Festival of Lights celebrates packed opening weekend, previews upcoming holiday events

Central Illinois Newsday

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It was socially distant before we even used the phrase on the regular. East Peoria’s Festival of Lights celebrating a busy opening weekend.

Without having many other things to do, there are no holiday basketball tournaments, there’s not much else entertainment going on, so people came out. The weather was nice, so we expect that moving forward.

doug mccarty, chairman | east peoria’s festival of lights

The drive-through display opened Thanksgiving night and will remain open every night through Sunday, January 3.


  • 5 – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
  • 5 – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday


Admission is paid at the entrance booth. We accept cash, credit cards and debit cards. No online admission tickets are being sold.

  • $10 for regular vehicles (cars, trucks, and vans)
  • $30 for a small bus (mini, party, shuttle, school, RV, and limousine)
  • $150 for a full-size charter motor coach

Gift shopping, balloon art for the kids, and free carriage rides will be part of the seventh annual Folepi’s Gifts Galore Shop and Stroll, part of the 36th annual East Peoria Festival of Lights, from noon until 3 p.m. Dec. 5. The shop and stroll will occur in the Historic Four Corners District, bounded by East Washington and McKinley streets, and adjacent areas.

Those who spend $25 or more at a participating business will receive a coupon for free admission to the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display. A purchase receipt from a business participating in the shop and stroll must be presented to receive the coupon. The coupon can be redeemed any time through Jan. 3.

Parking will be available at the First United Methodist Church and in a City of East Peoria public parking lot, both on East Washington Street and adjacent to the Historic Four Corners District.

Participating businesses are:

· Becks Florist, 105 E. Washington St. (open until 1 p.m.) – A full-service florist and gift store. · Vintique, 119 E. Washington St. – A vintage and antique store with unique and primitive items.

· The Picker’s Daughter, 125 E. Washington St. – An old country store flair with dozens of vendors offering antiques, farmhouse items, primitives, collectibles, jewelry, bath products, candles, vintage and handmade items and more.

· Emerald Tea Room & Gifts, 132 McKinley St. – This is both a tea room with delicious food and a gift shop. Hot beverages, cookies and fruit breads will also be available during the Shop and Stroll.

· Little Grocery, 200 E. McKinley St. – The largest Illinois state lottery retailer in downstate, outside of Chicago. During the shop and stroll, every customer who comes in and spends $5 will receive an entry ticket for Little Grocery’s Christmas Eve drawing for an entire book of holiday cash tickets valued at $200.

· Attitudes and Nail Images, 200 Anna St. – A family based full-service salon open since 2006. Attitudes is the site for receiving the free Folepi’s Winter Wonderland pass for those who spend $25 or more at a participating business, and the location for the free balloon art by The Unique Twist.

· Attitudes With Tails, 200 Anna St. – A by-appointment, no-cage free-range grooming salon for dogs and cats with the goal of making grooming a less stressful experience for furry clients and their owners. Products are all-natural and made in the USA.

· Bell’s CBD and Hemp Products, 213 E. Washington St. – Offering a full line of CBD products and information.

· Finders Keepers, 247 E. McKinley St. (near the intersection of Springfield Road and McKinley Street) – Offering refurbished and re-purposed woodcrafts, knickknacks and gifts.

· First United Methodist Church, 154 E. Washington St. – The church will be open for restrooms and parking.

· East Peoria Historical Society drive-through Chicken Noodle Dinner Fundraiser, 400 Richland St. – Pick up dinner for the evening at a drive-through set up in the main parking lot of the East Peoria Civic Plaza, just a short drive from the Historic Four Corners District. Drive down and get a homemade chicken noodle dinner complete with biscuit, corn, and dessert for $10. People can also have four or more dinners delivered to them while visiting the businesses in the Historic Four Corners District by calling 309-397-0962.

The lights of Folepi’s Enchanted Forest will turn on for the season during a tree lighting event featuring Christmas carols from 5:45 until 6:15 p.m. Dec. 5 in The Levee District.

Folepi’s Enchanted Forest is located in The Levee District downtown area outside the East Peoria Civic Plaza, 401 W. Washington St. The display features a 35-foot tall Christmas tree, lighted trees, and displays, and the Terry the Tractor parade float.

After the tree lighting evening, Folepi’s Enchanted Forest will be open from 5 until 9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. Admission is free.

Fondulac District Library will sponsor holiday story walks in the Reading Garden at the forest’s entrance. The story walks consist of colorful printed storybook panels illuminated with spotlights and placed in the Reading Garden. The schedule is:

· Dec. 4-10 – The Polar Express

· Dec. 11-17 – The Snow Globe Family

· Dec. 18-27 – The Night Before Christmas

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no visits with Santa or indoor activities at the forest in 2020.

For more information, visit www.folepi.org.

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