With the Thanksgiving holiday past, it’s time to get serious about the Christmas season in three area communities this weekend — Rantoul, Fisher and Gifford. They are holding Christmas parades, while a fourth, Ludlow, will hold a lunch with Santa.
Carriage rides, photos with Santa and stories by Mrs. Claus will follow Rantoul’s annual downtown Christmas parade Friday evening.
The parade will roll at 6 p.m. It is sponsored by the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. Parade entries will line up on Congress Avenue, turn left onto Chanute Street and then left on Sangamon Avenue, ending near west Sangamon.
“We are asking all (parade) entries to fill out a form to have a numbered spot in line,” Chamber Executive Director Amanda Vickery said.
An emcee will announce the floats.
Awards will be presented for Best Themed, Most Original and Most True to Rantoul.
After the parade, carriage rides will be available outside of the chamber office at 120 E. Sangamon Ave. Proceeds will go to a local not-for-profit organization.
Santa will be in his workshop (the Beltone building) for photos.
Mrs. Claus will read Christmas stories, and there will be crafts in the workshop sponsored by Walmart, Jill’s Creative Expressions, AG Electric, Shear Excellence, Paula’s House of Flowers, Downtown Thrift Store & More, the chamber and Triad Shredding.
There will also be cookies and a photo opportunity with The Grinch at Downtown Thrift Store & More, located at the south corner of Tanner/Kentucky and Sangamon.
Fisher’s downtown Christmas parade will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.
Participants should line up at the fairgrounds beginning at 4 p.m. The parade will follow the usual route — from the fairgrounds down Front Street to Third Street and ending at Fisher Community Center.
A community celebration will follow at the center with snacks, live music and Santa.
Official photos with Santa will be held earlier in the day from 10 a.m. to noon at KDarling Photography, 102 Front St., Suite A. There is no charge for the photo, but participants are asked to make a food or paper goods donation for Fisher Food Bank.
Gifford State Bank Christmas parade and related activities will be held Sunday, Dec. 8.
The event, which begins at 4:30 p.m. in the bank lobby, will include live music, hot chocolate and cookies, a visit with Santa and a lighted Christmas parade. The bank will also be collecting children’s hats, gloves and scarves donated by the community. The items will be donated back to the schools in the communities served by the bank.
To begin the event, Zach and Sarah Bensyl will sing “Noel,” followed by the Gifford Grade School Band, which will perform “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
The Gifford Grade School chorus will sing “Merry Merry” and “Christmas Canon of Peace.”
Kennedy Carico will sing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
There will then be a group sing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Ludlow Fire Department will hold its annual Lunch with Santa this weekend.
The event is set from 11 to 1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the firehouse.
Lunch will be provided.
All ages are welcome.