A list of wintertime activities and events throughout the Illinois Valley
While the warmer months of the year are when the majority of local activities are held, there are still plenty of ways to get yourself out of the house so the dreaded "cabin fever" is avoided during the winter of 2018-19.
The following list is comprised of a variety of activities and events being held throughout the Illinois Valley and is not intended to be comprehensive.
Jan. 3 – The Starved Rock Walkers Club will meet in the lobby of Starved Rock Lodge and depart at 9 a.m. Meeting regularly each Thursday, this group will typically hike for about two to three hours, depending on their destination. Each week follows a different path, and over a 4-month period, the entire park is covered. For more information, visit www.starvedrocklodge.com.
Jan. 4 – Beginning at 6 p.m., Princeton’s First Friday Night On The Town shopping events are held the first Friday of every month. They offer opportunities to sample wines, visit a bakery and enjoy a variety of sales and specials from local merchants. Food, live music and more are also a part of the evenings when possible.
Jan. 6 – The Starved Rock Bridal Expo will offer engaged couples the opportunity to sample dinners and wedding cakes, see floral displays, meet wedding planners and DJs and also review photographer portfolios. For more information, visit www.starvedrocklodge.com.
Jan. 10 – The IVCC Women’s Basketball Team will host Sauk Valley Community College at 5:30 p.m. in the gymnasium on the Oglesby campus. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $2 for students and free for IVCC students with ID. Visit www.ivcc.edu for more information.
Feb. 8 – Festival 56 will present its first performance of “Love Letters” at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton’s Grace Performing Arts Center at 316 S. Main St. This play focuses on the correspondence that began between childhood friends and continued throughout their lifetimes. Tickets are $29 for adults, $26 for adults older than 65, and $14 for students. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 815-879-5656, online at www.festival56.com, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 17 – Starved Rock State Park will host information about sled dogs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that will be presented by Free Siberian Rescue members. Seminars will take place in the LaSalle Room at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The outdoor demonstrations will take place in the northwest corner of the Visitor Center Parking Lot at 9:30 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.starvedrocklodge.com or www.huskyrescue.org.
The Illinois Valley Quilters Guild will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Epworth United Methodist church in Ottawa. This group’s meetings welcome interested members of the public and often include speakers, workshops, contests and more. Visit www.ivquiltguild.com for more information.
IVCC will host its Edible Car contest at noon in the campus cafeteria. This annual competition has college engineering students and high school STEM teams racing their foodie Formula One creations down a precision ramp in a fun attempt to not only be the fastest, but to also be durable enough to not break into bite-sized pieces. Visit www.ivcc.edu.com.
The Hoo Haven Wildlife and Education Center will host informational presentations on owls in the LaSalle Room of Starved Rock Lodge each day at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. These programs will feature live birds, and registration is required. Admission will be $5 for adults, and $3 for children 10 and younger. To register or for more information, visit www.starvedrocklodge.com/events or www.hoohaven.org.
An evening of music will be provided during the Wind Ensemble concert held tonight from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at IVCC’s Cultural Centre. The evening will be free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.ivcc.edu.
Each Friday, North Utica’s August Hill Winery hosts its Bubbly Friday events from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 106 Mill St. A flight of three wines of your choosing can be enjoyed with a $5 discount, and a glass of sparkling wine can be had for $6. Live music can be heard from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, visit www.augusthillwinery.com.
A fishing tournament on the Illinois River at the Spring Valley Boat Club will have competitors angling for the biggest sauger, walleye and sauger/walleye hybrids. The tournament is limited to 100 boats and will be open to the public. For more information, visit www.ifishillinois.org or www.svboatclub.com.