Again the magic in his old silk hat wafts throughout the community, spreading a festive air when Frosty the Snowman comes to West Chicago for Frosty Fest from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019, in the historic downtown district.
Pre-fest events include the Holiday Open House, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the West Chicago Public Library and the “Small Gifts of Art” exhibit from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Gallery 200 Friday, December 6. 2019. (Full details on these two events and the 5K Run are elsewhere in the column.)
An early morning start to the day begins with the Frosty Fest 5K Run/Walk at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Frosty Fest procession steps off at 4:00 p.m. from the eastern entrance to the Metra parking lot next to La Michoacana Ice Cream left on Main Street, right at Galena Street and right on High Street to Center Street. Participants are the West Chicago Police Department and Honor Guard, West Chicago Fire Protection District, Frosty, West Chicago Community High School Varsity Boys Soccer team-IHSA Class 3A State Champions, First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, Blue Frost Heating & Cooling, Lions Club train and City Council members riding in a horse-drawn wagon. Mayor Ruben Pineda, his wife Julie and the student contest winners ride in the horse-drawn carriage. Riding in a Fire District engine are Santa and Mrs. Claus.
At the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street, the mayor and winners of the student contest officially open Frosty Fest with the lighting of the community holiday tree and lights throughout the downtown area. Kramer Tree Specialists decorated the tree, donating the lights and, decorations. This is the 10th year KTS has either donated a tree and/or decorated the tree. Following the tree lighting, music fills the air with songs by the choirs from Gary and Wegner schools. Members of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, under the direction of Ron Benner, carol at various locations in the downtown area. Also at this location 3D reindeer glasses are distributed.
After this, the doors to the Community Center open for the popular cookie decorating activity providing a creative and tasty touch, plus contributing to a worthy cause. The requested donation of one dollar benefits the Neighborhood Food Pantries. FNBC Bank & Trust matches the donations. The West Chicago Park District offers craft activities here and also at the American Legion Post 300 Hall, 123 Main Street. The crafts include wreaths, wooden ornaments, snowmen and Christmas trees.
Healthy West Chicago sponsors an interactive healthy activity at Gallery Theater, 129 Main Street.
The American Legion Post 300 Hall, 123 Main Street, is a hub of activity. Members of the West Chicago Police Department serve cotton candy. In addition to crafts, there are performances by Pointe Your Toes Dance Company and Ballet Folklorico from West Chicago School District 33.
At Republic Bank, 101 Main Street, Santa and Mrs. Claus welcome children for visits to hear their Christmas wishes and give them candy canes provided by West Chicago Sister Cities. The creative “gingerbread houses” made at the Methodist church event are on display. While viewing, persons can enjoy the popcorn served by the West Chicago Lions Club and hot chocolate served by the West Chicago Rotary Club.
Drawing on the creative aspect, the “Small Gifts of Art” exhibit is at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street. Performing are the Mariachi los Rayos de Leman Middle School. Demonstrating are Kathi Kuchler, water colors; Margaret Bucholz, colored pencils; and Nadine Buck, rosemal painting.
Creativity, combined with some history, is part of the scene at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street. It begins with the scavenger hunt, where persons visiting the various locations receive a snowball and return to the Museum to build a snowman. So often our thoughts turn to memories of home during the holidays and this fits in perfectly with the current exhibit, “Home.”
Twinkling lights cast the perfect glow on the outside activities. WeGo Wildcats Softball team have an outdoor active area. Renowned ice sculptor Joe Gagnepain portrays his artistic talent, using his chainsaw as a paintbrush to create a holiday masterpiece. The live reindeer display captivates the hearts of adults and children. Giving out warmth for the winter season, Blue Frost Heating gives away winter gloves. Another source of heat is free coffee from Kindred Coffee Roasters, an event sponsored by the City of West Chicago. Capturing the old-fashioned charm of the community, horse-drawn wagon rides travel in the nearby historical residential neighborhood, starting at Galena and Main streets.
As the evening ends, all can return home with the magical memories of Frosty Fest 2019 dancing in their heads. (www.merleburl.com)
AROUND AND ABOUT
The artwork in the West Chicago Public Library Creative Corridor for the month December has a holiday theme. The display on the wall is a collection of holiday-themed canvas paintings by Axel Valle, a student at Oak Park and River Forest High School. His work shows ” beloved characters” he watched in his younger years, but, in some cases, reimagined to winter themes. Two of the paintings are “Studio Ghibli” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” The others are more obscure and abstract. (www.merlebur.com)
In the display case are 20 of the delightful nutcrackers from the collection of West Chicago resident Jacqualine Kufer. The nutcrackers vary in size and shape, and most brng a smile to one’s face. Her collection consists of more than 200 nutcrackers she has collected from the United States and around the world. Kufer also has a card with a QR code for patrons to scan, which takes them to website to download the files for a 3D printed nutcracker. Omar Nunez, Library Public Relations Specialist, said, ”If patrons would like to make use of our 3D printer, they can have a librarian show them how to make their 3D printed nutcracker a reality.” (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Public Library, 118 West Washington Street, hosts its annual Holiday Open House from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2019. This year, the theme is “An Old Fashioned Holiday.” Bringing back memories of the past, the activities include games, crafts, refreshments, visits with Mrs. Kringle and the Canterbury Carollers. The Canterbury Carollers is a Victorian caroling ensemble which began in 1987. Attired in authentic period costume, the group is a live tableau of Victorian England and its strolling carolers. Members of the current groups are Andrew Thies, Alan Weiger, Daniel Miller, Chris Roe, Lisa Wukitsch, Susan Eastwood, Lisa Miller and Debbie Lee. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago District 33 Board of Education selected Kristina Davis as the next District Superintendent, which came at the conclusion of a search with BWP and Associates that included more than 30 applicants. A Meet & Greet is from 6:00 to 6:45 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2019, at the Educational Service Center, 312 East Forest Avenue. Davis received a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Spanish and concentration in Business and Translation from Northern Illinois University. She went on to earn a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Educational Specialist degree with a Superintendent endorsement. Currently, she is working to complete her Doctorate from NIU. Davis started her educational career more than 20 years ago as a bilingual teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal and Assistant Director before she landed a position in West Chicago District 33. For the past 10 years she served as the Director of Second Language Learning and Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. She was appointed as the Interim Superintendent in June of 2019. Davis takes on her new position as Superintendent Sunday, December 1, 2019. (www.merleburl.com)
Benjamin School District 25 holds its Annual Holiday Bazaar from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2019 and from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 7, 2019, in the large gym at Evergreen School, 1041 Evergreen Drive in Carol Stream. Breakfast with Santa is held during the same hour as the bazaar on Saturday.
As part of First Fridays in West Chicago, the City Museum, 132 Main Street, hosts a Candlelight Christmas during its Late Night at the City Museum from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2019. Attendees can enjoy historic traditions and refreshments by candlelight.
Also participating in First Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. December 6, 2019, is Kindred Coffee Roasters, 148 West Washington Street. The artwork is historic community photographs on loan from the West Chicago City Museum. These will be on display during the month of December.
“Small Gifts of Art” is the exhibit at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street, for the month of December. The artwork of the featured artists is perfect for holiday gifts, plus reasonably priced. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, December 6, 2019.
Participating artists Margaret Bucholz, original paintings and prints; Marge Hall, oil paintings and ornaments; Lou Jacobson, ornaments and cards (watercolor); Kathi Kuchler, scarves, jewelry and paintings; Britta Renwick, jewelry, painted tea lights, painted wine glasses and cement planters; Sue Tripp, fused glass; and Marita Valdizan, wire crochet art and ornaments.
Gallery hours are from noon to 6:00 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 8:00 p.m. Fridays, and from noon to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Also during Frosty Fest, there are three art demonstrations from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019. (www.merleburl.com)
Kairos Show at Wheaton Academy is at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7, 2019, in the White Chapel, 900 North Prince Crossing Road. The talent show is produced by the students in the Academy’s international program. Admission price is $5. (www.merleburl.com)
Registration for the 2019 Frosty Fest 5K Run/Walk is now open online at https://raceroster.com/events/2019/26751/frosty-5k-and-kids-fun-run or on the City’s website, https://westchicago.org/city-events/frosty-fest/. On line registration deadline is Friday, December 6. Presented by the City of West Chicago and Healthy West Chicago, the event takes place Saturday, December 7, 2019, starting in Turner Court. Packet pick-up and registration is at 7:30 p.m. and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. The free Kids Fun Walk, a 200-yard dash down Turner Court for children age 10 and under, begins at approximately 9:30 a.m. For further information, call Special Events Coordinator Bethany Bayci at (630) 293-2200, extension 176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road, holds its ninth annual Cookie Bazaar from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019. The cost is $9 for a one-pound box and $17 for a two-pound box of cookies. Santa is present for picture taking. A portion of the proceeds benefits Neighborhood Food Pantries at 123 Fremont Street. For further information, call the church office at (630) 231-3787. (www.merleburl.com)
The Station, the youth group at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, hosts its seventh annual Christmas Candy Cottage Workshop from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019, at the Church, 643 East Washington Street. Families make a “house” to take home. The $10 charge per house includes pre-shaped gingerbread, frosting and candy. Proceeds benefit DuPage PADS. For further information, call the church at (630) 231-3344 or visit www.firstumcucc.org. (www.merleburl.com)
The winners of the 2019 Frosty Fest student contest are Leman Middle School sixth grader Kezziah Depaz in the category of mixed media, Gary School fourth grader in the category of essay and Turner School second grader Nichols Allen in the category of art.
The student contest was for youths in first through sixth grades and was based upon the idea of “different cultures celebrate different holidays throughout the winter season.” The three questions were: How does your family celebrate winter holidays? What are some food, decorations and traditions you do to celebrate?; and What is your favorite part about this holiday? The answers to these questions could be answered through a short essay, a work of art or a mixed media piece. The winners received a holiday prize basket, a ride in the Mayor’s carriage during the parade and honored on stage during the tree lighting ceremony during Frosty Fest, Saturday, December 7, 2019. The display of all student submissions is at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street.
WeGo Drama at West Chicago Community High School presents a Holiday Sing-a-Long to the movie “White Christmas” at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet St. Ticket price is $10. Tickets are available at the door or on line at www.wegotheatre.com.
In addition to the showing of the movie, which is a fun time for all ages, there are treats and games. Included among the activities are an Ugly Sweater contest, a 50/50 raffle and the appearance of surprise guests.
Wego Drama is representing the community, state, and United States as part of the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The World’s Largest Performing Arts Festival. Proceeds from this event assist with the expenses for this experience. (www.merleburl.com)
Although Norris-Segert Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 132 Fremont Street, is not hosting a Tree of Memory service, the two trees displaying more than 700 ornaments bought by families and friends in memory of loved ones who have died are available for persons to view. Persons wanting to place ornaments on the tree may register from Saturday, December 7, through Tuesday, December 31, 2019.
Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts a Christmas Celebration from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8, 2019. The event includes special music, international food, free gift, children’s activities, crafts and World Relief drive. To meet the needs of newly arrived refugees this Christmas, persons are asked to bring an unwrapped donation. Items needed are diapers, baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, first-aid kits, Forever stamps, bath towels, clothing hangers and cookware sets.
The Holiday Choral Concert of West Chicago Community High School is at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8, 2019, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Performing are the Honors A Capella Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Mixed Chorus and Women’s Choral under the direction of Brandon Fantozzi. Songs include “Making Christmas” from a “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Home for the Holidays,” a Gospel arrangement of “Joy to the World,” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” “Please Come Home for Christmas” and two holiday songs sung by all the choirs combined. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago resident Louise Handel is a performer in the DuPage Chorale and DuPage Chorale Orchestra Concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 8, 2019, in Belushi Hall in the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Boulevard in Glen Ellyn. The ticket price is $17, $14 for senior citizens and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the door.
Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers hour-long computer classes for senior citizens, 27W031 North Avenue. Not only do seniors learn basic skills, but also have the opportunity to socialize. The fee is $2. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (630) 231-7166. Beginner classes are at 1:00 p.m. Tuesdays. “Shopping on Amazon” class is at 4:00 p.m. Monday, December 9, 2019.
People Made Visible and Gallery 200 sponsor a Community Art Show during the month of January 2020 at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street. Any adult West Chicago community member can submit two of their artworks for inclusion in the show through the following form, https://form.jotform.com/93015103651142. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, December 10, 2019, and all artists will be notified of inclusion no later than Sunday, December 15, 2019, with art work drop off scheduled for Thursday December 19 through Saturday, December 21. 2019. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, January 17.
The artwork displayed may be offered for sale to the public with a 5% commission charged on any sales to support future art events at Gallery 200.. For further information, email Sara Phalen at email@example.com.
WeGo Wildcats Special Olympics Club basketball game is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at Hubble Middle School, 3S6000 Herrick Road in Warrenville
Two of the schools in West Chicago Elementary School District 33 have musical concerts on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.The concert at Gary School, 130 East Forest Avenue, is at 1:00 p.m. and the one at Turner School, 750 Ingalton, is at 2:00 p.m.
Benjamin Middle School, 28W250 St. Charles Road, Band/Choir Concert is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
Wheaton Academy Christmas Concert is at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, December 11, and 12, 2019, in the Fine Arts Building, 900 North Prince Crossing Road. The concert showcases all of the instrumental and vocal performance ensembles.
West Chicago Park District’s monthly social activity for senior citizens is at noon Thursday, December 12, 2019, at the ARC, 201 National Street. For the holiday celebration, the District provides herb roasted loin of pork, whipped sweet potatoes, roasted root vegetables with balsamic and honey, steamed corn with butter and dinner rolls. Guests bring a $5 or under gift, wrapped in holiday wrappings for a new gift exchange game. Guests also can bring a holiday dessert, if they wish. The charge is $11 for residents and $13 for non-residents. Reservations are due by Thursday, December 5, and may be made online at www.we-goparks.org or in person at the ARC.
Norton Creek Elementary School Winter Band Concert is at 6:30 p.m. at St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road.
The West Chicago Park District holds Drop N’ Shop events from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays December 13, and December 20, 2019, at The ARC, 201 West National Street. Sign up is required a week in advance. The charge is $20 per child for residents and $24 for non-residents. Parents drop off their children for an evening of fun in the gym and Treehouse, which includes a G-rated movie and cheese pizza. It is for children age 2 and older. To register, visit The ARC in person or online at www.we-goparks.org.
The United Methodist Men and Women host the 20th annual Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, December 14, 2019, at the Church, 643 East Washington Street. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, and beverage. The ticket price is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, $3 for children age 12 and under, and $20 for a family of two adults and three or more children. Pictures with Santa are $5. This is a wonderful tradition for families, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and/or a group of friends. Proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Food Pantry at 123 Fremont Street. Tickets may be purchased at the door or call the church office at (630) 231-3344.
We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center, 1055 West Washington Street hosts its annual Holiday Open House from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 14, 2019. Items for sale include the unique table top reindeer, poinsettias, Christmas planters, house plants and succulents, and home crafts fashioned by the team members. Refreshments are served. Orders for table top reindeer need to be placed by Sunday, December 9, by calling (630) 231-0100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Aboard for the North Pole Adventure held by the West Chicago Park District with trains departing from the West Chicago Metra Station, 508 Main Street. Departure times for the two-hour rides are at 1:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Saturday, December 14, and Sunday, December 15, 2019. The charge is $20 for residents and $25 for non-residents. On the ride, persons hear the story of “The Polar Express,” sing songs and meet Santa. Each guest receives a drink, cookies and a gift from Santa. All registrations must be in advance. To make a reservation visit www.we-goparks.org or in person at the ARC, 201 West National Street. (www.merleburl.com)
The Twelfth Annual Holiday Celebration for the Community, sponsored by American Legion Post 300 and Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 6791, is Saturday, December 14, 2019, at Legion Hall, 123 Main Street. Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner, catered by Pal Joey’s, at 7:00 p.m. Providing the entertainment is a DJ. Door prizes and raffles add to the fun of the evening. Cash only bar. The American Legion is the organizer this year. Ticket price is $20, $35 for a couple, $10 for children age 12 and under, no charge for children age 2 and under. Purchase tickets in advance at the Legion or the VFW, 1431 North Neltnor Boulevard. The event is open to the public. For further information call (630) 231-2112.
West Chicago Fire Protection District promotes holiday decoration safety through the “Keep the Wreath Red” program. The wreaths are on display at all three stations, 200 Fremont Street, 1651 Atlantic Drive and 1800 Commerce Drive. Red bulbs on the wreaths are replaced with a white bulb if the cause of a fire is holiday-related. During the 30-plus years of participation in the program of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the wreaths have remained red most of the time. Precautionary measures for a live Christmas tree involve checking the water level on a regular basis and placing it and other greens away from a heat source, with the latter step also applying to artificial trees and greens. Locate candles in safe locations, away from window treatments and evergreens. NEVER leave candles unattended in a room; keep them out of reach of children and pets. With the use of battery-operated flickering tea candles and tapers, persons can have the warmth and festive aura in a safe manner.
Biscuits and Gravy Cafe, 110 South Neltnor Boulevard, recently opened its doors. Serving breakfast and lunch, it is open from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The location is in the shopping center behind Egg Yolk. (www.merleburl.com)
Both of the veterans organizations hold fundraisers, with some of the monies going toward community projects. Bingo games at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard, are on Wednesdays. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., games start at 7:00 p.m. The Auxiliary games are Sundays. Doors open at noon, games start at 3:00 p.m. American Legion Post 300 has a fish fry Wednesdays and Fridays, plus special meals on Thursdays.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Gloria B. (Wallander) Riendeau, who at the age or 89 passed away Wednesday, November 27, 2019.
Frain Group recently installed its sign on the old General Mills building on West Washington Street. Tom Dabareiner, City Community Development Director, said, “They have been operating out of the distribution center for some time. They have not indicated plans for the remainder of the property.” Frain Group, headquartered in Carol Stream, purchased General Mills property in June 2018. Frain is a leading, single-source provider of new and like-new packaging and processing machinery.
Jeff Cisowski, a 2005 graduate of West Chicago Community High School, is the author of “God Meant It for Good: The True Story of an American Boy in the Hitler Youth.” (www.merleburl.com)
Incorporating the City’s 2019 theme “The Year of the Butterfly” into the design of the Community Holiday tree, members of the community decorated butterflies as ornaments during a painting project, sponsored by the City, Kramer Tree Services and People Made Visible, Friday, November 22, at Gallery 200. These are smaller versions of the wooden butterflies that were on display in the community. Kramer Tree Services provided pizza and salad for the volunteers. The business placed the 20 hand-painted ornaments on the community tree, which they decorate each year. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Community High School students donated more than 1,500 cans of food during the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America can drive for Neighborhood Food Pantries located at 123 Fremont Street. Grade level results were sophomores-647 cans, seniors-403 cans, freshmen-290 cans and juniors-212 cans. The total for last year was 940 cans.
FCCLA is a national Career and technical Student Organization that provides personal growth, leadership development, and career preparation opportunities for students in Family and Consumer Science education. (www.merleburl.com)
Several firefighters of the West Chicago Fire Protection District participated in a 40-hour State of Illinois Vehicle and Machine Technician course taught through the Romeoville Fire Academy. Fire Deputy Chief Tim Leidig explained, “The course teaches skills in rescuing victims involved in vehicle accidents with large vehicles such as buses, trucks, and other industrial vehicles and victims trapped in industrial machines, conveyor belts and other equipment.” He added, “The Crusher is always a supportive partner in these types of classes, providing all the props for the class and the training facilities to do all the skills and scenarios required for this class.” The Crusher, Inc., 651 West Washington Street, is a scrap metal recycling business. (www.merleburl.com)
The DuPage County Board recognized the 2019 IHSA Boys Soccer Class 3A State Champion Wildcats from West Chicago Community High School at its meeting Tuesday, November 25, 2019. There was a Proclamation in their honor presented by Board Chairman Dan Cronin. Speaking at the meeting were Head Soccer Coach Jose Villa, District 6 Board Member Shiela Rutledge and Mayor Ruben Pineda. Also the team and and their Head Coach Jose Villa visited Leman Middle School Tuesday, November 19, touring the school and visiting all the sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes. (www.merleburl.com)
After nine weeks of classes, Citizens Police Academy participants graduated Tuesday, November 20, 2019. They learned everything from the requirements needed to be a police officer to how to respond to an active shooter situation. This included power point presentations, guest lectures and experiencing some intense hands on activities. (www.merleburl.com)
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