly, tame and love to be pet. Complimentary hot apple cider will be served by the First Baptist Church Outreach.
• Children’s Winter Carnival: will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 inside the Eagle’s Hall, 120 Liberty St. A snowman bean bag toss, holiday “Bozo Buckets,” popcorn station, a chance to win a goldfish and face painting are planned. No registration required, but an an adult must remain with children who attend.
• Trolley Rides: will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 30. Mickey, Minnie and other characters will be on board to entertain the kids. Rides are free, and the trolley will board in front of the Grundy County Courthouse.
• Christmas Housewalk and Tea: will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 30. It will feature four homes decorated for the holiday season, and a complimentary tea hosted by the Immaculate Conception Church, 600 E. Jackson. Art Bouchard and Dawn Micale, Harold and Rachel Martin, Dr. Tim and Karen Ortiz, and Gary and Barb Behrens will be featured on this year’s walk.
Tickets are available at many local businesses in Morris, as well as on the day of the event on the walk and at the tea. Cost is $15 a ticket, which includes a coupon for a 25 percent savings on selected items at participating retailers in Morris from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. Tickets also serve as entry into a drawing; prices include a diamond pendant from Harrington’s Fine Jewelry; a collection of gifts and gift certificates from the Morris Retail Association; a $250 Grundy County Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate; dinner at Chapin’s Restaurant; a complimentary stay at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites; and a private wine tasting for two at Montage Spirits and Gifts. The entries may be turned in to any of the participating retailers listed on the ticket.
Proceeds from the house walk are donated to various organizations.
• Lamplight Singers: will be from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 30, with singers caroling throughout downtown Morris.
• Christmas picture opportunity: will be from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 29 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 30 in the sleigh at Carpetile, 423 Liberty St.
• Grundy Bank coat drive: will be from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 30 at Grundy Bank, 201 Liberty St. New or gently used coats can be donated, which will be distributed to area residents in need.
• Retail Open House: will be throughout the weekend. Several merchants will offer a variety of holiday goodies and treats throughout the weekend, as well as prizes and specials on selected items.
• Gift wrapping: will be from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 29. Local Girl Scouts will be accepting donations for gift wrapping at 318 Liberty St.