Metro-East News

Glow to the parades, shop at Cahokia Mounds Holiday Market and take a hike

Tail lights streak through one of the first displays at the The Way of Lights. The display continues nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31.
Tail lights streak through one of the first displays at the The Way of Lights. The display continues nightly from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31.

The Red Cross wants us to be extra safe in our kitchens and travels this weekend, but those folks are pretty realistic, too. Should we have a mishap, the Red Cross has an app to help deal with the results. Go to to download a First Aid app for the most common emergencies. While on the site, check out Hero Care for an app to connect parents and military members to resources, and Pet First Aid for everyday emergencies.

While you’re being so careful, do enjoy these five options to fill the weekend.

Night Parades

Throughout the newsroom, “the parade!” was a popular answer to the “whatcha doin’ this weekend” question.

▪  O’Fallon Illuminated Christmas Parade — 6 p.m. Saturday at Parkview and East Seventh streets, turns right onto South Lincoln, and left onto West First Street. Call 618-624-4500 for more information.

▪  Breese Christmas Parade and Fireworks — 6 p.m. Saturday. Parade starts by the tracks on North Main and travels to the park. Call 618-526-7731.

▪  Waterloo Glow in the Dark Holiday Parade — 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Fifth annual event. A chili supper follows the parade at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School gym. For more information, go to

▪  Sparta Lighted Parade — 6 p.m. Saturday; starts at Sparta High School, then up St. Louis Street to Broadway, to Market Street, to Osborn and back to the high school. Following the parade there will be free chili, entertainment and a visit with Santa at the Sparta VFW, 1911 N. Market St. Fireworks show at 8 p.m. For more information, call 618-317-7222 or 618-443-2917.

Holiday Market

Cahokia Mounds says this year’s Holiday Market will be the biggest show ever. Doors open at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, to have 35 booths featuring artists from all over the country. There will be demonstrations at 1 and 3 p.m. both days and featured artists include flute players, potters and silversmiths.

The Market is at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, 30 Ramey St. in Collinsville. For more information go to or call 618-346-5160.

Shop big, in a small way

Shop Small Saturday is the independent retailers answer to Black Friday. Shops around the metro-east are offering extended hours and deals. If you’re shopping in downtown Belleville, you can linger over the display windows to check out the gingerbread creations, which are three blocks east and west of Public Square along Main Street.

Show off the area

Have visitors from out of town this weekend? The Arch has extended its hours for the holiday weekend and will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20. Because of construction, the ticketing and visitor center is at the Old Courthouse at 11 N. Fourth Street; you can buy tickets online at or at the Old Courthouse, which is about 7.5 blocks from the Arch.

Lights and sights

Light displays across the metro-east are shining bright:

▪  Way of Lights is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (and through Dec. 31) at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 442 S. Demazenod Dr., Belleville. Call 618-397-6700 or go to for more information.

▪  Lebanon’s Winter Wonderland is shining through Dec. 31 at Hoerner Park, 11113 Widicus Road, Lebanon. Call 618-537-8428 for more information.

▪  Christmas Lights in the Park at Carlyle City Park, 1096 Lake Road, Carlyle, through Jan. 1.

▪  Wild Lights at the Zoo — 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. most days (see the schedule for specific dates) through Dec. 30 at the Saint Louis Zoo. Stroll through a holiday wonderland and enjoy 500,000 twinkling lights, illuminated animal displays, seasonal sounds and all kinds of festive fun. Admission is $7 to $10 for adults and free for children under the age of 2. Buy online or at the zoo. Tickets and more information at

Take a hike

Saturday’s temps may be sunny and in the 50s, so it might be just the time to take a good long hike. The River-to-River Trail Society promises a doozy of a hike at 10 a.m. Saturday at Climber’s Parking Lot. It’s a bit of a trek to get to the starting point at Jackson Falls in Pope County. Call 618-499-2337.

For closer to home options, take a peek at, which has a searchable map and options to look for hiking, walking and biking trails and great places to watch the birds.