Western Springs kicks off holiday season in style
Children line up to see magician, Frank Alletto from Western Springs during the annual Christmas Walk. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:09AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — Kids running around without coats, talented musicians and festive holiday trees kept onlookers amused.
The Tower Green was packed with families enjoying new festivities during the annual Western Springs Christmas Walk, featuring treats from downtown businesses to kick off the holiday season.
The park was lined with additional trees lit up and decorated by community groups. Lyons Township High School students wearing Santa hats performed “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “We Three Kings” in a brass and woodwind ensemble.
A second group of LT students sang Christmas carols a capella on the park’s west side, where a horse-drawn carriage stopped to give visitors a ride.
Laney Antkiewicz, 11, and a sixth-grader at McClure Junior High School, said petting the horse was different than she expected.
“It was really kind of scratchy,” Laney said. “I haven’t taken a ride on the carriage yet, but it looks fun.”
Members of two Boy Scout troops tended covered fire pits but didn’t have much to do to keep children from getting too close on an afternoon with temperatures soaring into the 50s.
Tim Mikulski, 13, a member of Troop 3 at All Saints Episcopal Church, said he also appreciated the chance to roast chestnuts over the fire in a grilling basket.
“You put them over the fire for about a minute, then take them out and shake them around,” Mikulski explained. “Then do that two more times. It’s the first time I ever had roasted chestnuts. I like them.”
Scott McNaughton said the afternoon was the perfect way to start the holidays with his family and visiting relatives.
“This is amazing, look at the turnout,” McNaughton said. “The kids are ecstatic and the parents are happy to be out of the house for the day. What more could you ask for.”
DJ Dalis Santiago, who played a variety of Christmas standards during the afternoon, handed the microphone over to organizer John Montalto as he announced Santa’s imminent arrival.
“This was his vision to have the fire pits, chestnuts and the carolers,” Santigao said of Montalto’s efforts. “It’s a whole 180 degree turn from last year with more going on.”
At 4:45 p.m., siren blared and lights flashed on a fire tuck trimmed in lights and evergreen boughs, followed by two Fire Department vehicles riding along Hillgrove Avenue and then Burlington Avenue. Santa waved from the back of the fire truck.
And as the guest of honor stepped off the truck to light the village’s holiday tree, Western Springs never looked more festive.