EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Community members are getting in the Christmas spirit while supporting local small businesses.

Saturday was the 9th annual Folepi’s Gifts Galore Shop and Stroll. It’s part of the East Peoria Festival of Lights.

The event took place at East Peoria’s Four Corners District. The Shop and Stroll encouraged shoppers to visit 13 different locally-owned businesses.

It also featured free carriage rides, balloon art, and visits from Santa and The Grinch.

Organizers said the stroll is a great way to make memories and shop for Christmas.

“There are so many opportunities to purchase your gifts anywhere. We know you can go online. We know you can purchase on Amazon and everywhere out in the world. But there’s no better way to support the local economy, to support the local families, the local businesses than shopping and doing your Christmas shopping locally,” said “Folepi,” the mascot for the Festival of Lights.

“What a great chance to come out with some family. Relax, enjoy the beautiful day, enjoy the weather, enjoy the season, and this stroll provides that,” he added.

Those who spent $25 or more at a participating business will receive free admission to Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display.