We’ve been so impressed with Folepi’s Winter Wonderland that we’ve gone to it several times. Folepi’s Winter Wonderland is the signature event of the East Peoria Festival of Lights.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated for 2023 dates.
Be prepared to wait in line an hour or more to reach VFW Park. The lights are well worth the wait. Once in, turn off your headlights and follow the cars along the slow-paced drive through the two-mile route. The festival showcases everything from traditional whimsical giant toy soldiers to spaceships and dinosaurs covered almost solidly with twinkling lights.
Many of the three-dimensional displays start as floats in the Parade of Lights and then are parked for the remainder of the season as part of the Winter Wonderland. A series of arches, some covered with blue twinkle lights, others with reindeer seemingly jumping over your vehicle, and lots of two-dimensional displays add even more sparkle.
Skiers that appear to glide downhill are a big hit, too. Everywhere you turn you’ll find another surprise waiting for you as you make your way through the lights loop.
When you exit, continue straight a couple of blocks to reach the Narrated Nativity. Tune your radio to the station noted on the sign and listen to the Christmas story depicted in the series of dioramas.
If you go to Folepi’s Winter Wonderland
In 2023, Folepi’s Winter Wonderland runs from November 24 through January 1, 2024. The cost is $10 per car (more for buses). Check the web site for hours and directions.
- Try to go on a night other than Friday or Saturday. Lines to get in on those nights can be over three hours!
- Tune your radio to 88.1 FM for accompanying holiday music
- Enter from the south instead of from the north. In our experience, the line is shorter and there are fewer traffic lights on the route. Click here for a map.
- The nearby Narrated Nativity is open 24 hour a day and is free.
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