Festival of Lights returns to East Peoria

The drive-through display opens Thanksgiving night (Nov, 24) and will be open every night through Monday, Jan. 2. (Photo courtesy of East Peoria Festival of Lights)

The 38th annual East Peoria Festival of Lights will be held from Thursday, Nov. 24 through Monday, Jan. 2, 2023.

The festival begins with the Parade of Lights, which will take place on on Saturday, Nov. 19 and continues through the month of December with the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display.

Lighted floats will glide along East Peoria’s streets during the parade, which starts at 5:45 p.m. and travels along an approximately two-mile route.

The Festival’s mascot is the wooden soldier Folepi, whose name serves as an acronym for “Festival of Lights, East Peoria, Illinois.”

The lighted display is located at 123 Par 3 Lane, East Peoria (in VFW Post 2078 Park off Springfield Road).

The drive-through display opens Thanksgiving night (Nov, 24) and will be open every night through Monday, Jan. 2.  Hours are 5 – 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 5 – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 – 9 p.m. Dec. 24 through Jan. 2

Tune your vehicle’s radio to 88.1 FM for holiday music to accompany your drive.

Wait times on Friday and Saturday nights can be very extremely long, at times over three hours. The festival gets 250 cars an hour through the display, and traffic comes in from four directions. If you visit on Friday and Saturday, expect that you will be in a very long line and plan accordingly. If at all possible, come to the display Sunday through Thursday night.

Admission is paid at the entrance booth. Visitors can use cash, credit cards and debit cards. Admission tickets are not sold online.  Admissions cost is $10 for regular vehicles (cars, trucks and vans), $30 for a small bus (mini, party, shuttle, school, RV and limousine) and $150 for a full-size charter motorcoach.

The 32nd FOLEPI River Trail Classic is a 4-mile competitive run will be held on Saturday, Nov. 26 starting at 9 a.m.  It also includes a 2-mile non-competitive walk starting at 8:30 a.m. Awards are presented to the top three overall male and female finishers in each age division in the competitive run. A post-race party at Mickie’s Pizzeria follows the event.

Breakfast and Photos with Santa, a Festival of Lights event benefitting East Peoria St. Jude Runs., will be held on  Saturday, Dec. 3 at Quail Meadows Golf Course clubhouse. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The event features a pancake breakfast and goodie bags for the kids. Those attending can choose from three time slots: 8-9 a.m., 9-10 a.m., and 10-11 a.m. Those attending should bring their own camera.

Cost is free for kids up to age 2; $5 for ages 3-12, and $10 for ages 13 and older including adults. There is no charge for adults not eating breakfast.

You can register online or download the registration form. Visit https://bit.ly/FOL-Breakfast-Photos-with-Santa to register.

For more information on all of these events, go to https://www.cityofeastpeoria.com/588/Festival-of-Lights and https://www.facebook.com/EPFestivalofLights/.