old town holiday lights

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Peoria has reimagined the holiday celebrations this year to include the Old Town Holiday Lights and Peoria Jolly Holly Days.

Beginning Friday, Dec. 4, the city offers residents 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,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat. “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 Saturday, Dec. 4, Osuna Park will have lights, 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 and “A Curiouser Nutcracker” performances occurring in the PCPA, presented by the resident company TheaterWorks.

“We are happy to be able to offer residents a safe way to experience holiday festivities throughout Peoria all month long,” said Marylou Stephens, arts and events manager. 

Residents are encouraged to wear masks and stay physically distanced. The decorations and lights will be up until Jan. 1.

Performers Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5, starting at 6:15 p.m., include Micah Bentley, Trisha Ditsworth, Matravius Avent, Steve McCarvel and Barry Smith.

The city also 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 Peoria 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 on peoriaaz.gov/events, fill it out and turn it in at either the Peoria Main Library or Sunrise Mountain Library. 

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. 

For more information, visit peoriaaz.gov/events.