Light Up the Holidays Festival & Parade

Light Up the Holidays Festival & Parade

Light Up the Holidays Parade and Festival: Presented by the University of St. Francis is held on the Friday following Thanksgiving each year. Activities begin downtown as early as 10:00 a.m., and include the Fantastic Fun Fair in the Joliet Area Historical Museum’s auditorium, as well as activities in the Joliet Public Library, Jitters Coffeehouse, Chicken-n-Spice, Chevere Latin Cafe, JJC City Center Campus and more. The Rialto Square Theatre’s annual holiday festivities also add to the holiday spirit in Downtown Joliet!

Christmas Tree Lighting begins at 5:15 p.m. in Van Buren Plaza followed by the Light Up The Holidays Parade at 5:30 p.m.

Join the Parade

Are you interested in being a part of this year’s Light Up the Holidays parade? Would you like your business or group to be highlighted? Click below to download your registration form or sign up directly online.

Ride with Santa!

Click below to get a chance to join Santa during the Light Up the Holidays parade! Parents just need to click below to register their child for this amazing experience. Don’t miss out.

Activity List

Check out the activities from 2019 - 2021 activities will be updated closer to the event!

12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
17 E. Van Buren St.
Exclusive Record Store Day Black Friday Releases! Kids will be able to paint on real records while adults shop.

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
179 N. Chicago St.
All kids are welcome to join us in creating a free holiday ornament! Kids – make an eyeglass ornament for the tree and we’ll give your parents 50% off their glasses!

11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Warm up in the glow of the Christmas tree and enjoy delicious Latin hot chocolate and coffee. Full menu available!

7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
251 N. Chicago St.
Stop by Chicken-N-Spice for $1 hot chocolate!

1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
20 E. Cass St.
Kids can stop by to make slime for 50 cents and taffy apples for $1!
iLEAD is in the community to enhance and fulfill at-risk youth’s existing skills, by providing leadership and guidance. Learn more at:

9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
76 N. Chicago St.
Free coloring books and crayons, while supplies last!

7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
178 N. Chicago St.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be here from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Be sure to come capture the moment with them next to the Christmas tree and kids can grab a coupon for a free hot chocolate!

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
204 N. Ottawa St.

It’s a FREE day at the Joliet Area Historical Museum! Kick off the holiday season with a day full of fun festivities. Holiday juice bar, holiday snacks, and games from the Joliet Park District

10:00 a.m. – Doors Open, Ice Sculptures start, Santa arrives, Games / Crafts / Stem Activities / Holiday Movies begin
12:00 p.m. – Bi-Park Gnome Show
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Meet & Greet with Frozen 2 princesses Elsa & Anna
2:00 p.m. – Holiday Dance Party with Elsa & Anna
4:00 p.m. – Thanks for coming, Happy Holidays

3:00 p.m.
32 W Clinton St.
Enjoy a LIVE Flameworking demo by Sue Regis at no charge.

6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
406 N Scott St.
Stop in for a free “Ponche Navideño” – a hot Mexican Drink made with fruits and sweet cane (while supplies last!). There will also be crafts for the kids and El Mago will be doing a magic show!

102 N. Chicago St.

Teddy Bear Tea
9:30 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.
Tickets: $25.00 adults, $22.50 children 12 & under
The Rialto Square Theatre holiday tradition continues. Young and old alike will enjoy this special brunch featuring delicious food and family fun complete with a special appearance by St. Nick himself and a keepsake teddy bear. A ticket is required for all in attendance and space will fill up quickly!

Joliet Public Library

Youth Services

All ages, no registration, while supplies lastThe library is helping you get ready to Light Up the Holidays! Stop by during open hours to make a special snowflake craft.

Burnham Room

All ages, no registration, but limited seating This winter wonderland magic show features a magic elf, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and holiday tricks to captivate all ages.

Lobby The Joliet Friends of the Library will be here with special books, movies, and more!
Front Lawn All ages with an adult, no registrationStop by the Library for a special meet and greet with Santa’s reindeer! Don’t forget your camera for photos!
Chicago St. to Jefferson St. to Scott St. Come downtown and find the Joliet Public Library staff entry in the Light Up the Holidays parade!