Holidays Happen Early During November in Chicago

This weekend’s Wisch List newspaper column from The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …


By Dave Wischnowsky

Now that you’ve recovered from your Halloween sugar coma – or perhaps are still caught up in the throes of it – it’s time to start planning for your Thanksgiving turkey coma.

And your Christmas cookie coma after that.

Welcome to November, when the holidays come fast and furious and seem to be everywhere all at once. That goes double in Chicago, where the city this month offers a full array of revelry designed to instill with the holiday spirit – or, in some cases, holiday spirits.

Nov. 8-9: Beer Hoptacular in Pilsen

Craft breweries hailing from Lousiana (Abita) to Boston (Angry Orchard) and from Michigan (Bell’s) to Colorado (Left Hand) along with many points both between and beyond will descend upon Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood next weekend for the fourth annual Beer Hoptacular.

Plenty of local breweries will be present, too, including BrickStone in Bourbonnais. This year’s Hoptacular is held at Lacuna Artist Loft Studios at 2150 S. Canalport Ave. For tickets and more information, visit

Nov. 15 to Jan. 15: Christmas Around the World & Holiday of Light

It began at the Museum of Science & Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive) since 1942, when a single tree was dedicated to the Allies of World War II. But today, the Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light tradition is much bigger.


The museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree will again takes center stage in the Rotunda with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments. Surrounding it will be more than 50 smaller trees representing global cultures and their holiday traditions. For more information, visit

Nov. 23: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

As the city’s official kickoff to the holiday season, the Festival includes a wide array of family-friendly activities – and, of course, shopping – along the Mag Mile.

Festivities begin in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) at 11 a.m. and last until the 5:30 p.m. Parade of Lights when a tree-lighting procession is marshaled by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. At 7 p.m., after the parade, fireworks will light up the sky over the Chicago River.

Nov. 23: Bacon, Sports & Beer Celebration

If the name doesn’t grab a guy’s attention, I’m not sure what will. Described as a combination “more fantastic than a break dancing unicorn,” the Bacon, Sports & Beer Celebration will take over the Great Hall at Union Station (500 W. Jackson St.) from 2 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 23.

A ticket earns you access to samples of bacon-inspired creations from more than 30 restaurants and beer samples from more than 30 craft breweries. Attendees are asked to don their favorite sports jersey or attire for the occasion. Learn more at

Nov. 26: Daley Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Nothing says Christmas – a month ahead of time – like Chicago’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza. This year, the event begins at 4:30 p.m. with live performances and music leading up to 5 p.m. when the switch is flipped and the tree begins to twinkle.

Beginning Nov. 27, Santa Claus will be present in Daley Plaza from 6 to 8 p.m., with special hours on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Then, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, Santa’s House will be open every Friday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

During Christmas week, Dec. 21-23, Santa’s hours will run daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Nov. 26 also marks the opening of Christkindlmarket, Chicago’s largest open-air Christmas festival, in Daley Palza. The fest, which runs through Dec. 24, includes European arts and crafts, as well as brats, spiced wine and more. Visit for more information.

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