ELBURN – The return of the reindeer will be one of the highlights of the 18th annual Elburn Christmas Stroll, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at several locations in the village.
The reindeer attraction – there will be two reindeer – will allow one of the village’s newest businesses, Lighthouse Academy, to make a big splash at its first Christmas Stroll. Lighthouse, at 153 Wright St. – near the village’s McDonald’s location – also will have children’s activities.
Linda Thomas, director at the Lighthouse location, said the child-care facility was excited to be such a significant part of one of the village’s signature events. She said the facility opened just last week. She said when she told organizers that Lighthouse wanted to be part of the festivities, “they said you need to get something big.” She said visitors will be able to pet the reindeer and take pictures.
The Christmas Stroll is hosted by the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, and it is co-chaired by Brian O’Connor and Bob Britz. O’Connor said the reindeer previously had been a feature of the celebration, but that the attraction was discontinued for financial reasons.
Perhaps the best-attended location each year is the Town and Country Public Library, at 320 E. North St. in Elburn. That is where Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with youths, and it’s common for a long line to stretch through the library.
“Santa and Mrs. Claus at the library are always the big draw,” O’Connor said.
Other big draws are the Elburn and Countryside Community Center at 525 N. Main St., which hosts the holiday craft bazaar. Also, there is Conley’s annual manger dedication at Route 47 and Pierce Street in Elburn.
In addition, St. Gall Catholic Church, 120 W. Shannon St., will feature nativity displays from around the world. And Elburn Hill Church, 506 N. Main St., will have a Christmas Cafe and decorated trees on display.
Peg Bendowski, the Elburn chamber’s administrator, said she hopes visitors take advantage of the opportunity to simply stroll down Route 47 and visit local businesses, many of which will remain open throughout the event, including Ream’s Elburn Market at 128 N. Main St., Paisano’s at 106 N. Main St., and Schmidt’s Towne Tap at 107 N. Main St.
“Part of it should actually be strolling, absolutely,” Bendowski said of visitors’ Christmas Stroll experience.
The Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District will welcome visitors to its station at 210 E. North St. To demonstrate some of the dangers present during the holidays, there will be tree-burning demonstrations at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Also, the Elburn Citizen Emergency Response Team trailer will be on Main Street near American Bank and Trust at 8 S. Main St. The bank will offer an opportunity for youths to create their own trail mix.
There will be a tree lighting at the Elburn American Legion at 112 N. Main St. That will be at 5 p.m., but O’Connor said with so many lined up to see Santa at the library, the event sometimes gets overlooked. The tree has been donated by Carrie Petrie, who said it will be the third time she has donated a pine tree for the event. Petrie said she hopes to be able to attend the ceremony.
The festival will have a shuttle bus, which starts at 4:45 p.m. It will stop at the library, downtown in Route 47, in the Ream’s parking lot, at the community center, at Jewel, at 800 N. Main St., and at Elburn Hill Church.
Also, Bendowski said tickets will be available for a pork chop dinner, which takes place Dec. 18. Tickets will be available at the library. The cost is $13 for two pork chops, baked beans, coleslaw, rolls and apple sauce. The event will help raise money to offset the cost of the Christmas Stroll, she said.
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.