Visits with Santa and reindeer, tree-lighting ceremonies, light and lantern parades, live nativities, horse-drawn carriage rides and other festivities will ring in the holidays this weekend in Tinley Park, Frankfort, Crete, Homewood and Blue Island.
The mayor's tree-lighting ceremony will kick off a weekend of festivities in Tinley Park from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6, at Zabrocki Plaza, 17375 Oak Park Ave.
The Holiday Market open all weekend inside a large heated tent at the Oak Park Avenue Train Station will offer entertainment, treats and handmade crafts for sale, kids' take-home craft projects and letter writing to soldiers.
On Dec. 7 and 8, festivities will include free rides on the new carousel, horse-drawn carriage rides through historic downtown and holiday movies at the Old Zion Landmark Church, 6727 147th St.
"It's like an old-fashioned Christmas with a market modeled after Christkindl, a gorgeous 35-foot tree, an ice-carving demonstration and free photos with Santa," Tinley Park Marketing Director Donna Framke said of the ninth annual festival, which typically draws 15,000 to 20,000 visitors.
Holiday Market hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6, noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 8.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the train station following Tinley's Toyland Parade at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Parade attendees are asked to bring unwrapped toys to donate to a local charity. Photos with Santa will be from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 7, and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 8, with tickets available until 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Visitors are asked to bring a non-perishable item to be donated to a local food pantry.
Tours of the live nativity at Faith Church, 8383 W. 171st St., will be offered from 1 to 6 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8.
The Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce will present the Parade of Lights at 5 p.m. Dec. 8.
Call (708) 444-5678 or visit http://www.tinleypark.org.
In Frankfort, festivities begin with a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, at Breidert Green at Oak and Kansas streets.
The Frankfort Historic Business Association will host Christkindl and Cookie Walk Weekend from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and. 8.
More than 20 downtown merchants will be decorated for the holidays. A ticket ($10 in advance, $12 day of if not sold out) provides an individually wrapped cookie at each merchant and unlimited rides on the horse-drawn wagon and trolley.
The weekend also will feature reindeer and elves from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 8, a free holiday photo, letter writing to Santa, cookie decorating and caroling.
Breakfast with St. Nicholas will be at 10:45 a.m. Dec. 6 at Smokey Barque. Cost is $10; $7 for children under 13.
The Frankfort Area Historical Society will present a lantern parade at 4:45 p.m. Dec. 6. Children are invited to carry a lantern down Kansas Street.
Call (815) 469-2177.
The society's Holiday House Walk will be Dec. 6. Call (815) 469-6541 for tickets.
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Call (708) 672-9216 or visit http://www.cretechamber.com.
In Homewood, the Holiday Lights Festival at Martin Avenue and Hickory Road from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6, and noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 7, will feature a reindeer petting zoo, musical trolley rides, an outdoor marketplace and free ice skating rink.
A tree-lighting ceremony will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Irwin Park. Horse-drawn carriage rides, a scavenger hunt and gingerbread house tours will be offered Dec. 7.
Call (708) 798-3000 or visit http://www.village.homewood.il.us.
In Blue Island, the Christmas Light Parade will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7, along Western Avenue. Merchants will host open houses afterward.
Call (708) 388-5735 or visit http://www.blueisland.org.
The Blue Island Historical Society will host a holiday breakfast tea and cookie exchange from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 7, at the Albee House, 13018 Maple Ave. Reservations are required.
Call (708) 371-8546.