Signature Holiday Events along the Mississippi River

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Illinois & Iowa – Upcoming winter brings the best celebrations up and down the Missississippi River in many historic communities in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The TravelMississippiRiver.org partnership has featured each community's best holiday and winter events as those not to miss this season. Traveling from the north to the south from Dubuque, Iowa, to Quincy, Illinois, for the 2012 season include:

Reflections in the Park, a Hillcrest Lights Festival, Nov 22-Jan. 1

Murphy Park, 1700 S. Grandview Ave., Dubuque, Iowa

There will be dozens of light displays, many of which are animated, and holiday music as carloads travel throughout Murphy Park, 1700 S. Grandview Ave. in Dubuque, Iowa. Santa Claus will appear every Monday night before Christmas from 5:00pm-8:00pm to greet visitors to the park. Entrance to the park is $8.00 a carload with special pricing for vans and buses. For more information contact 563.583.7357 or www.hillcrest-fs.org/specialevents/reflections/

Cable Car Square's Christmas Candlewalk, Fri. Nov. 23

Outside the Lines Art Gallery, in Dubuque, Iowa

Over 1000 luminaries light the way through Cable Car Square, 409 Bluff Street in Dubuque, Iowa, while shopping for holiday gifts at merchant shops, and Santa and Mrs. Claus make a special visit for children. For more information contact 563.583.9343 or www.dubuquechamber.com

The Galena Territory Holiday House Walk, Sat. Dec. 1

2000 Territory Dr., Galena, Ill.

Self-guided tour of five beautiful homes decorated for the holiday season. Light refreshments and raffle will be held for unique handmade items by local crafters and quilters. Ticket sales will end at 2:30 p.m. Contact 815-777-2000 for additional information. www.galena.org

A Taste of Christmas Progressive Dinner, Sat. Dec 8

Various locations, Galena, Ill.

Experience Galena's historic bed & breakfast inns all decked out for the holidays. Each course takes you to a different inn where you'll dine on appetizers, dinner and decadent desserts. During your appetizer course you will meet one of the ladies from "Women of Courage & Commitment." Hear about their lives, their connection to Galena and how they celebrated the holidays during the 1800s. Contact phone number: 815-777-0893 or http://www.bestofgalena.com

Night of the Luminaria, Sat. Dec 15

Various locations, Galena, Ill.

One of the most beautiful and romantic visions of the year with the streets, steps and sidewalks of Galena lined with nearly 5,000 candle-lit luminaries. Contact phone number: 815-777-9050 or www.galena.org

Unwrap the Magic of Christmas, Nov 24-25

Downtown Bellevue, IA

Beautiful Bellevue, Iowa, is hosting a Holiday Open House the weekend after Thanksgiving, with Breakfast with Santa, a ceramics painting workshop, a holiday craft and vendor fair, wagon rides with Santa, fireworks and a lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday, followed by a Holiday Tour of Homes and a reception featuring a Christmas tree raffle on Sunday. Contact: 563-872-5830 or www.bellevueia.com

Savanna Festival of Trees, Dec. 1-9

Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, 406 Main Street, Savanna, Ill.

The Savanna Historical Society is proud to present the Winter Wonderland Festival of Trees on December 1-9 at the Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, 406 Main Street. The 6' and over trees will be displayed on the first floor Community Room at the museum and create a festive 'avenue' of trees. At one end of the room, there will be a large Santa's Chair, which will provide children an opportunity to have their pictures taken. Visitors will vote on the tree they deem the "People's Choice" and prizes will be awarded. Admission to the Festival of Trees will be free, but donations are always accepted. Contact 815-273-7262 for more information.

Christmas at Heritage Canyon, Sat. Dec. 1

515 N. 4th Street, Fulton, Ill.

Step back in time as The Early American Crafters celebrate the holiday season at Heritage Canyon with music, reenactments, and craft demonstrations. The Canyon is beautifully decorated with holiday greens and luminaries. The contact phone number 815-589-4545 or www.cityoffulton.us

Fulton's Hometown Christmas Walk, Fri. Dec. 7

4th Street in Downtown Fulton, Ill.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season in downtown Fulton. Carolers, Santa Claus, The Grinch, train rides, 2-mile run/walk, decorated Christmas tree silent auction, live nativity, free refreshments, and holiday shopping. Contact phone number 815-589-4545 or www.cityoffulton.us

Christmas in LeClaire - Friday, Dec. 7-Sunday, Dec. 9

Downtown LeClaire, Iowa - Cody Rd.

The charming village of LeClaire, Iowa, is transformed into a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting with its delightful shopping, carriage rides, a crafts fair, silent auction, living Nativity Scene, breakfast with Santa, and even pet photos with Santa. Christmas in LeClaire is where Santa comes to shop. LeClaire is located 20 minutes outside of the metro Quad Cities (just off I-80 on Hwy 67). For more information, call 563-289-4242, ext. 1135 or visit www.visitleclaire.com

Christmas in the Village – Friday, Dec. 7-Saturday, Dec. 8

Village of East Davenport, Iowa - Mound St.

It's a family tradition for over 25 years in the Village of East Davenport. Come and enjoy live windows, music, local artists, horse-drawn wagon rides, and of course Santa will be here from 6-9 p.m. each night. There will be fireworks on Friday, Dec. 7 at 9 pm. The Village is located at Mound & 11th Street, Davenport, Iowa. For more information, call 563-323-8868 or visit www.villageofeastdavenport.com

Gallery Hop! – Friday, Dec. 7

The District, Rock Island, Ill.

If you want to jazz up the holidays, come to the free Gallery Hop! from 5-9 p.m. in the Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District in Rock Island, Illinois. Find holiday gifts by local artists for reasonable prices in over 20 District businesses. All are welcome at this casual, fun event. Take the free shuttle or enjoy a crisp walk. With great food and beverages to keep you motivated, where else can you party while you shop? And we promise you'll find things on this night you won't find again. It's an experience! For more information, call The District at 309-788-6311 or visit their website at www.ridistrict.com

Nauvoo's Annual Christmas Walk- Saturday, Dec. 1

Nauvoo, Ill.

The Nauvoo Area Chamber of Commerce along with the Nauvoo Tourism Office will be hosting a vendor event in the Nauvoo-Colusa Elementary School gym, Santa Claus at the Kraus Furniture Store, a large display of nativity sets, Christmas Tree lighting, a movie in a vintage theatre, turkey and cash raffle, the Fireman's Soup Supper, a parade of homes and more. There will also be a candy making contest and many of the businesses will be hosting open houses with drawings and treats for their visitors. Contact phone number 217-453-6648 or www.beautifulnauvoo.com

Holiday Open House, Sun. Nov. 11

Downtown Burlington, Iowa

Kick off your holiday season with a favorite event - downtown's holiday open house. Get a head start on holiday gift buying, sample food and refreshments, and register at participating businesses for the Downtown Dollars giveaway. www.growburlington.com

Lighted Holiday Parade, Sat. Nov. 24

Downtown Burlington

A holiday tradition that gets bigger, brighter and better every year! What a perfect opportunity to gather with family and friends and make some holiday memories. Find a comfortable spot along Jefferson Street and relax at 6 p.m. while you watch one of Burlington's best shows. It's a very special evening in Downtown that will truly get you into the holiday spirit - especially when you see Santa Claus coming down the lane. www.growburlington.com

Symphony of Trees, Nov. 9-10

4821 Oak St., Quincy, Ill.

This family festival includes holiday displays, silent auctions, children's crafts and activities, Dec. 2-5, held at the Holiday Inn in Quincy, Illinois. www.symphonyoftreesquincy.com

Avenue of Lights, Nov.22- Jan. 1

1200 North 36th St., Quincy, Ill.

Two miles of festival lights in a driving tour held in Moorman Park, 1200 North 36th St., from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. The cost is $8 per car, and the event is open nightly from 6-9:30 p.m. in Quincy, Ill. www.avenueoflights.com

More than a dozen Travel & Tourism groups in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have joined forces to promote traveling along the Mississippi River Valley. Visit www.TravelMississippiRiver.org or find us on Facebook to check out regional events, trendy shopping areas, charming restaurants and historic sites. Use the website to plan your next weekend getaway!