Seasonal Sights and Sounds

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


2022 Event Highlights are below:

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.

Visit the Salvation Army Cantina for Hot Cocoa and enjoy holiday music provided by 3D Sound.

Horse & Carriage rides throughout the downtown will be available from 5:30 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:  Santa’s Workshop games and activities provided by: Christ Lutheran School Boosters, NCCHS National Honor Society, Sterling Public Library, RFHS Junior Optimist Club, Sterling High School Student Council, Sterling High School Intro to Education, Woodlawn Arts Academy, YWCA of the Sauk Valley, Moose Lodge, ROE #47, Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA, SHS Key Club, United Country Realty, LSSI, Genesee Hillbillies/4H, NICIL, Renewal by Anderson, DD Homes, NAMI, Amazing Grace, Surf Internet, Center for Youth and Family Solutions, ServePro, Sauk Valley Bank, Dave’s Coffee Cake

With 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!

Late night shopping & dining options throughout the evening!
  • 3 Twelve
  • Air Play Espresso & Bakery
  • Bella Vita Hair Designs
  • Build-A-Pet Clubhouse
  • The Big Red Church
  • Brink’s
  • Country Financial | Curt Repass
  • Fringe + Co. Western Boutique
  • Grummert’s Hardware
  • Lisa’s Brickhouse
  • Lucky Lucy’s
  • Merle Norman
  • Midland States Bank
  • NASOS Beauty Supply & Boutique
  • NASOS Salon
  • Primitive Frills
  • Showplace Antiques
  • Sole Statement
  • Sterling Federal Bank
  • Sterling Main Street
  • Sterling Theater
  • The Precinct
  • The Rusty Fox
  • UOI Boutique
  • West End Moxie
Fireworks will light up the sky over the Downtown Riverfront to end the evening at 8:00 PM.

Find all the happenings…


Other Holiday Happenings

Annual Healthy & Bright Virtual Holiday Lighting

Courtesy of CGH Medical Center


Community Concert

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.


Ugly Sweater Party

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

Ugly Sweater Contest, Door Prizes & Drink Specials!



12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl

Early December with various stops in Sterling & Rock Falls.  Proceeds benefit April House.


Thank you to those who have committed support for our 2022 Holiday Activities!  


Illinois American Water

Rock Falls Tourism

Lundstrom Florist
Midland States Bank
PC Tech 2U
Showplace Antiques & Treasures
The Caring Center
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