Jinglepalooza is the perfect time for Elburn residents to get into the holiday spirit, and this year's Christmas extravaganza is 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St.
The family-friendly fun is on a Saturday this year, which is a departure from the Friday night dates in years past.
The free event is sponsored by the Community Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the greater Elburn community, and businesses and organizations housed in the center. Private donations and support from other community groups also make the event possible each year.
One of the activities that brings back kids of all ages is a life-sized version of the game Kandyland, in which the youngsters become the game pieces moving through a whimsical winter wonderland in search of the final candy prize.
Christmas-themed crafts are on display and for sale, along with the wares from additional vendors, such as Thirty-One Gifts and Usborne Books.
The children can make their own crafts, decorate cookies, create Christmas ornaments and participate in a coloring contest.
Creative Beginnings Preschool owner and director Kristy Voegele Williams leads the children in singing Christmas carols, playing games and making “reindeer food" that's meant to “sparkle off the moon” on Christmas Eve to attract Santa’s reindeer to the children’s houses.
Williams said one of her favorite things about Jinglepalooza is that it brings a lot of people into the center, including some of her former students who come to visit her and Eva, the magic Elf on the Shelf. According to Williams, Eva watches the girls and boys all throughout December, and flies to the North Pole every night to tell Santa if they’ve been good.
No Christmas event would be complete without a visit from Santa, who is joined by sisters Anna and Elsa, characters from Disney’s popular movie “Frozen.”
Visitors can experience a Jazzercise class, observe a black belt demonstration by the students of Master Kimberly Cote’s Midtown Martial Arts housed within the center, write a letter to a soldier and listen to Christmas stories read by an Elburn police officer, a firefighter and a village official.
Life-sized Christmas inflatable figures entertain riders on the train as it travels across the center’s front lawn.
Refreshments from Ambrogi’s pizza, nacho chips, pop and juice will be available for sale. Proceeds from the sale of the food and drinks help to maintain the building, with last year’s Jinglepalooza receipts used to pay for an upgrade to the center’s outdoor signage, said the center’s volunteer event planner Rene Hall.
The Elburn & Countryside Community Center originated as a high school in 1929 serving the students of Elburn. When the Kaneland School District brought the students from the various communities into one central building, community members collaborated in the 1980s to create the ECCC, according to its website. The goal was to provide a space for programs normally found within a traditional park district. The building also currently houses the Elburn and Countryside Food Pantry.
The center, which does not receive any tax dollars, operates solely on donations and money received from the rental of office space, meetings and activities.