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Holiday Express lights up Blackberry Farm in December

Blackberry Farm's holiday train will travel around Lake Gregory in Aurora on the following dates: Dec. 2 to 3, Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17.
Blackberry Farm's holiday train will travel around Lake Gregory in Aurora on the following dates: Dec. 2 to 3, Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17.

AURORA – Blackberry Farm invites all aboard the Holiday Express train during the first three weekends in December for its Yuletide celebration, with thousands of glittering lights, festive activities throughout and the jolly presence of Santa and his elves, according to a news release.

For eight days in December, holiday spirit comes to life, Dec. 2 to 3, Dec. 8 to 10 and Dec. 15 to 17, when the decorated train will run continuously around Lake Gregory, according to the release. Friday hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15; Saturday and Sunday hours for all other dates are 2 to 6 p.m.

More than 60,000 Christmas lights, 3 and a half miles worth, will illuminate the pioneer village, with shooting stars flashing above Blackberry Creek and holiday cartoon characters – Frosty, etc. – gracing the tour of Lake Gregory, according to the release.

“Thousands and thousands of twinkling lights – from the ticket window to the train depot and all along the walkways – turn Blackberry Farm into a winter wonderland,” Sandie Gilmer, facility supervisor, said in the release. “It’s a holiday spectacle to be experienced and a truly memorable outing.”

Santa and his elves will be at Blackberry Farm each weekend, collecting children’s wish lists at the Early Streets Museum, according to the release. There’s other activities, including:

Huntoon House: See what a Victorian Christmas looks like – from decor to small antique toy displays

Reindeer Food Bar: Mix up a snack bag and take it home to treat Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve

North Pole Oasis (Carriage Museum): Enjoy crafts, music and a full menu of concessions available for purchase

Candy Cane Village (Adventure Playground): Festively decorated and lit

Little Elf Hobby Shoppe (Weaver’s Cabin): Create a commemorative bird feeder to help feathered friends celebrate the holidays

Sugar Plum Play Land: Enjoy winter-themed sensory tables and dive into the corn crib

Gingerbread School House: Classic holiday stories read alongside the warmth of a wood-burning stove

North Pole Barn: Visit Olivia, the friendly potbelly pig, as she helps Santa’s reindeer get in shape for Christmas

Reindeer Training Facility (Pony Ring): See the ponies demonstrate what it takes to become a sled-pulling reindeer

Special activities are scheduled each weekend as well:

Dec. 3: Olaf Meet and Greet (sold out)

Dec. 9: Stories with Mrs. Claus

Dec. 16: The World's Tallest Toy Soldier

The Adventure Playground will be decorated and ready for action. Visitors can also enjoy hay wagon rides while being entertained by carolers and storytellers. Also, volunteer carolers – individuals and groups – are welcome; call 630-897-1550 to schedule.

Concessions are available on site, as well.

Advance tickets for specific dates are available online at and the Blackberry Farm Facebook events page. The weekend of Dec. 2 to 3 is sold out, according to the release.

All-access admission to Holiday Express is $5 per person, children under 2 years of age are admitted for free. Blackberry Farm is located at 100 S. Barnes Road in Aurora, just south of Galena Boulevard about a half-mile west of Orchard Road.

For more information, call 630-892-1550.

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