Best bets: Sparkle Light Festival, Illumination: Tree Lights, Disney 100, 'The Illusionists'
• The opening of the 2023 Sparkle Light Festival brings back ice skating, tubing, a two-story ice slide, illuminated villages, kids' activities, train rides and more to Impact Field, 9850 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont. Tickets for the two-hour time slots are $24 for adults, $18 for kids 2-12, $70 for premium ticket packages. sparklerosemont.com. Various hours Friday, Nov. 17, through Dec. 31
• The annual holiday light spectacular Illumination: Tree Lights returns to The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, with the new addition "Winter Radiance" featuring kinetic LED tall grasses paying homage with light and color to an indigenous Midwest plant species. However, actual plants are not part of the display. On Friday nights in December, the arboretum hosts Electric Illumination for those 18 and older featuring progressive house music from 9:30-11 p.m. Dec. 8, 15 and 22, and 1980s dance music from 9:30-11 p.m. Dec. 29. Tickets start at $16. (630) 968-0074 or mortonarb.org. Various times Saturday, Nov. 18, through Jan. 6
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum runs through Jan. 6, 2024.
- Courtesy of Morton Arboretum
The Chicago Philatelic Society welcomes both seasoned stamp collectors and hobby newbies to CHICAGOPEX, a three-day gathering of philatelic exhibitors, dealers, book signings and even a hands-on workshop for Boy Scouts looking to earn their stamp collecting merit badge. The convention, at the Westin Chicago Northwest, 400 Park Blvd., Itasca, also features speakers, a Chicago Philatelic Society town hall on Friday and a catered awards banquet Saturday night. Parking and most events are free; visit chicagopex.org for tickets to the banquet and special events. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-19, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19
For love of Disney
More than 250 artifacts make up "Disney 100: The Exhibition," a celebration of the Walt Disney Company on its centennial, taking place at 2367 W. Logan Blvd., Chicago. Interactive galleries will showcase films from 1937's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" through 2020's "Encanto." Tickets start at $34.90 for adults, $24.90 for kids; VIP packages available. disney100exhibit.com/chicago. Various hours Saturday, Nov. 18, through Dec. 31
Country singer Phil Vassar plays his hits at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake Saturday, Nov. 18.
- Courtesy of Mark Maryanovich
Phil Vassar at the Raue
Billboard chart-topping country singer Phil Vassar brings his signature sound and radio hits to Crystal Lake's Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St. $55-$65, $38.50-$45.50 for RaueNOW members. events.rauecenter.org. 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
The McAninch Arts Center presents "Paris! The Show," a celebration of French music and culture post-World War II.
- Courtesy of "Paris! The Show"
'Paris! The Show'
An aspiring American artist named Emily goes to Paris, befriends Edith Piaf and falls in love with a young singer named Charles in "Paris! The Show," a celebration of France's musical heritage, specifically the post-World War II French songs made famous by the likes of Piaf, Josephine Baker, Jacques Brel and Maurice Chevalier. The performance takes place at the McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. $50-$60. (630) 942-4000 or atthemac.org. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
Through stories and songs, folk artist Lee Murdock brings his annual "Christmas Ship Concert" to the Baker Community Center in St. Charles Saturday, Nov. 18.
- Courtesy of Jayne Toohey
The Christmas ship
Packed with music and stories of the Great Lakes with a holiday flair, folk artist Lee Murdock presents his annual "Lee Murdock's Christmas Ship Concert" at the Baker Community Center, 101 S. Second St., St. Charles, telling the tale of the Rouse Simmons, the schooner tasked with delivering Christmas trees to Chicago during a raging winter storm in 1912. $30. norrisculturalarts.com. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
Brother Cane joins Orianthi
With its recently reissued self-titled 1993 release in tow, guitarist Damon Johnson reunites with '90s hit band Brother Cane for a tour stop at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, as they join with the Stone Horses to open for singer-guitarist Orianthi. $39-$79. arcadalive.com. 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
"A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage!" brings Snoopy and the gang to Waukegan's Genesee Theatre Sunday, Nov. 19.
- Courtesy of Dan Norman
'Christmas Time Is Here'
The Peanuts gang brings Charles M. Schulz's heartwarming story and Vince Guaraldi's jazzy Christmas score to life with "A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage!" at the Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $25-$70; $10 off for kids 12 and younger at geneseetheatre.com. 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19
Kevin James leads a quintet of fellow illusionists showcasing their talents in the family-friendly "The Illusionists -- Magic of the Holidays" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets start at $16.50-$66.50. broadwayinchicago.com. Various times Tuesday through Sunday, Nov. 21-26; no shows Thursday, Nov. 23
Winter Mart art
Art on The Mart, the digital exhibition that transforms Chicago's Merchandise Mart into a larger-than-life artist's canvas, kicks off its winter season with new commissions by Yorgo Alexopoulos, a School of the Art Institute of Chicago alum known for immersive, moving image works and a collaborative work by current SAIC students. The projections are visible on The Mart's Riverwalk side. artonthemart.com. 7:30 p.m. nightly through Dec. 30