Seasonal Sights & Sounds

Celebrating 25 Years of

Downtown Christmas Walk

Friday, November 30th – 5 PM til Late!


5 PM – Festivities begin with businesses open late throughout the downtown and music fills the streets courtesy of 3D Sound

5:00-8:30 SANTA’S WORKSHOP – Located in the 1st Avenue Parking Lot behind Grummert’s, Mead’s & the Sterling Theater 
• Area non-profits and service groups will provide a wide variety of children’s activities and games. FREE!
• Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus (Santa arrives at 6:15, following the tree lighting)
• Live entertainment schedule (details to come)

Games & Activities provided by:   Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA, United Way of Whiteside County, Univ. of Illinois Extension-4H, DD Homes, LSSI, Marigold Club, NICIL, Newman HS, Challand MS, Big Brother-Big Sisters, Woodlawn Arts Academy|Woodlawn Wood Shop, Tri-County Opportunities Council, April House, YWCA of the Sauk Valley, Salvation Army, Verifacts, Lions Club, RFHS Junior Optimists, SHS Latino Club, Focus Services

5:00-8:30 SIGHTS & SOUNDS MAKERS MARKET at the Big Red Church
• Shop with a wide array of artists and crafters
• Check out the CLS Cookie Walk and avoid your holiday baking – They’ve got you covered!

6 PM – TREE LIGHTING – Watch as Santa arrives and we have the official tree lighting at the Library Plaza Christmas Tree, and watch as the theater lights change over for the holidays!

6:30-8:30 PM – LIVE ICE SCULPTING DEMO at Santa’s Workshop
Blocks of ice are transformed into fun Holiday Sculptures right before your eyes!

Music, Music, Music!

3D Sound will be filling the downtown with Holiday Music.  The Sterling High School Madrigals and Spontaneous Combustion (barbershop quartet), will be wandering in and out of businesses throughout the night spreading Holiday Cheer!

Participating Businesses

Air Play Espresso & Microbakery
Open late, Open-Mic Night, along with a free sugar cookie for kids, or with a beverage purchase for adults.

Beans Coffeehouse & Music Cafe’
Live Christmas Music with Ken VonHolten; Free cup of coffee & cookie 5-10PM

Bella Vita Hair Design
Holiday Open House – 25% Off all salon products, sign up to win gift basket and service discounts.

The Big Red Church
Makers Market, CLS Cookie Walk and Tours of this Historical Church

Champs on Light Street
Cocoa & Candy and Live entertainment!

Corner Gallery
Holiday Open House from 3-7PM

Depot Bar + Grill

Edward Jones | Jim McPherson
Holiday Open House from 4:30-6:30 PM

The Factory Pub & Grub
Wind down the evening with Music & Martinis.  Alex Fischbach performs from 8-11PM

Grummert’s Hardware

JJM Printing


Lisa’s Brickhouse

The Little Chocolatier

Manny’s Pizza & Tacos
Food & Drink specials – Sign up for Door Prizes!

Massage Works
For every retail purchase be entered into at $200 bareMinerals shopping spree. Drawing held on Saturday, December 1

Mead’s Bike Shop

Merle Norman
Holiday Open House – 10% off all Merle and Clarisonics; Cookies & Cider

Midland States Bank

Photo Booth, Facepainting and Refreshments

The Precinct

Primitive Frills
Get a sneak peek at their new EXPANDED LOCATION!  Make & Take craft projects, Treats and Door Prizes

The Rusty Fox

Live Blacksmithing demonstration by Stan Brandon, the String-a-Longs dulcimer group performs

Showplace Antiques & Treasures

Smoked on 3rd BBQ Bistro

Sterling Fire Department
Open House, Cookies & Coffee

Sterling Theater

UOI Boutique | UOI+
Enjoy 20% of regularly priced merchandise, Sips & Sweets!

Warner’s MVP Lounge
Cookies & Cocoa and Christmas ornament/craft project for kids.  Egg Nog Martini drink special.


Downtown a Walking Guide (printable on 8.5″ X 14″ paper)



We’ll be kicking off the “Selfies with Santa” Scavenger Hunt as well!   Santas will be scattered throughout the Sauk Valley this holiday season!  Find them. Share them.  Win.

Beginning with our November 30th Christmas Walk through December 19th explore downtown Sterling – and beyond – and find all the Santas!

Post your Selfie with Santa on social media (Facebook and/or Instagram) with the hashtag #selfieswithsanta, Tag Sterling Main Street and the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and be entered to win a host of great prizes! One entry for every selfie posted!

Winners will be drawn during the December 20th Business After Hours event – watch for our Facebook LIVE video during that time to see if you win!

The Santa hunt begins Friday November 30th at

FRANTZ Manufacturing Company
Sauk Valley Bank-Downtown Sterling location
Sterling Federal Bank
Hawkins-Cassens Insurance LLC
Roy Dern State Farm Insurance
SBM Business Equipment Center
Smoked on 3rd – BBQ Bistro & Catering Company
Sterling Public Library
Midland States Bank – Downtown Sterling Location
Midland States Band – Rock Falls Location
Jim Prescott’s BBQ Shop
Morningside of Sterling
JJM Printing
Merle Norman
Shoe Sensation
Primitive Frills
CGH Medical Center – Main Hospital
CGH Medical Center – Main Clinic
CGH Vision Center
UOI Boutique
Massage Works by Becky Murray
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Pizza Ranch
Sterling Rock Falls Family YMCA
YWCA of the Sauk Valley
Sauk Valley Community College
The Little Chocolatier
Cricket Wireless
Buffalo Wild Wings
Bella Vita Hair Design
Champs on Light Street
The Factory Pub-n-Grub
House in the Country
Candlelight Inn-Sterling
Candlelight Inn-Rock Falls
Educators of Beauty
Re/Max Sauk Valley
Mead’s Bike Shop
Sterling Theater
Sterling Main Street
Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce

Click HERE for a printable list of Selfies with Santa Locations!


Additional Sights and Sounds Activities

Saturday, November 17 | 1 PM

Parade begins in Sterling near the Grandon Civic Center and ends at Merrill School in Rock Falls.

Parade Registration Form

Thursday, November 29 | 7 PM
Big Red Church
311 2nd Avenue, Sterling, IL

Join us for this FREE annual Community Concert held on the Thursday after Thanksgiving at 7:00 PM at the Big Red Church (First Congregational) at the corner of 2nd Avenue & 4th Street in Downtown Sterling.

This free concert features performances by individuals, small groups, churches and organizations from throughout the community. Enjoy refreshments after the program.

If you would like to take part in the Community Concert, please contact Janet at the Big Red Church at 815-625-5112 for more information.

Thursday, December 6 | 6 PM
Sterling Theater
402 Locust Street, Sterling, IL

This Holiday Tradition at the Sterling Theater continues!   Come dressed in your craziest holiday best for a special showing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”




And Even More!

November 10-18 | Rock River Hospice & Home’s annual “Festival of Trees” @ Northland Mall | Visit WEBSITE for details.

Tuesday, November 13 @ 5 PM | “Healthy & Bright” Holiday Lights & Art Show @ CGH Medical Center

Saturday, November 17 @ 1 PM | Twin Cities Holiday Parade

Saturday, November 17 @ 6:30 PM | Woodlawn Arts Academy present “The Nutcracker” @ Centennial Auditorium

Sunday, November 18 @ 2 PM | Woodlawn Arts Academy present “The Nutcracker” @ Centennial Auditorium

Saturday, November 24 | Small Business Saturday throughout the Sauk Valley

Thursday, November 29 @ 7 PM | Community Concert @ The Big Red Church

Saturday, December 1 8-11 AM  | Sterling Kiwanis’ Breakfast with Santa at the Moose Lodge. $3 suggested donation at the door; funds raised fund scholarships for local high school graduates.

Saturday, December 1 | Festival of Trees Gala @ Deer Valley Country Club

December 4-5-6 @ 7 PM | Sterling High School Madrigal Dinner @ Bethel Reformed Church.  Reservations required.  Click HERE

Thursday, December 6 @ 6 PM | Ugly Sweater Party featuring “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” @ the Sterling Theater

Friday, December 7 @ 7 PM | “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” – FREE Performance of this holiday classic at First Presbyterian Church.

December 7-8-9 | Dillon Home Museum Christmas Walk | Visit WEBSITE for times & details.

Saturday, December 8 | 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl | Visit FACEBOOK for more details.



Thank you to our Sights and Sounds Sponsors!

Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available, visit our PARTNERS page for details on how you can provide support.  Thank you to those who have already signed on to help make 2018 our biggest and best Sights & Sounds yet!

Illinois American Water

1st Gateway Credit Union

Select Employees Credit Union

McCormick’s Nursery & Landscaping

SBM Business Equipment Center

RRCA Accounts Management

Royal Steel Ball Products


Sterling Alderman Candidate Dasan Klingenberg

Additional support for Seasonal Sights & Sounds is provided by the Sterling-Rock Falls Community Trust and the proceeds of our Sip into Fall event. 


Do you have a Holiday Happening that’s open to the public and not seeing it on our list, or want more information on how to take part in the above?  Contact Sterling Main Street at 815-626-8610 or the Sauk Valley Area Chamber at 815-625-2400.