Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

It’s true when they say the holiday season starts immediately after Halloween! Our November calendar is set with activities and events to get us ready for the holidays, whether or not you’re ready for it! Experience Champaign-Urbana shares some great ideas.

Local Arts & Crafts Shopping

November is full of fairs to get you shopping local, supporting our artists and makers. One of the first stops you can hit is the Winter Farmers Market which kicks off this Saturday at Lincoln Square Mall. You’ll still be able to pick up seasonal ingredients from our area farmers plus plenty of gift items to start your holiday shopping. More opportunities open up every weekend this month with the 40th Annual Art Fair from the CU Craft League, also this weekend, November 4–5 at Savoy Rec Center with dozens of local artists with everything from pottery to jewelry to paintings! The weekend before Thanksgiving, November 18–19, the massive Gifford Community Christmas Craft Show returns to Gordyville with everything you could possibly need. We’re also very excited to see the Christmas Market, a traditional German Market, return to Riggs Beer Company every weekend following Thanksgiving.

Holiday-Themed Events

Start in Arthur for their Christmas Open Houses happening November 11. Visit the many downtown businesses to start your holiday shopping. The Junior League of Champaign-Urbana is thrilled to bring back their Festival of Trees, November 18–19, at the I Hotel & Conference Center. You can get inspired by the many trees and wreaths they’ll have on site which you can also bid on to take home. They’ll also have storytime with Santa & Mrs. Claus as well as photo opportunities. Finally, the big Parade of Lights returns to downtown Champaign on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Before the parade steps off at 6pm, you can enjoy a carriage ride around downtown and get pictures with Santa. Stay for the parade and the tree lighting at One Main Plaza!

Staying Active

If you’re at all like me, you enjoy a Christmas cookie or two this time of year so getting so exercise in is always a good thing this time of year. The Urbana Park District brings back their popular 56th Annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Head out to Crystal Lake Park for a one-mile run or walk before you settle in for turkey later in the day. The Champaign Park District opens their lighted walk at Prairie Farm Thanksgiving weekend. You can take part in Winter Nights at Prairie Farm every Thursday–Sunday from Thanksgiving through the end of the year with an accessible light display. Finally, Allerton Park & Retreat Center brings back their GLOW walk on December 1, kicking off during their Holiday Showcase. You can wander the various gardens and see stunning displays of lights. Bring your own cocoa as you wander the area.

If you’re not in the holiday mood, there’s still plenty going on. With Illini Basketball back in action, you can get decked out in your orange & blue to cheer on our men’s & women’s teams. Check out our calendar of events for everything taking place.