The lights are on in Ohio, bald eagles flock to Illinois and other Midwest happenings

Light it up
The lights of Clifton Mill are legendary in the Ohio town of Clifton, one of the stops on the state’s Holiday Lights Trail.
(TourismOhio )
Chicago Tribune

Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:

•The Ohio tourism folks are making things easier for visitors craving holiday light displays. The Ohio Holiday Lights Trail lists 30 locations where the lights are on, and there’s a downloadable map.

•During the holiday season, the Actors Theatre of Indiana is staging “It’s a Wonderful Life — A Live Radio Play” at Studio Theater in Carmel. Based on the classic Frank Capra film, the production is on select dates through Dec. 23.

•The Edgewater in Madison, Wis., is holding a New Year’s Eve celebration called Destination New Year’s Eve: Then & Now. Tickets are $95 per person and include live music and dancing, complimentary beer and wine and a midnight breakfast buffet. The hotel also has lodging packages for the celebration.


•The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis will celebrate Kwanzaa: Festival of the First Fruits on Dec. 26, the first day of the seven-day African-American observance that is based on African festivals. Among the activities will be storytelling, musical performances and African drumming.

•Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Ill., will hold Bald Eagle Days starting Dec. 28 and continuing on select dates through March 8. There will be a presentation on bald eagles, followed by a chance to observe the birds of prey. The program is free, but reservations are required. 618-786-3323,

•Fans of the classic book “The Polar Express” can get a taste of it during “The Polar Express” Train Ride. There are multiple departures for the 45-minute ride from Union Station in St. Louis each day through Dec. 30, with the exception of Christmas Day. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.

•They pull out all of the stops for Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, part of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich. Visitors will find lantern-lit paths, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagon and Model T rides, plus Santa with live reindeer. There’s also a fireworks display. It’s held Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 13-16, 18-23 and 26-27.


•The Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, Ind., is showing the exhibit “Waiting for a Sign” through Jan. 12. The work of eight artists explores the use of signage in the American landscape.

•It may not be too late in the season to try some fancy camping in parts of Missouri. The tourism folks there have info on glamping in their state in tepees, yurts and luxury tents at

•Michigan tourism suggests outdoor activities for enjoying winter in the state at

•For fans of Bell’s beers, free brewery tours are offered at both the Comstock and Kalamazoo, Mich., locations.

Deals and websites listed here have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not endorsements. Send tips at least a month in advance to

Phil Marty is a freelancer.

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