Christmas Parade – November 22
Downtown Decatur. The 2014 Lighted Nighttime Decatur Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Decatur Jaycees, 5:30pm, free, 217-413-0990.
Family Christmas Dueling Pianos Show – November 22
Mt. Zion Convention Center, 1410 Mt. Zion Pkwy, Mt. Zion. Presented by Christmas in the Village and Sav-Mor Pharmacy, a family event with kid-friendly appetizer stations, 7pm, $, reservations required, 217-864-5424.
Heritage & Holly Home Tour – November 28-29
Begins at First Presbyterian Church, 204 W. Prairie Ave. Tour of historic homes decorated for Christmas, including a presentation at #2 Millikin Place by Professor Paul Kruty, author of Marion Mahony and Millikin Place, refreshments and entertainment, proceeds benefit the Near Westside Restoration and Preservation Society (NWRAPS), Candlelight Tour F 4-8pm, Sa 12-6pm, $, 234-208-6871.
Just Believe – November 29
Decatur Civic Center Auditorium. True believers will wear your pajamas, watch the movie and be whisked away to the North Pole on a magical train ride for a visit with Santa followed by hot chocolate and popcorn. Three showings at 9am, 2pm and 6pm. Recommended for ages 2-10. Tickets: Available online at decaturilmoms.com at $5 each.
Deck the Halls & Delight in the Delectable – December 2
University of Illinois Extension, 3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd. The Horticulture staff will walk you through the creation of an evergreen holiday swag as you enjoy holiday cooking tips and sample new recipes, 10am, $, reservations required, 217-877-6042.
Christmas Walk – December 3
Downtown Decatur. Downtown comes alive with horse-drawn carriage rides, music and carolers, delicious goodies, and Santa Claus in Central Park, extended retail hours and art galleries open, 4:30-8pm, free, 217-423-3475 and 217-422-1509.
XMAS ARTicles – December 3-30
Opening Event – December 3
Madden Arts Center, Anne Lloyd Gallery, 125 N. Water St. A Christmas gift shop filled with original art and fine crafts from more than fifty area artists in varied mediums, opening event 12/3 during the Downtown Christmas Walk, 5-8pm. General gallery hours MTWF's 8:30am-4:30pm, Th's 8:30am-7pm, Sa's 10am-4pm, free admission, 217-423-3189.
Nutcracker Ballet – December 5-7
Richland Community College, Shilling Auditorium, 1 College Park. Richland's 19th annual Nutcracker Ballet, F & Sa 7pm, Su 2:30pm, $, 217-875-7211 ext. 6170.
Twas the Night Before Christmas – December 5-7, 9 & 13
The Little Theatre on the Square, 16 E. Harrison, Sullivan. The wild adventure of a mouse, an elf, and a spunky little girl, theatre for young audiences, 10am 12/5, 6, 9, 13 & 2pm 12/6, 7, $, 217-728-7375.
Breakfast with Santa – December 6
Children's Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Enjoy breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make a holiday craft, 8-10am, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.
Santa Fly - In – December 6
Main Hangar at Decatur Airport. Enjoy breakfast, watch Santa land, then sit on his lap to share your Christmas wish. Seating is limited. Call 217-421-7452 for reservations.
Gingerbread House Workshop – December 6
Children's Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Decorate your own gingerbread house to take home, 10-11:30am, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.
Kids Christmas Party – December 6 & 20
ASP N More, 2926 N. Oakland Ave. Meet Santa Claus, crafts, games, contest, free photo with Santa, 11am-3pm, $, reservations for 12/6 by 11/27 & for 12/20 by 12/15, 217-358-5228.
Christmas High Tea – December 6
Mari-Mann Herb Co., 1405 W. Mann Ln. The 25th annual English full tea with Mrs. Claus, sweets, treats, and sandwiches served in high style, children may bring their favorite doll, bring your cameras, 12-2pm, $, 217-429-1555.
Pajama Party with Santa at Scovill Zoo – December 6
Scovill Zoo, 71 S. Country Club Rd. Kids ages 3-10 can wear their PJs, bring their pillows, and visit with Santa while they make an ornament, decorate cookies, and enjoy special animal encounters, parents must be present, 1-3pm or 5-7pm, $, 217-421-7435.
Vespers - December 6-7
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Millikin's annual traditional Vespers (Evening Prayers), performed by more than 300 student voices and instrumentalists featuring carols, anthems, and motets from around the world, 3 & 7pm, $, 217-424-6318.
Victorian Christmas Tea – December 7
Oglesby Mansion, 421 W. William St. Enjoy an old fashioned Christmas celebration at Governor Oglesby's beautiful Victorian mansion, refreshments served, 2-4pm, $ donations requested, 217-423-7708.
MacArthur High School Symphonic Band Concert – December 9
MacArthur High School Auditorium, 1 Educational Pk. Annual holiday concert featuring a combination of classic repertoire and seasonal favorites, 7pm, free, 217-876-8021.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas – December 12
Children's Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Listen to this cheerful tale of friendship and perseverance, snack and craft included, 10-11am, $, 217-423-5437.
Cocoa & Cookies with Santa – December 12
Children's Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with Santa, listen to a holiday story, and make a craft, 6-8pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.
Junior Claus – December 12-21
The Little Theatre on the Square, 16 E. Harrison, Sullivan. Junior Claus, only son of Santa and Mrs. Claus, and his cheery elf best friend and other colorful characters learn the true meaning of Christmas, a comedic holiday show for the entire family, 7:30pm 12/12, 13, 16-20 & 2pm 12/12, 14, 19-21, $, 217-728-7375.
Holiday Jazz – December 13
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Celebrate the sounds of the season with Millikin University's faculty jazz sextet, 7:30pm, $, 217-424-6318.
Chamber Orchestra Advent Services – December 14
Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St. The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Chamber Orchestra joins the musicians of Central Christian Church for services of the season, 8 & 10:30am, free, 217-424-6318.
Victorian Christmas Tea – December 14
Millikin Homestead, 125 S. Pine St. Visit James and Anna Millikin's historical home and enjoy punch, cookies, and holiday music, Sweet Treats Bakery selling a variety of homemade bakery items, 1-4pm, free, 217-422-9003.
Happy Noon Year – December 31
Children's Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. A special countdown to the New Year for those who don't stay up late, dance party, photo booth, and festive crafts, confetti flies and balloon drops at noon, 10am-2pm, $, 217-423-5437.
Annual Faculty Exhibit – through December 12
Richland Community College, Erlanson Gallery, 1 College Pk. Various media exhibited by Richland faculty members, M-F 10am-3pm, free, 217-875-7211 ext. 386.
Decatur Airport Exhibit – December
Decatur Airport, Main Terminal, Lobby Gallery, 910 Airport Rd. Featuring Sue Watts' watercolors, airport lobby open hours, free, 217-422-1509.
Library Exhibit – December
Decatur Public Library, Art Gallery, 130 N. Franklin St. Featuring Mike Delaney's watercolors, library open hours, free, 217-422-1509.
Rock Springs Exhibits – December
Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. North Gallery – various media works by the Barn Colony artists; South Gallery – the works of Delores Rice Logue, Rock Springs business hours, free, 217-423-7708.
Art Bazaar – December 3
Richland Community College, 1 College Pk. Entertainment, fine art and gifts, sponsored by the Richland Community College Art Department, 10am-3pm, 217-875-7211 ext. 386.
First Friday Opening Reception – December 5
Gallery 510 Exhibit – December
Gallery 510, 160 E. Main St. First Friday opening reception featuring the works of Sally Van Natta, refreshments, F 12/5, 5-7:30pm, free. General exhibit viewing month of December, Tu-F 11am-5pm, Sa 11am-3pm, free, 217-422-1509.
Decatur Airport Exhibit – January
Decatur Airport, Main Terminal, Lobby Gallery, 910 Airport Rd. Featuring Sue Goodpaster's watercolors, airport lobby open hours, free, 217-422-1509.
Library Exhibit –January
Decatur Public Library, Art Gallery, 130 N. Franklin St. Featuring the paintings of Rae Nell Spencer, library open hours, free, 217-422-1509.
Perkinson Exhibit – January-February
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Perkinson Gallery, 1184 W. Main St. Featuring a photography exhibit by Jonah Calinawan, Maureen Delaney, and Jason Lazarus, M-F 12-5pm, free, 217-424-6227.
Rock Springs Exhibit – January
Rock Springs Nature Center, North Wing Gallery, 3939 Nearing Ln. The Decatur Camera Club displays the beauty of Central Illinois, Rock Springs business hours, free, 217-423-7708.
Young Artists Showcase 2015 – January 7-31
Madden Arts Center, Anne Lloyd Gallery, 125 N. Water St. Annual juried exhibit featuring art work by Decatur area students in grades 5-8, presented by Gallery 510 Arts Guild, M-F 8:30-4:30, Sa 10am-2pm, free, 217-423-3189.
First Friday – January 9
Gallery 510 Exhibit – January
Gallery 510, 160 E. Main St. First Friday opening reception for Hua Nian's paper tearing, pen and ink, abstracts, refreshments, F 1/9, 5-7:30pm, free. General exhibit viewing month of January, Tu-F 11am-5pm, Sa 11am-3pm, free, 217-422-1509.
Opus 24 Fall Concert - Gloria! – November 20
St. Patrick Catholic Church, 407 E. Eldorado. Featuring the Gloria in D Major by Antonio Vivaldi and new choral music for the season, performed by Opus 24 and Heritage String Quartet, 7:30pm, $, 217-422-1422.
The Glass Bead Game – November 20
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Presented by Millikin University's School of Music, featuring Stephen Schepper on the horn, 7:30pm, free, 217-424-6318.
Greater Decatur Chorale Concert & Dinner – January 9-11
Scovill Golf Course Banquet Facility, 3909 W. Main St. Dinner and concert by Decatur Park District's Greater Decatur Chorale, F & Sa cash bar 6pm, dinner 6:30pm, concert 7:30pm and Su lunch 12:30pm, concert 2pm, $, 217-422-5911.
Collegiate Chorale Tour Finale – January 18
Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St. Millikin University choirs perform classical and newly composed pieces, 7:30pm, free will offering received, 217-424-4336.
University Choir Tour Finale Concert – January 25
St. Patrick Catholic Church, 407 E. Eldorado St. Millikin University choirs perform, 7:30pm, free will offering received, 217-424-4336.
40th Central Illinois Jazz Festival – January 30-February 1
Decatur Conference Center & Hotel, 4191 US Highway 36 West. Three-day jazz festival featuring ten nationally known bands, five guest artists, multiple venues under one roof, hosted by the Juvae Jazz Society, F 4pm-12am, Sa 10am-2am, Su 10am-5pm, $, 217-454-2709.
Young Artists Concert – January 31
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Join the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra for Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 capping off the evening, featuring Millikin University student soloists, 7:30pm, $, 217-424-6318.
nature & gardens
Winter Survival – December 13
Rock Springs Conservation Area, 3939 Nearing Ln. Join Joe Hunt to learn about surviving in the winter wilderness, for ages 10 and older, dress for the weather, 1-3pm, free, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
Family Hikes – December & January
Rock Springs Conservation Area (RSCA) 3939 Nearing Ln., Sand Creek Conservation Area (SCCA) 4314 S. Franklin St., Friends Creek Conservation Area (FCCA) 13723 Friends Creek Park Rd., Cisco, free, reservations required for all hikes, 217-423-7708.
12/19 – Winter Night, SCCA, 8pm, $
12/21 – Winter Solstice, RSCA,
12/27 – Holiday Break, RSCA, 2pm, free
1/9 – Winter Night, FCCA, 8pm, $
1/3 – Into the Wild: Making Tracks,
RSCA, 2pm, free
1/25 – Unnatural Trail, RSCA, 2pm, free
Family Fun: Feed the Animals – December 20
Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. A unique tour to meet and feed the nature center animals, learn how and when to care for animals in captivity, 1:30pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
A Living Symbol: The American Bald Eagle – January 10
Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. Join Jacques Nuzzo from the Illinois Raptor Center to view a live bald eagle and learn about its incredible attributes, 2pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
Night at the Nature Center – January 23
Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. Visit the EcoCenter at night for games, stories, crafts, and snacks, dress for the weather, for ages 6-12, 7-10pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
Eagle Viewing Trip – January 31
Rock Springs Conservation Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. Join Jeff Tish on a bus trip to Pere Marquette State Park to view wild bald eagles along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, tour the Melvin Price Lock and Dam, 7am-5pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
Snake and Turtle Show – January 31
Rock Springs Conservation Center, 3939 Nearing Ln. Learn about snakes and turtles, then see and feel the live animals, 1-2:30pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-7708.
sports, health & fitness
Decatur Park District's Turkey Trot – November 22
Fairview Park, Pavilion #1, 1455 W. Fairview Park Dr. Annual 5K and 10K run, and 5K walk, computerized results, prizes, first 300 participants receive long-sleeved t-shirt, presented by Tate & Lyle, check-in 6:45-7:30am, race 8am, $, 217-429-7750.
Ice Skating - December & January
Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza. Ice skating fun for the entire family, F's 7:30-9:30pm, Sa's 3:30-5:30pm, Su's 2:15-4:15pm, $, www.DecaturCivicCenter.org or 217-422-7300.
DISC Open House – January 3
Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC), 1295 W. Wood St. Tours, demonstrations, giveaways, special discounts, 9am-12pm, free, 217-429-3472.
Cross Country Ski Workshop – January 17
Rock Springs Conservation Area, 3939 Nearing Ln. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing, dress for the weather, 2pm, $, at least 4 inches of snow and reservations required, 217-423-7708.