Downtown West Chicago will be transformed into a winter wonderland on Saturday, December 1, 2012 when the City of West Chicago, along with its community partners and volunteers, present Frosty Fest from 4:00 -- 7:00 p.m.
The City's annual winter festival will offer activities for all ages and will include a new Gingerbread House Contest. Entries will be accepted in youth, teen and adult categories with ribbons awarded for first, second and third place by a distinguished panel of judges on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 W. Washington Street. To showcase the talent and creative efforts of the community, all entries will then be on display in the window of T.J. Maintenance, 113 Main Street, during Frosty Fest. Additional information and a registration form may be found at www.westchicago.org under News on the home page.
Frosty Fest will step off at 4:00 p.m. on December 1, 2012 with a procession beginning at 540 Main Street and heading west to the official tree lighting ceremony at the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. Procession participants, led by the Boy Scout Troop #33 color guard, will include Frosty, Gingerbread Man, the Community High School Wildcat mascot, the West Chicago Library District's Young Adult Council and the City's elected officials riding in a horse drawn trolley. Winners of the City's essay contest will accompany Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda in a horse drawn carriage. Santa and Mrs. Claus will conclude the procession by arriving in the historic "General" fire engine provided by the West Chicago Fire Protection District.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, the Community High School Chamber Choir, led by Brandon Fantozzi, will perform songs of the season while crowds gather in anticipation of Santa's arrival. The tree lighting ceremony will mark the official start of the downtown festivities at approximately 4:30 p.m. This year's tree has been donated by the Villela family of West Chicago. It stands 30 feet high and has been delivered and decorated by Kramer Tree Specialists.
The Fox Community Center, which will double as a warming center, will open to the public at 4:45 p.m. following the tree lighting ceremony. Treats available to the public will include free popcorn, provided by the Lions Club and free hot cocoa, provided by the Rotary Club. For a minimum donation of $1.00, children will be able to decorate sugar cookies with frostings, sprinkles and candies. The cookie decorating activity will be made possible through donations by Parra's Bakery and State Bank of Illinois, with all proceeds being donated to Neighborhood Food Pantry in West Chicago.
Children's activities to be provided by the West Chicago Park District will also begin at 4:45 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 123 Main Street, and will include make-and-take crafts and the always anticipated visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (Parents are encouraged to bring cameras as no professional photographers are present.) Entertainment will be provided by the Park District School of Dance at 5:00 p.m. followed by the Community Choir at 5:30 p.m.
Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, will feature the "Wonderful & Wearable" Exhibit and Sale by local jewelry and accessory artists in time for holiday gift giving. One-of-a-kind treasures available for purchase will include hand-tooled sterling silver jewelry, knitted and crotched hats and scarves, purses created using repurposed items and more. Member artists will be on hand for demonstrations, including Britta Renwick with necklaces from 5:00 -- 6:00 p.m. and Buddy Plumlee with watercolor Christmas cards from 6:00 -- 7:00 p.m. Ornaments handcrafted by member artists will also be available for sale.
The City Museum, 132 Main Street, will offer a youth craft activity and multiple exhibits based on history. The "Rites of Passage" exhibit will continue, which looks at the pivotal events which are milestones on life's journey, such as birth, graduation and retirement and includes hands-on activities for children. A preview of the upcoming summer exhibit "Sweet Home Chicago" will feature details about historic local candy shops/ factories as well as current day "sweets" businesses. West Chicago's Sister Cities members will also be available to interpret their display of items relating to German Christmas traditions.
Downtown businesses will add to the festive atmosphere by participating in the annual Window Decorating Contest. Visitors to Frosty Fest will be able to vote for their favorite window using ballots found at the Fox Community Center, the City Museum and the American Legion Hall. From the ballots entered, one winner will be randomly chosen for a $25 grocery gift certificate to Carnicerias Jimenez.
Outdoor activities will be located throughout the downtown. Free horse-drawn trolley rides will board outside of the Fox Community Center and follow a luminary-lit path through the historic district. Renowned ice sculpture artist Joe Gagnepain will be located at 204 Main Street, working throughout the evening to turn a plain block of ice into a gingerbread man. Live reindeer will make an appearance with their elf handlers and Victorian Carolers will be heard singing traditional Christmas carols outdoors and in warming centers and businesses throughout the downtown.
Earlier in the day, the Library will host its annual Holiday Cheer Open House from 2:00 -- 4:00 p.m. The public is invited for free refreshments and choral music by the Community High School Chamber Choir at 2:00 p.m. followed by Wheaton Academy's Kantorei at 3:00 p.m.
For additional information, contact Krista Coltrin at (630) 293-2200 ext. 135. A complete schedule of events can be found on the City of West Chicago's website at www.westchicago.org.