Holiday events are returning this weekend to downtown Aurora with all the trimmings.
Hosted by the city and Aurora Downtown, Winter Lights 2021 will feature a kickoff parade and fireworks display, photos with Santa, live music, food trucks and shopping.
The festivities, centered on Downer Place and Stolp Avenue downtown, will begin Friday night.
A Winter Lights parade will step off at 6:30 p.m. on Downer Place and continue from Water Street to River Street. Leading the parade will be Little Mr. Aurora Peter Schmidt and Little Miss Aurora Romina Esparza, along with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
After the parade, a community countdown will celebrate the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree at the GAR Memorial Museum, 23 E. Downer Place.
Fireworks sponsored by Chicago Premium Outlets will launch following the tree-lighting ceremony. The city says the best viewing location will be on the East Downer Place Bridge near Aurora City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place.
After the fireworks, free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Wyckwood House, 14 W. Downer Place. Masks are required to enter but can be removed briefly for photos.
Downtown visitors can shop with local vendors for holiday gifts at the indoor Winter Lights Winter Market at the Artesan Lofts gallery, 2 S. Stolp Ave., from 6 to 9 p.m.
Food trucks also will pull up to Stolp Avenue between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard.