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Holiday thrills in Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE – Alyssa McCannon didn’t save Christmas.

But because of her efforts, Alyssa, a 15-year-old student at Kaneland High School, ensured one of her favorite holiday traditions continued for another year.

Saturday, Alyssa organized Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, a booth offering cookies, candies and sweet treats within the vendor area at Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove festival.

The booth, which is organized by members of the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, has been a regular part of the festival for years.

So when Alyssa saw some weeks ago that no one from the church had volunteered to organize the Sweet Shoppe, she took matters into her own hands and became chairman for the endeavor. Saturday, Alyssa was among dozens of volunteers who turned out to produce Holiday in the Grove.

The morning events, hosted in John Shields Elementary School and the Sugar Grove Community Building, featured an assortment of holiday favorites, including photos with Santa, Breakfast with Santa, an arts and crafts area for children, a cake walk and a market.

Marguerite Ledone, vice president of the Holiday in the Grove organizing committee, estimated hundreds of people attended the various events Saturday. In the lower level of the Community Building, Julie Wilson, organizer of the Breakfast with Santa, said about 250 people came for the pancakes, sausages and Saint Nick.

Nick and Cathy Bianco of Sugar Grove and their children, Nina, 10, and Jake, 8, were among those who turned out Saturday.

The parents said Holiday in the Grove was an annual tradition for their family.

This year, they arrived toward the end of the morning festivities, and the children squeezed in a photo with Santa just before he was whisked from the Community Building in a Sugar Grove Fire Department vehicle.

“I feel lucky,” said Jake.

“But his mom feels like we were late,” said Nick Bianco with a laugh.

Nina said the family visited the kids holiday shopping area – “My favorite part,” she said – and the children purchased gifts for their parents and an aunt.

“We love coming here every year,” Cathy said.

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