A Little Time and a Keyboard: Unique Holiday Events in the Midwest

Unique Holiday Events in the Midwest

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The next two months will certainly be a bit of a blur as we celebrate good tidings and savor those special moments that only happen during the holidays. Before we get all wrapped up in the revelry, I have gathered some unique holiday celebrations in the Midwest with the help of some of my favorite travel gurus. If you are planning something different, here are events that top our lists. Please add your favorites in comments. We all love to add a new holiday celebration to our traditions!


Illumination at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle -- Using light and other multimedia effects, The Morton Arboretum showcases nature literally in a new light. Interactive displays provide special wonderment during the holiday season. Where else can singing create amazing light patterns in the trees? In its fourth year, Illumination brings a truly inventive way of melding nature exploration with holiday cheer. The displays are ever evolving, so each year presents old favorites and new experiences. This year's event runs November 18-January 2.

Stroll on State in Rockford -- The Saturday after Thanksgiving in Rockford is the perfect way to warm up for the holidays with Stroll on State. The official tree lighting, a light show on the Rock River, ice sculpting, s'mores, parade, fire works and more will make a new holiday memory.

Illumination at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois lights up nature with dynamic multimedia displays.
Illumination at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois lights up nature with dynamic multimedia displays.


Canopy of Lights in Bloomingon - Holiday cheer in Bloomington will be covered with the twinkle of lights on November 25. Canopy of Lights includes costume characters, music, hot chocolate, holiday treats and Santa! The city will look dreamy draped in sparking white lights emanating from the courthouse. Other holiday events will be happening in the city so check the schedule.

Christmas Celebration in Santa Claus - Cheryl from O The Places We Go whisks us on a sleigh to Santa Claus, Indiana for a very special Christmas Celebration. Holiday sparkle can be seen all year long in Santa Claus. However, the holiday season is especially magical including plenty of Santa sightings and twinkling lights including a display relating the story of Rudolph. Kids can send a letter Santa -- and he will write back!

Reynolds Farm Equipment John Deere Free Christmas Lights Display in Fishers - More than 2 million lights go into Reynolds Farm Equipment John Deere Free Christmas Lights Display, an event that has been delighting families for over 20 years. Displays feature holiday scenes, winter scenes, Colts players, race cars, tractors and more. Lights start November 22 and will go through January 1.


Tannenbaum Forest in Amana Colonies
- Megan from Olio in Iowa takes us to the Tannenbaum Forest in the Amana Colonies. The magical event features 40 live evergreen trees decorated by local businesses. Experience holiday heaven walking among glittering pines while observing a variety of decorations. This year's event runs November 25-December 18. Special dates welcome local musicians and Santa.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankmuth, Michigan's Festive Parking Lot.
Bronner's Christmas Wonderland is festive inside and out. Image courtesy of The Traveling Praters.


Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World at Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids
- Jessie of Wandering Educators brings us to Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World where 40 trees are decorated representing different holiday cultures and traditions around the world. An accompanying railroad exhibit features miniatures of Grand Rapids landmarks. Special activities include carolers, roof top reindeer, holiday trolley, Santa visits and more. This event runs November 22-January 8.

Christmas Every Day in Frankenmuth: Tonya of The Traveling Praters takes us to Bronner's CHRISTMASWonderland where it is Christmas all year long! Bronner's goes beyond being a the world's largest Christmas store but is a true destination full of every ornament and decoration you have ever dreamed of. The parking lot packs a holiday delight as well with many festive photo ops. Frankenmuth's Silent Night Chapel is modeled after the Austrian chapel where the famous carol was first sung. Bronner's is open 361 days a year, so Christmas cheer that is easy to add into your schedule.

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village in Dearborn - Holiday Nights is like almost walking straight into a vintage Christmas card with costumed characters, candlelit windows, horse-drawn carriages, carolers, chestnuts roasting, ice skating and more. As part of the Henry Ford complex, the event also sports Model T rides! Holiday Nights runs on designated days in December.

St Louis Brewery Lights It Up Holiday Lights
St Louis Brewery Lights It Up Holiday Lights - image courtesy of Dang Travelers


St. Louis Brewery Lights It Up in St. Louis - Angela from Dang Travelers suggests a trip to the St. Louis Brewery to enjoy their St. Louis Brewery Lights It Up festival. Lights, Clydesdales, make your own s'mores, beer for the adults and more holiday fun provides a lovely family adventure. You can even enjoy a twirl on an ice rink. The free event runs November 17-January 1.


Christmas at the Cody's in North Platte - Colonel William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and his wife LOVED to decorate their home for the holidays, so North Platte keeps the tradition alive in an interesting way with Christmas at the Cody's. Each year various groups from the town decorate each room, the grounds and the barn where the famous Wild West Show was staged. The Codys greet guests and Santa is available for visits. Local artists entertain. Horse-drawn carriages, carolers and more round out a lovely holiday evening! The event runs several weekends in December.


An Old World Christmas at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle - The experiences of immigrants on the Wisconsin frontier are brought to life at Old World Wisconsin. An Old World Christmas is an extra special time with holiday customs, storytelling, horse-drawn bobsled rides and holiday characters from our immigrant past. This year's event runs December 3-4.

Kenosha HarborHoliday - International Market & Festival - This new combination Kenosha HarborHoliday event on December 3 sounds like a complete day of holiday sparkle in the making. The Civil War Museum hosts a Victorian Christmas showing what Christmas would have been like during the war. The engaging affair includes an encampment, period games and even a Civil War Santa! The Kenosha Public Museum will host an International Holiday Faire where visitors will find gifts from all over the world and enjoy traditional performances. Linnea Bakery will have a Nordic Corral with reindeer. The day will also feature the Winter HarborMarket with artisan cheeses, baked goods, locally made crafts and more.

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