Kenosha Calendar: Lightin’ Up Downtown to kick off the holiday season Friday

Family-fun activities to follow tree lighting program

By Laura MarranKENOSHA.COM

After two decades in journalism, Marran earned her Master’s degree in Exceptional Education from UW-Milwaukee and has served as a special education teacher with Kenosha Unified School District since 2006. A Marquette University School of Journalism alum, Marran has lived in Kenosha since 1987.

Thank goodness for extra-long weekends, because we need four days to pack in all the events planned for this Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Kenosha. 

First, the appetizers: Thanksgiving started strong with the Annual Mayor’s Turkey Day 10K and 2-mile run/walk, and intrepid shoppers will be hitting the stores at daybreak on Black Friday. 

Save room (and energy) for the main course, which is a huge slate of events happening in downtown Kenosha. 

Best Bet 

A previous City of Kenosha Christmas tree.

All ages are welcome for the all-day festivities surrounding Lightin’ Up Downtown Friday (Nov. 26). 

Electric streetcar rides are available from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., courtesy of Kenosha Firefighters C.A.R.E. A second streetcar will run from 3:30-8:30 p.m. to accommodate more passengers. The Lakefront Trolley will offer free rides from 3:30-8:30 p.m. along a special route from Library Park on the south to Union Park on the north, following 6th, 7th and 8th Avenues. 

The City of Kenosha tree lighting program begins at 3:45 p.m. with Candy Eisenhauer and Ivy Ford performing holiday music just west of the Kenosha Public Museum, 5500 1st Ave. The music sets the scene for the countdown to the official tree lighting in front of the museum by City Council President David Bogdala and accompanied by Santa at 5 p.m. 

Following the tree lighting, spectators are invited to stroll past downtown storefronts decked out in holiday finery and vote for their favorites. During this time there will be a hot cocoa stand and live music by MGV Harmonia German Men’s Chorus outside DayBreak Church, 5631 6th Ave. The Veterans Memorial Park ice rink adjacent to City Hall, 625 52nd St. will be open (weather permitting) with free skate rentals available. 

The Rhode Christmas Extravaganza is planned in conjunction with the city event from 3-9 p.m. at the Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St. Santa will visit from 5-8 p.m. following the tree lighting. Other attractions inside the Rhode include kids’ crafts, a photo booth, holiday bazaar and concessions/bar open throughout the event. Admission is free. 

Along with decorations, many downtown businesses offer special events Friday. Here are just a few examples; for more events see our calendar listing below.

Rhode Christmas Extravaganza

Kenosha Creative Store at Kenosha Creative Space, will open its doors Friday. The new venture is organized by local author and artist Elle Maru. Stay tuned to for more details about this local treasure trove. 

Studio Moonfall, 5031 7th Ave. will offer its weekly Free Book Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shoppers can stop in and get a freebie from thousands of used books. 

Public Craft Brewing joins the evening’s downtown celebration with crooner Tim Dollmeyer performing classics beginning at 7 p.m. Festivities include a coaster ornament making station. 

Actors’ Craft 7th Avenue Theater and Acting Studio teams up with Lightin’ Up Downtown to give kids an opportunity to write letters to Santa, assisted by Mrs. Claus (who knows how to get them to the big guy!). The event runs from 5-8 p.m. during Friday’s festivities. Coloring activities will also be available at the studio, 4900 7th Ave. Admission is free. 

Top picks 

The Southport Light Station Museum, 5117 4th Ave. is usually only available May-October, but this beloved symbol of Kenosha will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 27) to help Santa navigate his way to Simmons Island. Santa himself will be visiting the neighboring Kenosha History Center (220 51st Pl.).

Southport Light Station Museum

The maritime museum inside the keeper’s house preserves the history of Kenosha’s lighthouse keepers, as well as shipping/fishing history and local shipwrecks. The 1866 Southport Lighthouse tower’s 72-step spiral staircase takes visitors to the lantern room for an unparalleled view of Kenosha and the surrounding area. On a crystal clear day, the Chicago skyline is visible. The tower stands 55 feet above the lighthouse grounds. The tower will be open for climbs, weather permitting.

Maritime Historian Ron Luttrell will give a short presentation on the Rouse Simmons Christmas Tree Ship at noon on Saturday (Nov. 27) inside the Southport Light Station Museum. Both the Light Station Museum/Keeper’s House and Christmas Tree Ship presentation will take place once more on Dec. 11.

Admission to the keeper’s house and the Christmas Tree Ship presentation are free, donations are welcome. The lighthouse climb costs $10 for ages 12 and over, $5 for children 8-11 years old. (Must be 8 or older to climb.)


“Clark After Dark” by Quinn Ryan

As part of Small Business Saturday, Public Craft Brewing will host a book signing by children’s book author Quinn Ryan, who is also Public’s sales manager.

Quinn will be signing “Clark After Dark.” In the author’s words, “Clark is a dreamer with a huge universe to explore. But as much as he looks out into the galaxy he can’t help but wonder about our little place in the grand scheme. His observations of the night sky lead him to thoughts about how we all play a role in making the world a better place.” (Note: time TBD).

Day Tripper

The news is spreading about the Kenosha-based band Lunde. The group is headlining Friday night (Nov. 26) at Milwaukee’s legendary Cactus Club, which has hosted countless great local bands as well as big names when they were just getting started including the White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Death Cab for Cutie.

Lunde at the Cactus Club

Lunde headlines the bill which also includes Cruzotti, Spot and Wonderful Bluffer. Doors open at 8 p.m., the show starts at 9. Cactus Club is at 2496 S. Wentworth in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. Tickets for this 18+ event are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.


A dazzling display of holiday lights is found just a short jaunt north. The Racine Zoo’s Wonderland of Lights drive-through allows spectators to enjoy this attraction in any weather without leaving their cars. The display includes holiday themes and characters as well as a 96-foot tunnel with a light show. Santa will be on hand Saturday (Nov. 27) as well as Dec. 12 and 23.

Wonderland of Lights

Cost is $5 per person, free for 2-and-under (Cash or credit card accepted at the gate only). The Wonderland of Lights is open from 6 to 9 p.m. every day through Jan. 2,  including holidays:Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Cars should line up down Michigan Blvd. and enter at the southernmost gate at the corner of Michigan Blvd. and Goold St.

The Lineup

FRIDAY, Nov. 26


Ivy Ford, 8-11 p.m., TG’s, 4120 7th Ave.

The Roundabouts (Americana) 9 p.m., Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave. 

Tim Dollmeyer, 7 p.m. Public Craft Brewing, 628 58th St. 

Paradox Reunion, 8 p.m. and 89 Mojo, 9:30 p.m., 58 Below

Pop-Up Jam with Oscar Green, 8:30 p.m., Fusion, 5014 7th Ave. 

MGV Harmonia German Men’s Chorus, 5631 6th Ave. (outside), following the 5 p.m. tree lighting event. 

Oscar Green


Annual Winter Juried Exhibition, 1-4 p.m. Anderson Arts Center, 6603 3rd Ave, through Jan. 9, 2022. Admission is free; donations appreciated.


Kenosha Creative Store, Kenosha Creative Space, 624 57th St. Times TBA.


Lightin’ Up Downtown Kenosha, City Tree Lighting 5 p.m., various events throughout downtown and at the Rhode Center for the Arts, 3-8 p.m., free electric streetcar rides all day, and more. (See “Best Bet” at the top of this article for more details).

Holiday LIghts at the Farm walkable holiday light display, 3-8 p.m. Jerry Smith’s, 7150 18th St. (through Dec. 19). General admission is $5 for guests 3-and-older. 

SATURDAY, Nov. 27 


Singer/Songwriter Andy Braun, 8-10 p.m. Public Craft Brewing, 628 58th St. 

Spirit Shakers (Americana), 8-11 p.m. Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave.


Annual Winter Juried Exhibition, 1-4 p.m. Anderson Arts Center, 6603 3rd Ave, through Jan. 9, 2022. Admission is free; donations are appreciated.


Holiday LIghts at the Farm walkable holiday light display, 3-8 p.m. Jerry Smith’s, 7150 18th St. (through Dec. 19). General admission is $5 for guests 3+ years old. 


Gallery of Trees Opening Night Gala, Kemper Center, 6501 3rd Ave. 6-10 p.m. Tickets $25.

Movie Night, “Idiocracy”, 8:30 and 11 p.m., Fusion 5014 7th Ave. The film is science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Judge and co-written by Judge and Etan Cohen. Starring Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph. Free. 

Craft Fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Shoreland Lutheran High School, 9026 12th St. 

Kenosha HarborMarket, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Union Club, 3030 39th Ave.

Kenosha Public Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., two locations: The Vault Banquet Hall, 625 57th St. and Public Craft Brewing Co., 628 58th St. 

SUNDAY, Nov. 28 


Open Mic with Daniel Thompson and his 3 a.m. Saints, 4-8 p.m. Fusion, 5014 7th Ave. 

Cy’s Piano Jam, 4-7 p.m., Union Park Tavern, 4520 8th Ave. 

The works of some of the area’s top artists can be viewed at the Annual Winter Juried Exhibition.


Annual Winter Juried Exhibition, 1-4 p.m. Anderson Arts Center, 6603 3rd Ave, through Jan. 9, 2022. Admission is free; donations are appreciated.


Gallery of Trees Opening, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kemper Center, 6501 3rd Ave. 

Historic Durkee Mansion tours, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Kemper Center, 6501 3rd Ave. 

Guest Artist, JoJo’s Anime, appearing from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Studio Moonfall, 5031 7th Ave. 


Holiday LIghts at the Farm walkable holiday light display, 3-8 p.m. Jerry Smith’s, 7150 18th St. (through Dec. 19). General admission is $5 for guests 3+ years old.

To submit an event for’s Calendar, please email and be sure to include contact information.