ELBURN – Timmy Shenuk, all of 3 weeks old, spread his arms out wide Friday night after getting a look at Santa Claus at the Town and Country Public Library in Elburn.
Timmy posed for some pictures with his family, before his sister, Anastasia, 3 ½, stopped to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas – some fancy things and definitely something Barbie-related.
It was the family’s first stop at the annual Elburn Christmas Stroll, an event that draws crowds at several locations in the village. Anastasia and Timmy joined their brothers, Joseph, 1 1/2, and Dominic, 11, as well as their parents Bryan and Jamie. Jamie Shenuk said she comes to the library with her kids every week.
Santa at the library is perhaps the most popular attraction of the festival, which includes events at the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District, the newly opened Lighthouse Academy, Elburn’s community center and downtown businesses.
Elburn resident Julie Mondi was with her daughter, Abbey, 8, who was standing in line to see Santa. Traditionally, the line is very long at the beginning of the night, but Mondi already had checked out a couple of other locations, so the Santa line had gone down a bit. She said she was going to head to Paisano’s Pizza after the Santa visit, and then go home to get the Christmas tree decorated.
“We went to the community center and we looked at the crafts,” Julie Mondi said. “It’s a nice evening. It’s a really fun, small-town event. I see a lot of familiar faces.”
Also at the library, there was music, as well as a puppet show and balloon animals.
At the Lighthouse Academy, which is just south of Route 38, in the northern part of the village, two reindeer from Belvidere-based Summerfield Zoo were getting attention from kids and parents. Rick Anderson said about 60 visitors had stopped by during the first hour. He said the frigid weather wasn’t bothering the reindeer.
“This is the kind of weather they love,” he said.
At the Elburn fire station, guests were treated to hot dogs and hot cocoa inside, where they could watch the movie “Cars” while they ate. Firefighter Brad Reese said the hot dogs had become a big hit, and added that there were plenty of visitors Friday.
“Considering the inclement weather, we had a pretty good turnout,” he said. “They come in waves.”
Outside of the fire station, firefighters put on a tree-burning demonstration, which was meant to show how quickly a fire can destroy a tree. In less than a minute, the tree was in flames. Firefighter Scott Sulak said he had been doing the demonstrations for more than six years, and he said it works, as he has not seen such a tree fire in Elburn during that time.
“Everybody likes to decorate,” he said. “It’s just being aware of the dangers.”