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updated: 11/19/2012 6:46 PM

Winter Wonderland ushers in holiday season

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  • Santa lets Ronald McDonald know what he wants for Christmas at the 20111 Winter Wonderland.

    Santa lets Ronald McDonald know what he wants for Christmas at the 20111 Winter Wonderland.
    Lisa Haring

Lisa Haring

You better watch out! You better not cry! Santa Claus is coming to town!

The Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce, the Des Plaines Park District, and the Frisbie Senior Center will host Winter Wonderland, a two-day free, family festival, December 1 and 2, at the Frisbie Senior Center. The fest runs from 10:00am until 4:00pm on Saturday and Sunday, and features free pictures with Santa; entertainment; kids' crafts, bingo, and face painting; a Holiday Bazaar; story time; delicious food and hot cocoa; model train displays; and everyone's favorite walk-around characters: Mrs. Claus, Ronald McDonald, Kiwi the Clown, and Jewels the Clown. "Spend a few magical days with family and friends," Linda Traina, Superintendent of Recreation, said. "This is the perfect way to ring in a joyful holiday season."

Saturday's entertainment includes: 11:00am: The Maine West Choraliers; 12:00pm: Folkloric Ensemble Sol Azteca Dance Troupe; 1:00pm: Lutheran Church of Martha and Mary Bell Choir; 2:00pm: Award-winning musical humorist and balloon artist Rick Kelley; and at 3:00pm: the Des Plaines Park District's In-house Dance Company, Artistry in Motion will showcase highlights from their upcoming Winter Spectacular.

Sunday's entertainment includes: 11:00am: Magic Matt, close up magic, balloon art, and story telling; 11:45am: Hiking with Your Dog - a presentation by Sheryl Phelps, of the Siberian Huskies of Greater Chicago; 12:30pm: Children's singer entertainer, Super Stolie; 1:30pm: The O'Hare Irish Dancers, traditional jigs in authentic costumes; and at 2:30pm: the Frisbie Senior Center's Note-A-Bles will sing songs of the season.

In addition, the Siberian Iditarod dogs will be at the Fest from 11:00am until 3:30 on both days. "Bring your camera, said Phelps, "the Huskies are anything but camera shy." Also, the Des Plaines Public Library will have story time throughout the day and local artists will display beautiful hand-made holiday crafts and gifts at the Holiday Bazaar. Delicious food is available at the Cumberland Cafe and the History Center will be roasting chestnuts out in the parking lot. "In the spirit of the season, we will also have a coat and food drive to benefit the Self Help Closet and Pantry of Des Plaines," said Traina. "As we come together to celebrate, we hope that folks bring in food and clothing that will aid the many people living right here in Des Plaines who are in need."

Admission to the festival is free, parking is free, and all entertainment, games, crafts, events, and photo opportunities are free. The Frisbie Senior Center is located at 52 E. Northwest Highway in Des Plaines, one block west of Mount Prospect Road. For more information, visit or call 847-391-5700.