The city of Carbondale is preparing for its annual Lights Fantastic Parade, which is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
There are several events planned around the parade, which features floats decorated with Christmas lights and is the official kick-off to the holiday season in Southern Illinois.
Here's what's on tap to celebrate the start of the holiday season:
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- Wreath exhibit: Holiday wreaths on display and for sale in the Civic Center Gallery, 200 S. Illinois Ave. Exhibit is open now through Dec. 7 during regular Civic Center Hours.
- SIU Holiday Craft Sale: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 7. Handmade items by regional artisans and SIU students and faculty for sale. SIU Student Center Art Gallery, on the first floor, 1255 Lincoln Drive.
- Jingle Crawl: Holiday bar crawl, 7 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Dec. 6. Visit the four participating bars (with live local music) and get a stamp to win prizes. Participating bars, and their musical acts: 7 p.m., Tres Hombres, Jenny Johnson; 8:15 p.m., Traxx, Ethan Stephenson; 9:30 p.m., Hangar 9, Bad Ghost; 10:45 p.m., PK's, The Jewels. Passports for stamps are available at the Carbodnale Tourism Office or any participating bar.
- Java Fest: Coffee-tasting event. 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 7. $1 per taste, $10 for a mug, $15 for unlimited tastes and a mug. Carbondale Community Arts' Artspace304, 304 W. Walnut St.
- Ornament Decorating: 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Artspace304, 304 W. Walnut St.
- Southern Illinois Alternative Gift Fair: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave. Area nonprofits and artisans offer gifts and silent auction with proceeds to benefit local causes.
- Chili supper: To benefit Boys and Girls Club of Southern Illinois. 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets $5. Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave.
- Cookie Walk: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Starts at Carbondale Main Street, in the old train depot, 121 S. Illinois Ave. For more information, call 618-529-8040.
- Letters to Santa: Write to Santa and put your letter on the train to the North Pole. 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Historic Train Depot, 121 S. Illinois Ave.
- Meet a reindeer and Mrs. Claus: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Town Square Pavilion.
The parade itself starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at Mill Street and Illinois Avenue, and travels north on Illinois Avenue to Town Square.
— The Southern