Here’s your guide to vacation-themed events in southern Illinois.

This list will continue to be published during the holidays. If your event is not here, please send details to [email protected]


Murphysboro Hometown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: Friday, December 3 at 6 p.m., Carl Lee Park.

Holiday Wreaths Exhibition: Ongoing through December 4 at the Carbondale Civic Center. Bid on your favorite.

Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair: Until December 30 at Du Quoin State Fair on Route 51. The southern Illinois tradition is back for the 22nd year. Over five kilometers of illuminated Christmas exhibits fill the fairgrounds. $ 10 per car, each child receives a gold ticket to redeem during a visit to Santa Claus at Du Quoin Town Hall and becomes eligible for prizes.

Carbondale Tree Lighting: 5 p.m. December 1 at Town Square Pavilion. Holiday music, hot chocolate, cookies.

Very Merry Marion decoration competition: Registration between December 1st and 15th. Online voting takes place between December 1 and December 20. Award Categories: Best overall Christmas spirit; Rockin ‘around the Christmas tree; It’s a Griswold life; Better use of animation; the workshop of Santa Claus; Most joyful business.

Benton High School Madrigal Party: December 2-3 at Benton Civic Center, 414 W. Hudleston St., Benton. Share an evening of food, entertainment and songs as the BCHS Music Department celebrates its 42nd edition of this community favorite. $ 30 per person. Call (618) 435-5700 to order.

SIU Holiday Crafts Sale: December 2 to 4 at the SIU Student Center. Open at 10 a.m. every day.

Magpie Market Days: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec 3-5 at Williamson County Fairgrounds. Live music, food trucks, a visit from Santa and Mother Christmas on Saturdays and over 100 vendors from across the country. Tickets: Friday $ 10, Saturday-Sunday $ 5. Free for children 12 and under. Tickets valid for one re-entry every three days. Free parking and shuttle service. Animals accepted (on a lead).

Live “A Christmas Story”: A live version of the classic holiday movie, showing December 3-5 and December 9-12 at the Varsity Center, 418 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale. Sessions are at 7:30 p.m. on December 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11; Mornings at 2 p.m. on December 5 and 12. Tickets $ 15 ($ 10 students), except December 9 when all tickets are $ 7. Tickets available online at or at the box office, which opens 90 minutes before each performance for door-to-door sales. Seats are reserved.

Christmas Craft Extravaganza: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 4 at 1709 rue E. DeYoung, Marion. Free entry. Santa Claus and Mrs Claus visit Du Quoin: from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 at Du Quoin Town Hall, 302 E. Poplar St. Children online will receive a ticket. ‘gold that could win them prizes. The draws will take place on the last evening, December 19.

Cobden Christmas in the Village: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 4 at the Cobden Town Center Lodge. With Santa and Mother Christmas, Christmas carols, lighting of lights, church bazaar, exhibition of local artists, musical performances and more.

Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair: 9 am December 4 at West Frankfort First Church of God, 609 S. Route 37, West Frankfort. Proceeds from the booth space go directly to the church women’s mission group.

Christmas Open House in Goreville: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 4 at Goreville Village Hall, 100 S. Broadway St. Christmas Open House with photos with Santa from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Craft Market Christmas from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with crafts, pastries, candies, etc.

Johnston City Chili Cookoff: Noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 4, in downtown JC on Broadway Blvd. Second annual chili barbecue; get a team together and sign up at Town Hall, or just come hang out and taste some great chili and support next year’s fireworks show.

Carbondale Fantastic Parade of Lights: December 4 at 6 p.m. on Illinois Avenue in downtown Carbondale. Also, Cookie Walk and Letters to Santa Claus from 4 to 6 at the Old Train Depot; visit Santa’s reindeer in Town Square; chili dinner from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center. Details on

Ste. Genevieve Christmas Festival: December 4-5 in downtown Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of a French colonial Christmas, as well as the Christmas parade. This festival prides itself on the depth and breadth of its musical offerings, but there is also plenty for the kids to do.

Metropolis Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting: 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on December 4 in downtown Metropolis. The theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas at the Movies”. This parade will start on Ferry Street (near the Cordavino restaurant), go up to 5th Street (turn at the traffic light near the City National Bank), turn onto Superman Square and then end the last ride on Market Street towards Walgreens.

Best of Illinois Nature 2021: 3:15 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Giant City State Park Visitor Center, 235 Giant City Road, Makanda. Botanist Chris Benda travels around Illinois every year, visiting nature reserves, arranging nature tours for the public, and encountering all manner of cared for plants and animals. Join him as he presents photographs showcasing his best encounters with nature in 2021. Free, but registration is required by calling Jennifer Randolph, the Natural Resources Coordinator, at (618) 457-4836.

Alternative Gift Fair: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on December 5 at the Carbondale Civic Center.

“New Arts Jazztet Makes Cool & Yule:” December 5 at 3:00 PM, on the Balcony Stage at the Varsity Center, 418 S. Illinois St., Carbondale. Tickets $ 10; get them in advance:, or at the door on December 5th.

Vienna Christmas on the square: from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on December 5 in the town square of Vienna. Horse-drawn carriage rides, sugar cane hunting, visits with Santa Claus, biscuit ride, hot chocolate, living nativity scene and Christmas shopping.

Christmas in Killarney: 7 p.m. on December 6 at the Marion Culture and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square Plaza, Marion.

Marion’s Holiday carriage rides: from December 6 to 12, schedule them at

Newsong’s Very Merry Christmas Tour: 7:00 p.m., December 11 at the Marion Culture and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square Plaza, Marion; with Newsong and Big Daddy Weave. $ 25 to $ 35.

Happy Holidays with the Humanities: 2:00 p.m. December 12 at Southeastern Illinois College, Harrisburg. Variety show, with music from the SIC Concert Choir and SIC Community Chorus, theatrical and improvisation performances, poetry readings and a presentation on Spanish traditions. Free entry.

Very Merry Christmas Show: 6:30 p.m., December 13-14 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square Plaza, Marion. Presented by High Image Dance. $ 5.

Christmas in Carterville: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Carterville.

The Christ Event: December 18-19 at Community of Faith Church, 5208 Meadowland Pkwy, Marion. The Outdoor Nativity tells the story of Christ’s birth through dramatization, live music and pageantry, against six panoramic scenes with living animals. To free. Visits every 15 minutes. Dress for the outdoors. Register for The Christ Event registration tent, part of the Very Merry Marion celebration in downtown Marion between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on both days. In the parking lot adjacent to 107 E. Union St.

A Carpenters Christmas: 7:30 p.m. on December 20 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center, 800 Tower Square Plaza, Marion. Singer and playwright Lisa Rock and her 6-piece group carry on Carpenters’ holiday traditions. $ 27 to $ 49.