Community members are invited to celebrate the holiday season at the inaugural Willie’s Winter Wonderland on Friday, Dec. 17, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18, from noon – 2 p.m.. Both events will take place outside Welsh-Ryan Arena leading up to the Northwestern women’s basketball game against Temple (Dec.17) at 7 p.m. and the Wildcats’ men’s basketball contest vs. DePaul at 2 p.m. (Dec. 18).

The pregame tailgates will include holiday-themed activities and opportunities to take photos with Willie’s Sleigh as well as characters Elsa, Anna and Olaf from the movie Frozen. In addition, attendees will have the chance to enjoy warm bites and sweet treats from local food trucks, while taking in the wonderful sights of purple twinkling lights, festive decorations, and performances of everyone’s favorite holiday cheers.

Admission to both events is free with the purchase of a game ticket. Tickets may be purchased at

Community members who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a face covering and practice social distancing at outdoor public settings when maintaining a six-foot distance from others is not possible. 

For more information, please call 847-467-3302.