La Grange ushers in holiday season with a flourish
Students from Lyons Township sing carols on the steps of the Village Hall during the tree lighting ceremony. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 1:17AM
LA GRANGE — Right on schedule, Santa arrived amid sirens and flashing lights on a La Grange fire truck Dec. 1 to kick off the town’s holiday season.
A sea of cheering children and parents parted for Santa, his lovely bride with white curls and festive attire and two tall elves, who climbed the steps of the Village Hall as traffic on La Grange Road crawled by.
Santa led the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells” for the Hometown Holiday celebration sponsored by the village and the La Grange Business Association.
Mike Bojovic, assistant Public Works director, admitted to a slight anxious twinge before the tree lit up the sky, but he had plenty of reason to be confident.
“We tested it at 4:30 this morning,” Bojovic said.
After the oohs and aahs subsided, children quickly lined up for their turn on Santa’s lap.
Accompanying his younger brother, Steven Rudolph, 10, of La Grange, said he planned to ask for a bicycle.
Matthew Rudolph, 5, joked he wanted a Red Ryder BB gun after watching “A Christmas Story” multiple times. Wresting action figures also would be good, he said.
Gabriella Luburic, 7, of La Grange said she would ask for an aqua camera. Her brother, Luka, 5, said he had a whole list, including a Spiderman web shooter.
Other families waited in line with long sticks and marshmallows at the s’mores station next to the Village Hall.
“It’s been really awesome. Everyone is so helpful with the s’mores,” said Jane Bauer, a counselor at Lyons Township High School, who brought her family from Naperville. “There was a little sword-fighting, but they were afraid to lose their marshmallows, so they stopped.”
On the west side of La Grange Road, Lyons Township High School senior Doug Miller of La Grange and Jonathan Janas, a junior from LaGrange Park, rang bells to collect for the Salvation Army holiday campaign.
“This is the busiest night in La Grange, and people are in a giving mood,” Miller said. “It’s so awesome.”
Shops and restaurants hosted open houses with special offers, free samples or cocoa, cookies and candy canes. Other businesses sponsored a petting zoo, kiddie train ride, musicians, hayrides, carolers and pony rides.
A dozen brilliant ice sculptures seemed destined to be the only casualty of the balmy evening with unseasonable temperatures in the 50s.
“I think this is our biggest Hometown Holiday ever,” said Steve Palmer, co-owner of Palmer Place and a veteran of the annual event. “It’s such perfect weather. Everybody’s smiling, the merchants have opened their doors, and we don’t even need snow.”