A large crowd of children and their parents sang "Jingle Bells" as they followed Santa Claus waving from a Gurnee police ATV through the halls of Gurnee Mills Thursday.
Santa's Arrival Parade was a kickoff for the holiday season, where Santa navigated around the mall before arriving at the Macy's Wing Dining Pavilion.
"This is the first time that we've done an event quite like this, a Santa Arrival Parade. The goal was to bring some cheer and kick off the holiday season," said Gurnee Mills marketing director Elizabeth Striegel. "The kids seemed to really enjoy it. To see the kids' faces light up when they see Santa is magical."
After the parade, children sat and listened to Santa while he read the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," often called "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Various merry activities are planned at Gurnee Mills through Christmas Eve, including time with Santa where children can tell him their gift wishes and capture photo memories from the Simon Santa Photo Experience.
Children can visit with Santa anytime during Gurnee Mills' hours of operations.