A holiday tradition that began last year in Champaign-Urbana will be back again with a few new twists.
Due to the rides’ popularity last year, online registration will now be required and a small fee will be charged.
Erin Lippitz, executive director of Champaign Center Partnership, said last year’s event went “extremely well.”
“We were nearly overwhelmed by the number of people attending each night with over 100 riders each Saturday,” Lippitz said. “A few people asked us to do this year round!”
Lippitz said because so many people wanted to participate last year, they decided to require registration prior to the event to help eliminate wait times.
“We’re doing this so that we can give people timed tickets to eliminate the amount of time they’re just waiting and standing around,” Lippitz said.
They also decided to charge a fee of $3 this year for anyone 4 years or older to “support the continuation of this event.” The money will be split between the Champaign Center Partnership and the Champaign Park District.
The trolley pick-up and drop off location will also be different. Rides will now leave from the Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church at 102 N. State St. (The church with the red doors by Westside Park and the Virginia Theatre.) The church will also serve as a warming station for riders.
Local magician Michael Braswell will entertain waiting riders on Dec. 5 and 12 and Zoo Improv will perform on Dec. 19. Riders can also enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies from Pekara Bakery and Bistro. The Champaign Urbana Theater Company Carolers will be back to sing during each trolley ride as well.
Rides will be offered Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 3-5 p.m. Registration and payments must be done online by going to champaigncenter.com. Riders must register and pay prior to showing up to the rides; no payments will be accepted at the event. Riders must also bring their confirmation of registration with them to the event.
Free parking is available in the Hill Street Parking Deck on Hill and Randolph. Metered parking is also available around West Side Park.
The trolley rides will take passengers through Center City, which includes Downtown, Midtown and Campustown Districts.