Granite City will be doing its best to make Santa Claus feel welcome this year, with a parade, chili cook-off, vendors, kids activities, food trucks and sports mascots.
Santa’s Holiday Avenue Parade, including a float contest, begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at 27th Street and Madison Avenue.
A chili cookoff will follow in the park downtown. Taste your favorites for $1 a bowl.
For the kids, there will be free face painting, balloon making, clowns, pony rides, Harvey the Juggler, a magic show, a bounce house and a giant slide. They can visit with St. Louis sports mascots Rampage (Rams), Louie (Blues) and Izzy (Grizzlies).
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Santa’s Cabin will be inside the Granite City Cinema at 1243 Niedringhuas Ave.
Festival of trees
Christmas trees decorated to the hilt by individuals, businesses, organizations and churches will be on display at the 5th annual New Baden Festival of Trees. Several of the trees have been donated and will be auctioned off.
Hours are 3-9 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. Sunday at New Baden Civic Center, 100 East Birch St., New Baden. Zion United Church of Christ is the host; the forest is sponsored by Grimm & Gorly Florist and Gifts.
Admission is $5 adults; $3 ages 3-12. Get $1 discount for a donation of a nonperishable food item for the St. George-Zion UCC Food Pantry or a toy for the toy drive. On Friday, seniors 55 and older receive an additional $1 discount.
Grimm & Gorly will present Glitz and Glamm at 7 p.m. Thursday. Watch and learn how to decorate a tree and wreath while enjoying holiday snacks and getting a sneak peek at the forest and a free entry for the tree raffles.
A pajama and movie party is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday; $7.50 per child.
Breakfast with Santa and letters to Santa are at 8:30 and 10 a.m. Saturday; $7.50 per person.
The North Pole Shoppes Vendor and Craft Fair is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Lebanon will celebrate its Victorian heritage this weekend, starting with the Ol’ Lamplighter strolling down St. Louis Street, illuminating the store fronts. You can also get photographs taken with Father Christmas, listen to carolers and madrigals, take part in children’s activities, take a horse-drawn carriage ride and taste holiday treats.
Downtown shops are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Take a guided tour of the Mermaid House between 5 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and visit the room where Charles Dickens stayed in1942.
Brickstreet entertainment near the interesection fo Pearl and St. Louis streets from 5 to 9 p.m. will feature music, dance and magic from groups including the Highland Chamber and Madrigal Choirs, Metro Dance Company and O’Fallon High School Madrigal Choir.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will depart from the Visitor’s Centrer at 221 W. St. Louis St. Tickets are $5 per person; lap children under age 2 are free; 8-person carriage ride is $40.
The Lamplighter will tap on shop windows to light them up at 6 p.m. both nights, followed by rooftop lighting and caroling at 6:30 p.m.