Palos residents ring in the holiday

 

Palos Christmas 8

                                                                                                      Photo by Kelly White

The Stagg High School Madrigal Singers delighted the crowd with classic holiday songs.

          The holiday spirit shone brightly last weekend in the Palos communities with outdoor and indoor celebrations marking the coming of Christmas.

          The Village of Palos Park kicked off the festive weekend on Friday evening with its annual Village Tree Lighting and Holiday Market which took place at the Palos Park Recreation Center, 8901 W. 123rd St.

          In attendance were the Zagata sisters, Anastazja, 8, and Juliana, 5, who live in the village.

          “I love Christmas decorations,” Anastazja said. “They’re so pretty, especially the lights on the tree.”

          The family-friendly outdoor event was geared toward ringing in the holiday season with neighbors, family and friends. It featured food and craft vendors, as well holiday singing. Santa Claus arrived to greet children and, with Mayor John Mahoney, illuminated the village’s 15-ft. tree.

          “This is really a lot of fun for everyone,” Mikayla Hartunian, 13, of Palos Park, said.

          “I love our community events like the tree lighting,” said Mahoney. “These events help give Palos Park the small-town feel that you don’t seem to have in larger communities. I love to catch up with neighbors I have not seen since summertime for one reason or another.”

Mahoney noted there was also a gathering of many community groups, including the Palos Park Woman’s Club, Palos Fine Arts, The Center on Southwest Hwy., McCord Gallery & Cultural Center, as well as the participation of Hackneys, Francesca’s and other local businesses.

          The Palos Heights Public Library was brimming with holiday cheer on Saturday with a day full of family-themed activities at its 13th annual “Christmastime in Palos.” The event was sponsored by Midwest Bank and coordinated by Friends of the Palos Heights Library.

          “The entire day is packed with a lot of fun with something for attendees of all ages to enjoy,” said Laura Nieland, Palos Heights Public Library Youth and Teen Services librarian.

          The events began as soon as the library opened its doors with actress Martina Mathisen performing in period dress as Maria Moore, youngest child of famed poet Clement Clarke Moore. She discussed the true story behind his acclaimed poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” as well as the origins of many of the oldest and most beloved Christmas traditions.

The Stagg High School Madrigal Singers delighted the crowd with classic holiday songs and a family sing-a-long was led by Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz.

For kids, the fun continued with a magic show and Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt. Santa and Mrs. Claus posed for family photos. A Christmas-themed storytime, face painting and ornament-making activities also took place during the day.

“I told Santa that I want a Princess Belle Enchanted Castle and a Barbie Castle for Christmas,” Claire Brannigan, 3, of Palos Heights, proudly said.

Adults were able to soak up the holiday spirit with a sale featuring Christmas-related books and videos. Six beautiful holiday wreaths put together by library staff were raffled.

Also on Saturday, the city’s second annual Kris Kringle Market, featuring 15 local area vendors offering food, holiday crafts and more was held at the Municipal Parking Lot, in the center of the popular downtown shopping and dining district at 12217 S. Harlem Ave.

“This is an exciting time of year for us,” Mayor Straz said. “We are looking forward to getting more people into our downtown area, where we’ve added and are continuing to add more restaurants and shops. We want people to be able to visit and see Palos Heights as more of a destination location.”

And with vendors showcasing their goods, customers did see just that, including Courtney Jatho of Palos Heights.

           “I love mostly everything about this market,” Jatho, 13, said. “There is just so much stuff all in one location.”

“There is a nice variety of beautiful things and very creative vendors,” Lois Duran, of Palos Heights, agreed.

One of the vendors she pointed out as her favorite was Quality Plus Photo Design Center, located on 12240 S. Harlem Ave. From the shop, Judi Weber had a booth set up at the Kris Kringle Market, showcasing personalized photo items.

“I love the Kris Kringle Market because I get to meet so many people and network,” Weber said.

Public Santa sightings in Palos Heights and Palos Park may be over, but there are still holiday activities in store. Check out the Palos Heights Library at www.palosheightslibrary.org and the Palos Park Library at www.palosparklibrary.org for any fun activities that are still coming up on their respective calendars. In fact, if we can fit ‘em in—and we always do our best for our local libraries—we’ll spotlight a portion of their schedules elsewhere in this edition of The Regional.

And don’t forget the Palos Heights Winter Farmers Market, an opportunity to purchase a variety of items that can be given as holiday gifts. The market will be held next on Dec. 16 from 8 a.m. to noon in the Orchard Room at the Palos Heights Rec Center, 6601 S. Ridgeland Ave.

 

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