Towns in the Southland Your Times area are ready to usher in the holidays with parades, family fun and, of course, Santa. Here's what's on tap:
Orland Park will run its first parade this year, and Tinley Park will double its pleasure with two.
The Orland Park debut takes place at 4 p.m. Nov. 28. It will start at 151st Street and Ravinia Avenue and go along Ravinia until it stops at Village Hall for the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Thirty units are expected for the 45-minute parade, including a group of 14 horses, according to Recreation and Parks Director Ray Piattoni. There also will be bands, dance groups, decorated trucks and special recreation athletes.
“We wanted expansion of the holiday events, and parades are fun and it gives us as a community the opportunity to celebrate,” Piattoni said.
“We want to have an even bigger holiday celebration,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau added. “It’s something that the residents enjoy, and I think it attracts people from outside the village, which is obviously important to us. They get to see all that Orland Park has to offer.”
The first of Tinley Park’s two parades is the Tinley Toyland Parade at 11:45 a.m. Dec. 4. It steps off from the Vogt Visual Arts Center, 17420 67th Court, and heads north two blocks to North Street and ends in the north lot of the Oak Park Avenue train station.
The second parade is the 23rd Parade of Lights which kicks off at dusk Dec. 5 on Oak Park Avenue between 177th and 172nd Streets. At the end of the parade, Santa arrives. It is sponsored by the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce.
And this is just the beginning:
Get ready for your closeup Dec. 11 at Founders Community Center, 140 Oak St. Santa and workshop photos will be offered in sessions from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The fee is $6 per child for residents and $11 for nonresidents.
From 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m., Paws With Claus will welcome pets for a photo with Santa. Cost is $2 per family, and host Frankfort Park District requests patrons bring a pet item to be donated to the National Animal Welfare Society Animal Shelter.
For more information contact the Frankfort Park District office at 815-469-9400 or visit www.frankfortparks.org
On Dec. 12, the Polar Express Storytime Train gets rolling for trips at 9:30 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. starting at the Hickory Creek Metra Station, 9430 Hickory Creek Drive. Tickets are $17 for Frankfort residents and $22 for nonresidents if any remain.
The Park District is also hosting a Deck the Paws photo contest on its Facebook Page. Submissions are due Dec. 20 with voting Dec. 22.
On Dec. 31, the Founders Community Center will host a New Year’s Eve party from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for ages 4 to 10. Tickets are $9 for residents and $14 for nonresidents.
The clever Homer for the Holidays kicks off Dec. 4 with the annual holiday lighting ceremony from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Heritage Park, 14240 W. 151st St. A holiday light display will take place at dusk, activated by Santa Claus.
There will also be music and hot cocoa.
The snowman decorating contest starts Dec. 4, also at Heritage Park. While the snowmen are sold out, visitors can view and vote for their favorites.
The Village Hall Community Room will host a Holiday Crafts and Cocoa event from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 11. Kids can take photos with Santa Claus.
Through Dec. 17, residents can enter a Dress Your Pet contest in which photos of pets in holiday costumes will be judged. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
The Christmas in the Square event takes place from 1-4:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at Central Square, 222 E. 9th St.
A highlight is the visit to Santa in his workshop plus the Festival of Trees at the Gladys Fox Museum. The afternoon will also feature children's crafts, special treats and entertainment.
On Nov. 28, the 12th Annual Christmas Tea will take place at the museum. There will be seatings from noon-1:30 and 3-4:30 p.m. Fees are $25 for residents and $30 for nonresidents. Reservations are through lockportpark.org.
The Lockport Park District hosts Breakfast with Santa and the Grinch from 8:30-10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Prairie Bluff Public Golf Club Banquet Room, 19433 Renwick Road, Crest Hill.
The Senior Clubs Holiday Party takes place from 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Prairie Bluff Public Golf Club. Open to those 50 and older, the charge is $15 per person.
A Noon New Year’s Eve Sock Hop takes place from 11:30 a.m. -2 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Prairie Bluff Golf Club Banquet Room. Rosie and the Rivets will perform. Tickets are $35 for residents and $40 for nonresidents.
For more information, visit lockportpark.org.
The village will host Breakfast With Santa from 9-10:30 a.m. Dec. 4 at Aurelio’s Restaurant in Frankfort.
Breakfast includes entertainment, gifts and a buffet with breakfast calzones, French toast sticks, scrambled eggs, sausage and fruit.
The Mokena Chamber of Commerce will host a Magic of Mokena Tree and Window Walk from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 11
There will be a Senior Lunch Bunch 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Oaks Recreation and Fitness Center, 10847 LaPorte Road. The $10 resident and $12 nonresident fee includes lunch, drinks, dessert and bingo cards. For more information, call 708-390-2401 or visit www.mokenapark.com and register online.
Christmas in the Commons is back with another year of free events. The series of events from 4-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays begin Dec. 4 and wrap up Dec. 19 at the Village Commons, 101 Veterans Parkway.
Activities include visits with Santa, the holiday market, ice skating and horse-drawn carriage rides. Souvenir mugs and hot cocoa will be available for sale. Food trucks will also be on site.
Throughout the season, the village’s holiday lights will be on display. That includes the largest illuminated Santa Claus in the U.S., standing nearly 40 feet tall and covered in 18,500 LED lights.
Children who would like to mail a letter to Santa can drop their envelope to his special mailbox right in front of his statue.
To receive a response, letters must be mailed no later than Dec. 17 and must include a return address.
The outdoor holiday market includes vendors featuring everything from home decor, jewelry and confections to clothing.
Those who spend $20 or more with one of the vendors will receive a free souvenir mug.
The parade coincides with the start of the Holiday Festival at 4 p.m. Nov. 28 with the tree lighting at 5 p.m. at the Civic Center, 14750 S. Ravinia Ave.
There will be a Holiday Market with food, hot chocolate and winter-themed products.
There will be four performances of the play “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 17-19 at the Cultural Center, 14760 Park Ave. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for senior citizens and students. Tickets are available at orlandpark.org.
The village is also hosting a children’s New Year’s Eve celebration from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Centennial Park, 15600 West Ave. Ice skating, refreshments, party favors and a countdown are included.
The tree lighting ceremony is at 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Zabrocki Plaza, 17375 Oak Park Ave. A singalong will precede the lighting of the 35-foot tree.
That night, the Holiday Market opens for three days at 6 p.m. at the Oak Park Metra train station.
Foods, crafts and music will be held in large heated tent at 6-9 p.m. Dec. 3, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 4 and noon-6 p.m. Dec. 5.
The village’s Park District will host the Winter Wonderland Yule Ball, Jingle and Jammies, Rudolph Dash and Brunch with the Grinch, which have been sold out since early November.
From 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Dec, 4, Oh No, Not My Gumdrop Buttons will be held at the Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center, 8125 W. 171st St. A gingerbread house expert will be on hand to provide creative counsel for the family decorating event.