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updated: 11/12/2013 4:03 PM

Holidays get an early start with South Elgin's An Almost Winter Day

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  • Santa waves to the crowd after arriving at An Almost Winter Day at SEBA Park in South Elgin last year.

       Santa waves to the crowd after arriving at An Almost Winter Day at SEBA Park in South Elgin last year.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer, 2012

  • Sleigh rides wend through the park during An Almost Winter Day at SEBA Park in South Elgin.

       Sleigh rides wend through the park during An Almost Winter Day at SEBA Park in South Elgin.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer, 2012

  • Eight-year-old Maizy Starr of Elgin wears a Santa hat balloon while listening to Santa tell jokes during last year's An Almost Winter Day festival at South Elgin's SEBA Park.

       Eight-year-old Maizy Starr of Elgin wears a Santa hat balloon while listening to Santa tell jokes during last year's An Almost Winter Day festival at South Elgin's SEBA Park.
    BRIAN HILL | Staff Photographer

 
By Jack MacDonald
jmacdonald@dailyherald.com

It has become a tradition in South Elgin to start the holiday season early.

This year the village will once again hold An Almost Winter Day festival from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at SEBA Park in South Elgin. Admission is $2.

"We started this event back in 2001 because we wanted a winter-based event. All of the activities can be held with or without snow," said Jim Reuter, director of the South Elgin Parks and Recreation Department.

Guests can enjoy such attractions as the petting zoo, sleigh rides, craft area, s'more stations and bonfire, and children can write a letter to Santa. Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 4:30 p.m. to sing Christmas carols with the children and to receive the letters. Santa will then travel to the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the Footprints in Time Plaza.

New this year is the "chestnuts roasting on an open fire station," where visitors can do just that. But old favorites will return as well.

"One of the main attractions is the trolley ride that is held at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin," said Kim Wascher, superintendent of parks and recreation.

The ride, which requires no reservations, will take guests to Jon Duerr Forest Preserve and will feature a guest reader reading "The Polar Express" during the ride.

Wascher said another popular attraction is the bonfire and s'more station which features Christmas music playing in the background.

"Even though some attractions are more popular than others, every single one seems to have a steady line, which shows us that people really enjoy the event," Wascher said.

To help keep warm, visitors can also purchase chicken noodle soup and coffee for $2.

"The main goal of the event is to not only kick off the holiday season, but to also bring the people of the community together," Reuter said. "And with most people tending to be stressed at this time of year it is a good way for families to come out and relax and enjoy the festivities."

Wascher said An Almost Winter Day is budgeted through the village, and with the help of some donations, organizers are able to put the event on every year.

"What goes into putting on this event is truly remarkable. It takes a lot of time and planning to do. Every year we need to think of new stations, which is actually harder than it sounds," Wascher said.

For more information, visit www.southelgin.com or call (847)-622-0003.

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