Laternenfest is the winter celebration you’ve been waiting for

If you’re one of those people who refuses to kick off official holiday celebrations until the last piece of pumpkin pie has been sliced, but you’re still a fan of general frivolity, well … we feel you. And we might just have the solution for the celebratory void between Halloween and Thanksgiving: Laternenfest.


When: 2:30-5:30 p.m. Nov. 8

Cost: , free kids under 2

Where: DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave., Chicago


Laternenfest is celebrated each year in Europe, but the colorful holiday also has an annual observance in Chicago. The German International School Chicago, in partnership with the DANK Haus, hosts a fall festival that’s especially for kids, complete with music, a bake sale, storytelling, crafts and facepainting.

The main attraction, however, is the lanterns. Kids can personalize their own lantern with help from a provided kit, then take part (with their families, of course) in a Lantern Parade at dusk through Lincoln Square, Chicago’s historically German neighborhood. This walk echoes similar European parades held around St. Martin’s Day, a celebration in honor of a Roman soldier-turned-monk, who was known to be a friend to children.

So clearly, if you need an excuse to celebrate, Laternenfest fits the bill. And after you’ve blown out that lantern, you’ll still have plenty of time for mistletoe and menorahs in the very near future.

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