Shop, Drop and Roll in Marion County

Snow is in the air, with a faint smell of cinnamon and ginger. Wreaths on every corner, lights on every post. Carols and cocoa, Santa and sleigh bells. Everyone is welcome to share in the feast and the fun. It’s not only snow, but spirit in the air. There’s nothing like Christmas in Marion.

Christmas season begins as soon as the turkey is digested!

Start the season by first taking your friends and family to Morris Park for scene after scene of lightscapes.The Celebration of Lights will have you driving through 200 displays of animated Christmas lights lining every rock, and tree, and creature (whatever will stand still, anyway).

Or, you can walk the park bundled up with a tumbler of hot cocoa and your dog at your side. (Unless your dog prefers to drive that is.) Pick from two walking days, Dec. 1 or 11. 

Think of friends and family on… Black Friday at Heston Farm

Plan your entire Black Friday shopping around sales and food! Get to Heston Farm, shop their store and winery, get some lunch, maybe some whiskey. After a full night and morning of Black Friday shopping, you’re going to need it.

When the day is finally done and you have shopped until you’ve forgotten the reason for the season, relax that evening at Heston Farm.

Nobody roasts chestnuts on an open fire anymore. But it’s the holiday season, there must be an open fire at some point! Heston Farm is taking this tradition and spinning it for the contemporary. Instead of chestnuts, how about s’mores?

Not enough to get you in the holiday spirit? You can ring in the holidays or wouldn’t you rather sing them in? Heston Farm with have Carolers with The Vintage Theatre Company. S’mores, live Christmas spirit, and a beautiful lighted drive on the way. 

Think of community on… Small Business Saturday.

Obviously, Marion County has some smaller towns. So yeah, we’ve got small businesses for sure.

Now that the shopping is complete, it’s time to make it official! Take a stroll downtown to watch the Holiday Parade through Fairmont. Floats, mittens, hand warmers, candy and Santa- there’s nothing more official than this!


And once all your holiday shopping is finished, get some fresh air in those lungs. Ice skating at Palatine Park Dec 1-6; the winter air, the river, the fight to remain vertical. It’s all part of the holidays. 

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Take a step back in time when you tour Prickett’s Fort during the holidays.  The 18th Century Christmas Market is an indoor market of gifts for all your family. From hand made scarves to hunting knives, beautiful silver and massive guns. You’ve got more than enough to choose from. 

And Heston Farm keeps the spirit alive all month long! Have tea with Mrs. Claus and/or Brunch with Santa. Think of it… delicious Foxfire food, farm wine and the quintessential holiday characters. By characters I mean the real and certainly non-imaginary architects of the entire Christmas season!

But  the event of the season- aside from Christmas- is always…download (1)

The Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival; an old Italian Christmas Eve celebration.

Italian or not, tease your culinary senses during the Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival.  Learn the history behind this timed-honored Christmas Eve tradition by living it yourself! An outdoor market, community, fish, non-stop cooking and lots Christmas music. Sample dishes, buy food, learn how to make it! Learn? Chefs will teach the masses how to make delectable dishes like Cured Salmon, Arancini, Lemon Pepper Pasta with Shrimp Cream Sauce, and don’t forget dessert! Donna’s Orange Cookies

Not sure if this is your scene? If it’s a feast fit for the Food Network, it’s a feast fit for you!

Didn’t get your fill of desserts – make your way to the Fleming Mansion where the GFWC Woman’s Club will host Tea with a Twist.  Be sure to make your reservation in advance – so they don’t run out of cookies!We honor every bit of heritage, tradition and meaning of the season! Attend the outdoor mass to celebrate the Reason for the Season. 

Can’t fit all these events in your schedule? Check out to see all the dates each one has to offer!

And then… it’s Christmas!

LeahBlog written by Leah Nestor