Seasonal Sights and Sounds

Welcoming the Holiday Season in downtown Sterling

In partnership with our friends at the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, Seasonal Sights & Sounds is our our kick off to the holiday season in Downtown Sterling! The downtown Christmas Walk is held annually on the 1st Friday of December.

Friday, December 1, 2023

While planning is still underway, the festivities begin at 5 PM for late night shopping, tree lighting, horse & carriage rides, fireworks, entertainment, kids activities & more!

Timeline of Activities:

Watch Santa’s arrival on Locust Street beginning at 5:15 PM followed by the official lighting of the Library Plaza Christmas Tree at 5:30 PM at Locust & 4th Streets, across from the Sterling Theater.

Enjoy holiday music provided by 3D Sound.

Horse & Carriage rides throughout the downtown will be available immediately following the tree lighting until 7:30 PM.  Pick-up and Drop-off are will be in the municipal parking lot behind Grummert’s Hardware.

Santa’s Workshop full of FREE Children’s Activities opens immediately following the Tree Lighting and continues until 7:30 PM.  Santa’s Workshop will take place on 4th Street between 1st Avenue & Locust Street, alongside the Sterling Theater. Get your photo taken and visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus while you are there!

Santa’s Workshop games and activities provided by:  Community State Bank, Sterling Public Library, NCCHS National Honor Society, TriCounty Opportunity Council,LifeScapes, LSSI, WCHCP, Home of Hope, Woodlawn Arts Academy, RFHS Jr. Optimists, Sauk Valley Bank, Center for Youth and Family Solutions, Dave’s Coffeee Cakes, Toys for Tots, Amazing Grace, Cornerstone Credit Union, Salvation Army, Sinnissippi Centers, Abiding Word Church, Genessee Hillbillies 4H, Sterling Rock Falls Family YMCA, ROE #47, SHS Student Council, Surf Internet and 7Brew.

Special Thanks to the Sterling Fire Department for the lighting!!

Inflatable Wonderland Selfie Stations

Wander Dale Park and explore a variety of Holiday Inflatables and our giant lit peace sign, perfect for capturing some shareable selfies for the season! Dale Park is a great spot to watch the fireworks from as well!

Dale Park Entertainment:

  • Washington Elementary 5th graders to perform following the tree lighting
  • Join the YMCA at 6:15 for a short Holiday Fitness program!
Our Downtown Merchants will be Open Late for shopping & dining specials throughout the evening!
Find all the happenings…

Fireworks will light up the sky over the Downtown Riverfront to end the evening at 8:00 PM.


Other Holiday Happenings

Annual Healthy & Bright Holiday Lighting

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 @ 5:30 PM
at CGH Main Clinic Lobby

Join us for the 10th Annual Holiday Lighting – Live event!  Featuring the Sterling High School Madrigals and refreshments.

Event begins at 5:30. The ceremonial lighting takes place at 5:45.

Sponsored by the CGH Auxiliary.

Bright Light for Bright Memories – the CGH Auxiliary invites you to recognize those who make our lives a brighter place. For any donation amount, the names of loved ones will be shown during CGH’s annual holiday lighting ceremony. Visit for more information.

In Honor or Memory – this year, the lights are also in honor and memory of the COVID patients we loved and lost in our community and around the world; the healthcare workers; first responders; and all those who were deeply touched by the pandemic.


Community Concert

Thursday, November 30, 2023 @ 7 :00 PM

The Big Red Church plays host to this holiday tradition the Thursday before our Christmas Walk.  Join us for this FREE evening of music provide by local talent, great fellowship and a great array of treats.


Join the fun of the treasure hunt! Follow the clues each week to locate where the boxes are each day, scan the QR code and register to win weekly drawings or the GRAND PRIZE!

Click here for more details

Ugly Sweater Party

Thursday, December 7th – Doors Open at 6pm for the festivities then Movie begins at 7pm

Hosted by the Sterling Theater
Featuring “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Ugly Sweater Contest, Door Prizes & Drink Specials!

Get your tickets online at Sterling Theater Ticketing Website



12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl

Saturday, December 9th – with various stops in Sterling & Rock Falls.  Proceeds benefit April House.


Thank you to those who have committed support for our 2023 Holiday Activities! 


McCloud + Associates Architecture
Lundstrom Florist
Midland States Bank
Martin & Co.
Showplace Antiques & Treasures
Illinois American Water
Castor Home Medical Supply


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