Carbondale Connections | Lights Fantastic Santa Claus

Santa Claus rides on a brightly lit sleigh as he brings up the rear of the Lights Fantastic parade in Carbondale on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

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

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