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Lighting of the Square

A magical night of giving, celebration and tradition.
Friday, November 23 | 5:00-9:00 PM | Historic Woodstock Square

Real Woodstock is about enjoying the holidays with family and friends in one of the prettiest towns anywhere.

Woodstock's signature holiday event, Lighting of the Square, returns the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 23 from 5-9 PM on the historic Woodstock Square. An annual tradition in McHenry County, thousands of people come together for this one night event to kick off the holiday season and to experience the magic and charm of the Square. At 7:00 PM, a giant switch will be flipped as tens of thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the Woodstock sky.

This year's event features a heated tent with food and non-profit vendors, various children's activities around the Square, caroling, Santa & Mrs. Claus sightings, and the spectacular Christmas Tree Walk at the Woodstock Opera House and Gingerbread House Walk at the the Old McHenry County Courthouse.

Lighting of the Square is presented by the City of Woodstock, the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Promote Woodstock.

Children's Activities

Rudolphs Escape - 136 Cass St.

  • Sponsored by the Woodstock Public Library

  • Activities - Crafts and Storytime

  • Charitable Organization: Girl scouts of Northern Illinois

Santa’s Workshop - 100 Cass St.

  • Sponsored by the Wonder Works Children’s Museum

  • Activities - Face painting.

Elf Escape (Heated Tent)

East Jackson Street (north of the former Harris Bank building) will be closed off for a fully heated tent with non-profit and food vendors. Food Vendors: Church Street Café and Rendezvous Bistro. NPO's Include: Hearthstone Early Learning Center, United Way of McHenry County, Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Christmas Clearing House, Chive on Chicago/Perfect Pop Kettlecorn, Main Stay Therapeutic Farm, Young at Heart Senior Pet Rescue, Veteran’s Assistance Commission, Land Conservancy of McHenry County, Friends of the Old Courthouse, Girl Scouts, and Real Woodstock/Visit McHenry County.

Santa's Hut & Spring House

Want to tell Santa what you want for Christmas this year? Tell him at Santa's Hut in the park on the Square! Santa's Hut will be open the night of Lighting of the Square and during the holiday season.

You can also stop by the Spring House for free hot cider and doughnuts. Courtesy of Woodstock Heating!



Gingerbread House Walk

The best gingerbread houses in McHenry County can be found at the Old McHenry County Courthouse starting the night of Lighting of the Square!

Want to enter your house into the contest? Register by Saturday, November 17 or Sunday, November 18 for a spot in the contest. Click here for more information! 

The gingerbread houses will be on display until December 25 during open hours at the Old Courthouse Art Center.

Christmas Tree Walk

The Christmas Tree Walk at the Woodstock Opera House has the biggest and brightest trees in McHenry County!

Stop by the Community Room in the Woodstock Opera House after the official lighting at 7:00 PM and see decorated trees from over 30 organizations. The trees will be on display until December 30 during normal Opera House hours.

Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 24)

Holiday shoppers are encouraged to support local businesses and participate in Small Business Saturday on November 24.

Your favorite boutiques and stores in Woodstock and McHenry County will be offering deals all day! Check back later for a list of participating businesses.