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updated: 11/28/2012 2:48 PM

Downtown Lombard adds activities to Jinglebell Jubilee

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  • Lilacia Park will become festive and bright at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, during the seventh annual Jinglebell Jubilee holiday festival.

       Lilacia Park will become festive and bright at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, during the seventh annual Jinglebell Jubilee holiday festival.
    Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

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The shops and eateries of downtown Lombard will be making their presence felt more than ever during the seventh annual Jinglebell Jubilee holiday tree-lighting festival, organizers say.

A gingerbread house decorating station and live performances in several store windows of scenes from "The Nutcracker" ballet will join sales, promotions and refreshments at many businesses during the festive event from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

The village's downtown promotion organization, Lombard Town Centre, is increasing activities downtown during Jinglebell Jubilee on the advice of late Village President Bill Mueller.

"He really wanted downtown to lead as much as anyone else," said Colleen Whittington, publicity chairwoman with Lombard Town Centre. "He was really instrumental in encouraging us to build on Jinglebell Jubilee."

Ballet scenes at six downtown shops are a new addition to the festival, and students from The Dance Center at 9 N. Main St. will perform them live from 1 to 3 p.m.

"People can stroll from store to store and look inside the windows and see a live performance going on," Whittington said.

Lombard Town Centre Executive Director Michelle Iwinski said dancers have requested about 10 feet of space at the front of each store to perform their skits. Music from each scene also will be played, adding audio to the visual spectacle.

"To me, that means they're planning to twirl, spin, leap," she said. "I think it's going to be just darling with these little girls and boys dancing in the windows."

Visitors to the area of Main Street and St. Charles Road also can decorate a gingerbread house at Sweet Street Candies and Goodies, 17 W. St. Charles Road, for just $1, Whittington said.

"That's one thing I always enjoyed as a kid was the gingerbread decorating," Whittington said.

While organizers hope the holiday spirit begins building in downtown Lombard, the focus of the event will shift to tree-lighting later in the afternoon.

The Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry sponsors Santa's arrival by fire truck to light the village's main tree at the southwest corner of Main Street and St. Charles Road, in the plaza outside the 7-Eleven. Santa will appear at 5:15 p.m. and light the tree at 5:30 p.m.

And not long after that tree is lit, all of Lilacia Park at 150 S. Park Ave. will become festive and bright.

"At 6 p.m., we have a formal countdown and light up the whole park," said Jackie Brzezinski, administrative assistant with the Lombard Park District.

The park will be open until 8 p.m. featuring visits with Santa, train rides for kids, a winter clothing drive to benefit several Lombard-area charities and a holiday light recycling drive for those bulbs that just don't sparkle and shine anymore.

"We're bringing back the holiday light recycling program because we had such success with that" last year, Brzezinski said.

Visitors can take a free horse-drawn carriage ride along Park Avenue on Lilacia Park's eastern edge and stop inside Lombard Bible Church at the corner of Park and Parkside avenues for hot chocolate and a bit of warmth, said Jennifer Amling, marketing coordinator at the Helen Plum Memorial Library.

"The Lombard Historical Society provides a volunteer on the carriage rides who leads Christmas Carols with jingle bells so you can sing to keep warm," Amling said.

Inside, the library will host more singing, with three mini-concerts by the Madrigal singers from Glenbard East High School beginning about 6:15 p.m. in the basement auditorium. About 700 people attended last year's concerts.

All Jinglebell Jubilee activities are free. For details, visit lombardtowncentre.org and click on Jinglebell Jubilee under the "events" menu.

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