After the turkey was carved and the leftovers put away, folks readied themselves for the holiday season with a festive long weekend in downtown Morris.
The annual Home for the Holidays event, sponsored by the Morris Downtown Development Partnership (MDDP), was another success in 2019, with droves of visitors coming into downtown to shop, visit with Santa, and marvel at the decorated historic streetscape.
On Friday, folks lined up in front of the Grundy County Courthouse and along Liberty Street awaiting the annual Holiday Lighted Parade, which stepped off at 5:30 p.m. The parade featured several unique floats, each adorned with lights that glowed through the trek from the Courthouse to Chapin Park.
“It’s just a fun time to be out with the family,” one dad said as his children cheered excitedly for Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The parade kicked off with Morris Police Department and Fire Department vehicles running along Liberty Street with flashing lights on, and concluded with Santa as he waved to the crowd. Parade goers walked the streets behind Santa all the way to Chapin Park for the tree lighting, followed by a visit with the Jolly Old Elf.
In addition to the parade and downtown shopping, the weekend was packed with activities for everyone.
Families snuggled in to enjoy an old fashioned horse carriage ride through historic downtown Morris on Friday evening before and after the parade.
Children also got to enjoy a visit with Santa and his reindeer on Saturday.
Saturday was also host to the annual Home for the Holidays House Walk. This year, four unique homes were featured on the walk, each showing off their unique style and warm holiday decor.
At Bethlehem Lutheran Church, visitors enjoyed this year’s Christmas Tea, with the theme “Make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord!” Tea included cookies, kringla, cookie bars and more.
Meanwhile, at the Grundy County Historical Society Museum, the displays were covered with more than 165 items as part of the Festival of Trees fundraiser event.
In addition to a wide array of trees of all sizes and holiday wreaths, there were also auction items available including signed jerseys from Blackhawks and Bears players, decor, and gift baskets.
Several local businesses stayed open later than usual for Black Friday, followed by special hours on Small Business Saturday. The MDDP has more holiday events planned for downtown as Christmas draws near.
Midnight in Morris takes place on Friday, Dec. 6, where downtown retailers stay open until midnight and offer great specials throughout the night.
The MDDP will also host an evening with Santa on Dec. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Morris Santa House next to the Grundy County Sheriff’s west parking lot on Illinois Avenue.
This year’s theme is “Christmas is for the Kid in All of Us.” Along with hot drinks served up by the Morris Lions, Santa will hand out prizes to the first 300 kids, and will take pictures with everyone inside the Santa House.
Immaculate Conception School Carolers will entertain, and picnic tables and fire pits will be set up.