The northeast corner of Dundee Road and Milwaukee Avenue was alive with light Sunday night as the village of Wheeling celebrated its annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony, "Lights Around Wheeling," in Friendship Park.
The event was not only festive, but free, giving Wheeling residents a chance to get to know their neighbors while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies and listening to live music provided by the Wheeling High School band and the Spring Valley Chorus.
And with bitterly cold temperatures, the cocoa came in handy.
For the younger visitors, a kiddie train from Great Kiddie Express offered some youthful thrills.
The event was capped by the tree-lighting ceremony, as Village President Dean Argiris and 12-year-old Christian Scanlon did the honors. Christian, who had a brain tumor removed and is undergoing chemotherapy, was given a fundraiser earlier this year in which the village participated.
Christian said he felt "awesome and a little nervous" in taking part in the tree-lighting.
His father, Dave Scanlon, said his son is doing well and is about to enter Lutheran General for more treatment.
"Hopefully he gets his hunger back by Thanksgiving," he said.
Argiris said the annual tree-lighting "brings the community together."
"You see a lot of faces you haven't seen in a long time," he added. "It's cold but I think everybody feels pretty good about it."