The trees down Main Street in Glen Ellyn are dressed in string lights lighting up the town’s center. Residents of Glen Ellyn and towns nearby are laughing, chattering and holding warm cups of hot chocolate provided by the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company. Christmas music plays while families go from store to store shopping and enjoying the sales.
All these people are gathered here to celebrate the Glen Ellyn Holiday Walk. Each year the holiday walk takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Glen Ellyn Firefighter John Mammoser said the fire department has a longstanding tradition with Santa.
“Every year we escort Santa from the fire station here, at 524 Pennsylvania, down to light the tree with our snorkel,” Mammoser said. “He gets into our basket and lights the tree in our snorkel, and then we bring him back here. And as we’re standing here now, with all the noise, we’re hosting a photo op and a chance for children to talk to Santa.”
The Nutcracker from the McAninch Arts Center’s performance of The Nutcracker came to the festival. He danced down Main Street, high-fiving children and parents as he made his way up and down the street. The Nutcracker took photos and danced with the children.
With the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company by his side, Santa Claus made his way from the fire station to the large Christmas tree that sits in the heart of the town. The tree is decorated with ornaments, bows and a white star that sits on the very top. Santa got into the basket of a snorkel fire truck and rose into the sky. He waved hello to all the children. With the help of the snorkel, Santa got close to the top of the tree. He placed his hand on the top of the star, and the tree came to life with beautiful color.
Once Santa was back on the ground he made his way to the fire station. The fire station was set up for the children to come and take pictures with Father Christmas. While people waited in line for their turn to sit on Santa’s lap, the firefighters handed out warm cups of coffee and hot chocolate along with cookies.
The abominable snowman, the mascot for the Christmas Sweater Shuffle, made an appearance. A snowman passed out candy canes standing outside M & Em’s Children’s Boutique. Queen Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” joined the snowman later in the evening. All the winter characters took pictures with kids and wished them a merry holiday.
The storefronts decorated with the winter wonderland theme. There was a five-judge panel that judged the store’s decorations earlier that week.
Noel Luchinski, the owner of the Green Branch, was the winner of the best overall category. This is the fifth time she has won and the second time in a row winning the category of best overall.
“It’s a great community event,” Luchinski said. “It brings everybody out into the village and we love having our doors open and welcoming everybody in.”