Peoria’s Old Town Holiday Festival, featuring Second Saturdays activities, returns on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. Two large Peoria events are coming together for a night of free holiday fun in Old Town Peoria from 5 to 9 p.m., near 83rd and Grand Avenues.

“This year we have the opportunity to bring the community together once again to celebrate the holiday season,” said Marylou Stephens, Peoria arts and events manager. “We are very happy to bring this holiday tradition back and featuring a variety of new elements”

Old Town Holiday Festival attendees can stroll through the historic streets of Old Town Peoria, between Peoria and Grand Avenues, with sweaters and hot cocoa and experience live entertainment and festivities. Included in the festival will be bounce houses, roaming high school choirs from Peoria, local merchants and vendors selling gift items, a gingerbread house display, holiday photo opportunities, live performances from local musicians and dancers, and many food trucks. Entries for the annual Gingerbread House Contest must be submitted between Dec. 1-8 at the Peoria Community Center, located at 8335 W. Jefferson St. The grand prize for the Best Overall Large House is $100 and $50 for the Best Overall Mini House.

The highlights of the evening will be a tree lighting ceremony in the heart of Osuna Park and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Every year, members of the Peoria city council gather with residents to turn the Christmas lights on in the park at 7:15 p.m. Also, the Peoria Fire-Medical Department will help Santa Claus arrive safely to the festival and then stay for family pictures. Photos with Santa Claus are free.

This festival will be outside and attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing, wash their hands and wear facial coverings, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information about the Old Town Holiday Festival, visit

J.D. Manning
Author: J.D. Manning founder and administrator. Arrowhead resident and Realtor, The Arrowhead Agent with eXp Realty