Chester's "Christmas on the River" celebration will be back for its 33rd year Friday to Sunday, Dec. 3-5.
Though this year's event will be scaled back, organizers are working to bring back the most popular attractions for residents young and old alike, including the Lighted Parade, vendor and craft sale, Reindeer Games and Frosty's Follies family scavenger hunt.
The festivities will kick off with the annual community tree lighting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their first holiday appearance in Chester for the ceremony, with music provided by the Chester High School band.
Starting Friday, craft and vendor booths will be offering holiday shopping at three locations: the Randolph County Courthouse, 1 Taylor St.; the Chester VFW, 939 State St.; and the Chester American Legion, 500 Opdyke St. Sale hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Feeling competitive? Grab your friends and family and join in the Reindeer Games Friday, Dec. 3. Teams should sign in from 6:30-6:50 p.m. at city hall, 1330 Swanwick St. Games begin at 7 p.m., and all teams must be in by 8:30 p.m.
Teams of no more than five people need a vehicle and a digital camera or phone camera to participate. Teams are encouraged to dress in festive wear and decorate their vehicles as well.
Registration is $5 per team; forms are available at www.chesterill.com and at city hall.
On Saturday families are invited to take part in the Frosty's Follies scavenger hunt. The hunt starts at 1 p.m., and all teams must be in by 3 p.m.
A vehicle is required with an adult driver (18 or older). Teams may consist of no more than seven people, including the driver, and all team members must participate in each activity. Digital camera or camera phone required.
Registration and sign in are at city hall. Those who register by 3 p.m. Nov. 18 will get a head start. Day-of registration will be available from 12-12:45 p.m. All teams should sign in from 12:30-12:50 p.m.
Extra points will be awarded to those who dress in holiday attire, and there will be a prize for the best car decorations.
Saturday evening, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way through town in the Lighted Parade.
The parade will step off at Chester High School at 6 p.m. and make its way to the Chester Square Gazebo Park.
There will be a trackless train for the kids and kids at heart, as well as a life-size snow globe, a Story Walk from the Chester Public Library, carolers, and hot cocoa and cider.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will receive visitors and give out treats. Also keep an eye out for Frosty and the Grinch.
If you are interested in entering the parade, call Patti Carter at (618) 826-1430.
Also on Saturday:
• St. John's PTL is hosting its annual bazaar in the parish hall, 1328 Oak St., from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. They will be selling coffee cakes and broccoli cheddar soup by the quart (to-go only). Preorders for soup and coffee cakes can be submitted at the church office. They also will be hosting the St. Nick's Attic and Vendor Sale during these hours. For more, call (618) 826-3545.
• Peace Lutheran Church, 1250 Opdyke St., will host its Soup Tasting Luncheon and Christmas Shop from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. There is no fee for the luncheon, but donations are greatly appreciated.
• St. Nicholas Landmark is hosting the Race to the North Pole. All proceeds from the 5K race will be donated to the Randolph County Humane Society. The start time for the race is 9 a.m. St. Nicholas Landmark also will host the Krampus Christmas Market from noon to 4 p.m., and Beers with Santa and Krampus from 2-4 p.m. For details, call (618) 521-5813.
On Sunday, The Manor at Craig Farms will be distributing Gingerbread Making Kits from 1-2 p.m. Drive on through and help keep their Christmas tradition going at 3030 State St.
All of the Christmas on the River events are subject to change or cancellation. For more, visit chesterill.com or follow Christmas on the River on Facebook, @christmasinrivercity.
Once again, Chester will be lining the main roads of Evergreen Cemetery with Signs of Remembrance for the holiday season. Residents are invited to remember loved ones or friends with their own sign. The name is on a frame and placed along the road inside the cemetery. Signs will remain up through December.
The cost of a new sign is $20. If you have placed a sign previously and the sign is in good condition, the cost is $10.
To order a sign, call Teri Crum at (618-826-5114 or 618-826-2326.