‘Tis the season for Park Ridge Winterfest
Lisa Vitale works at decorating Nov. 14 for Winterfest and the holidays at Yvonne Estelle in Park Ridge. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:11AM
PARK RIDGE — A change in the season, the countdown to Christmas and a special anniversary will all be celebrated this year as part of Park Ridge’s annual Winterfest festivities.
Winterfest officially kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, with the arrival of Santa Claus aboard a fire engine in front of the Park Ridge Public Library, 20 S. Prospect Ave. Activities will take place until 9 p.m.
“It’s a tradition,” Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce Director Gail Haller said of the yearly celebration that draws hundreds to the Uptown and South Park commercial districts the day after Thanksgiving.
“People who have grown up here are used to it, and they love it. They come out for it and they remember doing it as kids. It’s just a tradition that keeps on going and makes our community that much more attractive a place.”
Traditional festivities will continue, including the free trolley rides linking Uptown and South Park, luminaries lighting up the sidewalks on Prospect and Courtland avenues, musical entertainment, holiday treats and shopping.
Once Santa arrives in Uptown, he will spend the remainder of the evening greeting children and hearing their Christmas wish lists in the library’s children’s department. The library, staying open late, will host its annual open house with craft making in the first-floor meeting room and a performance by the Dooley Brothers in the reference department, said library spokeswoman Mary Dalton.
This year’s event will also serve another purpose.
“This is the official date that we will kick off the celebration of the library’s 100th anniversary,” Dalton said.
Visitors will receive a free anniversary calendar, and Friends of the Library will sell ornaments commemorating the milestone, Dalton said. The ornament sale will coincide with the Friends’ Christmas book sale.
Music and more
The Willows Academy Chamber Choir will perform carols outside the library and around Uptown in Renaissance costume while the Maine East Blue Regiment Marching Band adds its own musical accompaniment.
In South Park, Santa will visit with guests at Living Sea Aquarium, 811 W. Devon Ave., while his reindeer and elves will be present along Devon Avenue.
The Fire Department will again open its station at 901 W. Devon Ave. to the public between 6 and 9 p.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to meet personnel, see equipment up-close, learn about fire prevention and meet Ronald McDonald.
In both shopping districts, some retailers are expected to stay open later and offer sales and refreshments.
Other Nov. 23 happenings include the Kalo Foundation’s first Wearable Art and Vintage Bangles Boutique from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Iannelli Studios Heritage Center, 255 N. Northwest Highway, and the kickoff of Park Ridge Indian Scouts’ annual Christmas tree sale in the parking lot of the Park Ridge Community Center, 1515 W. Touhy Ave. The tree sale will occur through Dec. 23 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. daily and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
Winterfest sponsors include the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce, South Park Merchants, the city of Park Ridge, the Park Ridge Public Library and the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District.