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DARIEN TOWNSHIP -- Finding joy and comfort during the holiday season can be as simple as sitting down to a home-cooked meal with loved ones or decorating the tree as a family. However, for some in Rock and Walworth counties, the delight that comes with the Christmas season isn’t to be had so easily.

BELOIT -- After many years of hosting the Holiday Spectacular as the Beloit Janesville Symphony, the tradition will continue on, but the organization will be offering the performance this year under its new name -- The Rock River Philharmonic.

Thanksgiving is behind us, but the holiday season is just starting. For many of us, that means long shopping trips to load up on gifts, but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play.

There is no better way to ring in the holiday season than to get out and experience events going on throughout the county. Yes, meteorologists agree it will be cold, but this time of year relies on the warmth of family, community and hot chocolate.

These things can be found in abundance at our top five holiday events this year.

1. Christmas Card Town Parade, Dec. 6, Elkhorn

Dec. 6 will be a great opportunity to bundle up the family and grab a spot in downtown Elkhorn to watch the 33rd annual Christmas Card Town Parade beginning at 1:30 p.m.

"It’s a very well attended, community-minded parade," said Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Clapper. "We have Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, softball teams, high school bands, the wacky wheel walker and, of course, we have Santa Claus."

The parade usually averages around 75 entries and takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to run through, Clapper said. Many residents line the streets to see the Christmas floats, novelty acts, music and animals.

"The Lions club is always a hit with their wheelie mobile," Clapper said. "Toe to Toe Ballet have been in since their beginning, and all the 4-H clubs and local churches make an appearance. I like that we always have a very strong presence of our police, fire and county vehicles participating."

The evening prior to the parade, residents have a chance to usher in the holiday with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at Veterans Park. Afterward, all are welcome to warm up at Matheson Memorial Library for the Peoples Bank sponsored Santa and Mrs. Claus reception. Families can enjoy free hot chocolate, cookies, music and crafts while the children wait for their turn to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

For more information, call 262-723-5788 or visit elkhorn-wi.org.

2. Burlington Christmas Parade and Santa Chalet, Dec. 5, Burlington

The 33rd annual Burlington Christmas Parade is a chance for children and parents alike to get out on the historic streets of downtown Burlington to enjoy a holiday extravaganza. The parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and this year’s theme, "Most Loved Christmas Carols," will be evident in the decorations of the parade entries.  

"It’s a very magical occasion and it’s all about the community," said Burlington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jan Ludtke. "After the parade, our Santa Chalet opens. It’s very unique; our Santa Chalet has been going on for as long as anyone can remember and it’s in our downtown park. We also have cookies and hot chocolate there, the reindeer and sled dogs come down (and) there is caroling. There is just all sorts of things going on after the parade in the park."

The parade usually has about 80 entries and takes an hour to wind along the route, Ludtke said.

For more information, call 262-763-6044 or visit burlingtonchamber.org.

3. East Troy Electric Railroad Christmas Express Train, Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, Dec. 13-14, East Troy

The East Troy Electric Railroad’s Christmas Express merrily rides the rails this year as it has for many holiday seasons. The restored Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad cars rattle along for a 10-mile round trip starting at the East Troy Depot, 2002 Church St. in East Troy. The cars will be decorated for the event and will feature caroling, story reading and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. The actual running time is about 45 minutes, and there are heated bathrooms and hot chocolate available in the East Troy Depot.

Christmas train dates include Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 and Dec. 13 and Dec. 14. The train runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on all listed days.

The round trip runs along the century-old interurban trolley line linking East Troy to Mukwonago. The original East Troy Christmas Parade train, started by the East Troy Jaycees and the railroad in 1972, was a historic reproduction of the Schuster’s Christmas Parade in Milwaukee. The Schuster’s Department Store chain sponsored the parade, established in 1928, to kick off the Christmas shopping season.

For more information or to order tickets, call 262-642-3263 or visit easttroyrr.org.

4. Great Electric Children’s Christmas Parade, Dec. 6, Lake Geneva

Starting at 5 p.m., the 39th annual Lake Geneva Christmas parade promises to be just as big a bash as it’s been in previous years. The parade runs through downtown Lake Geneva on Broad Street, which will be lit up by local businesses and organizations. The occasion is also a good chance to stroll through town for holiday shopping and dining specials.

"The kids love the decorated fire truck with Santa that comes last," said Gertie Cuccia, the parade organizer with the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce. "But there are always new entries every year. We have quite a few with dancing teams; they are always very entertaining to watch. I always enjoy seeing the area school bands as well. It really gets you in the mood for the holidays."

About 75 entries are expected for the approximately 45-minute spectacle.

For more information, call 262-248-4416 or visit lakegenevawi.com.

5. Sharon Victorian Christmas, Dec. 5, Sharon

Kicking off at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, the Sharon Victorian Christmas event will be a look back at the Christmas festivities of the 1800s. Known as one of the area’s most historical outside events, the event is a chance to step back in time to relive a Victorian Christmas. Previous years have brought townsfolk in their Victorian finery, time period entertainment including a magician, bell ringers, musical entertainment, strolling carolers and Victorian dancers. The parade has featured unique eateries with roasted chestnuts, the soup wagon, wassail, spiced cider, the Kettle Corn Man, main course foods and homemade Victorian sweets; old-time photos with a Victorian Santa; artisans selling their wares; fireworks; and horse-drawn carriages.

For more information, call 262-736-6246.

ELKHORN -- A legal dispute concerning a county ordinance that forbids short-term rental of residential homes has the county reviewing the language to provide more clarity.

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ELKHORN -- The final Walworth County Support Our Troops rally held last Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in front of the government center in Elkhorn was a snowy affair, but well attended and ceremonious nevertheless.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00

5 ways to ring in the holidays in the Stateline

Update: The Light Up the Parks Holiday Parade has been rescheduled due to the weather forecast. The 2014 parade will be held Nov. 30. The story has been updated below.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, the holiday season begins in earnest. For many of us, that means long shopping trips to load up on gifts, but it doesn’t all have to be all work and no play.

There is no better way to ring in the holiday season than to get out and experience the great seasonal events going on throughout the Stateline. Yes, meteorologists agree it will be cold, but this time of year relies on the warmth of family, community and hot chocolate. These things can be found in abundance at our top five holiday events this year.

Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:00

Cold War memories

BELOIT -- More than 1 million Germans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall last Sunday, marking the symbolic end of the long Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

(PHOTOS)

The wall, built in 1961 at the height of the Cold War, divided Berlin until coming down Nov. 9, 1989, paving the way for German reunification a year later.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Bill McCoy is happy to report that Delavan-area Salvation Army bell ringers raised $8,000 more in 2013 than they did in 2012.

STATELINE NEWS -- The next generation of "Shark Tank" entrepreneurs could very well come from Hononegah High School.

STATELINE NEWS-- When Veteran’s Day arrives next month, the country will again renew its pledge to our armed forces to never forget the sacrifice they’ve made for our country. While the day is marked to observe our many living veterans, sometimes the best way to do that is by helping them honor those that served beside them that didn’t make it home. This is the goal of the Wall of Faces project.

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