The city of Peoria is reimagining its holiday celebrations this year.
Less than three weeks after canceling the 33rd annual Old Town Holiday Festival, slated for Saturday, Dec. 12, due to coronavirus safety precautions, the city on Nov. 23 announced it will present a new approach to safely include the Old Town Holiday Lights and Peoria Jolly Holly Days in a new presentation.
Beginning Friday, Dec. 4, Peoria residents will have the opportunity to enjoy holiday decorations, a scavenger hunt, a Christmas tree decoration contest for local businesses, and more in a safe and physically distanced way.
“This year, we created an environment for residents to experience the magical spirit of the season in an up close and personal way,” Mayor Cathy Carlat stated in a news release. “With music playing outdoors, small theater performances, and plenty of opportunities to capture memorable moments among holiday lights, we hope families wander around, enjoying the warmth of the season while making new and everlasting memories.”
Kicking off the festivities is the Old Town Holiday Lights.
Starting Dec. 4, Osuna Park, 10510 N. 83rd Ave., will be adorned in lights, oversized decorations, and a large Christmas tree with lights synced to a music show. Throughout the month, there will be small music concerts on the plaza outside of the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA), 10580 N. 83rd Drive, and “A Curiouser Nutcracker” performances occurring in the PCPA, presented by the resident company TheaterWorks.
Residents are encouraged to stroll through the park, to take holiday pictures or selfies, listen to music and stay physically distanced. The decorations and lights will be up until Jan. 1.
“We are happy to be able to offer residents a safe way to experience holiday festivities throughout Peoria all month long,” arts and events manager Marylou Stephens stated.
In addition, the city of Peoria is hosting a holiday scavenger hunt and partnering with the Peoria Chamber of Commerce for a tree-decorating contest involving local Peoria businesses for the Jolly Holly Days.
For the scavenger hunt, residents must locate a minimum of five wreaths with blue ribbons hanging in local businesses throughout Peoria. Then, they can download the scavenger hunt form at peoriaaz.gov/events, fill it out and turn it in at either the Peoria Main Library, 8463 W. Monroe St., or Sunrise Mountain Library, 21109 N. 98th Ave.
Participants will get a free holiday book while supplies last and be entered to win one of several prizes, including two free nights at Cibola Resort and Spa, and a gift card to Cantina Gueros. Each library will also have six trees on display that will be decorated by Peoria businesses, for a total of 12, in which residents can vote on the ones they like the best. The business with the tree that is voted as the best will receive a $500 prize.