Naperville officially ushered in the holiday Saturday with the Little Friends Parade of Lights, which for the first time wound through the heart of the city's downtown.
"Right up Main Street," said Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, which co-sponsors the annual Hometown Holidays celebration.
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"Each year we try to add a new twist to make it bigger and better," Wood said of the event which occurred a week later than it has in the past to better accommodate residents.
From the front porch of their home, Tom and Eve Hushek and a dozen or so friends had a prime spot from which to view the decked-out floats, marching Cub Scouts, dancers, and vehicles adorned with lights, all of which passed within yards of their front door.
The couple say they've enjoyed the parade since moving to Naperville two years ago.
"We've had beautiful weather each year. We think it's because we moved here," joked Eve Hushek.
"It's always a lot of fun," added Tom Hushek, who says the highlight for him was being serenaded by choral students from Waubonsie Valley High School.
"It was spectacular," he said.
Naperville residents enjoying the festivities also included best friends Sara Corazzelli and Julia Springer, who sported a blinking red Rudolph nose.
Both 8-year-old girls agreed their favorite part of the parade was the dancers, described by Sara's father as "mini Rockettes."
A trolley filled with musicians playing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" preceded Santa and Mrs. Claus, whose appearance on the last float signaled the end of the parade, but not the end of the party.
"People dancing and celebrating, that just feels right," said Wood. "It feels like Naperville."