Lake in the Hills marks annual tree festival Friday

  • Santa Claus greets a crowd gathered to welcome him after arriving on a firetruck for the 2011 Festival of Trees and Santa Ride In at Lake in the Hills village hall. This year's festival kicks off Friday.

      Santa Claus greets a crowd gathered to welcome him after arriving on a firetruck for the 2011 Festival of Trees and Santa Ride In at Lake in the Hills village hall. This year's festival kicks off Friday. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Toby Bastin, 4, and his mom Christine, of Lake in the Hills, admire a holiday tree decorated with doughnuts by the Lake in the Hills Police Department during the 2011 Festival of Trees and Santa Ride In at village hall. This year's festival kicks off Friday.

      Toby Bastin, 4, and his mom Christine, of Lake in the Hills, admire a holiday tree decorated with doughnuts by the Lake in the Hills Police Department during the 2011 Festival of Trees and Santa Ride In at village hall. This year's festival kicks off Friday. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted12/3/2015 7:00 AM

Lake in the Hills will mark its annual Festival of Trees Friday by transforming village hall into a winter wonderland.

The village parks and recreation department spearheads the event, which is one of the year's largest food drives to help local food pantries bring Christmas cheer to area residents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Last year, we had close to 300 participants," said Kristi Brewer, recreation supervisor.

Organizers collected 1,800 pounds of food last year, which was donated to the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Interfaith Food Pantry.

This year's Festival of Trees will kick off with a traditional Santa Ride-In on Friday. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. to perform the tree-lighting ceremony, then stay to hear the Christmas wishes of little girls and boys.

Spectators can view the decorated trees on display behind village hall near the new veteran's monument. They also can vote for their favorite tree by placing nonperishable food or household items into donation bins inside village hall, 600 Harvest Gate, starting this week through Dec. 18. Items collected during this event will be donated to local food pantries.

"This year, we have the option of a memorial tree in honor (of a veteran). We did receive one tree donated from the American Legion," Brewer said.

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Businesses and organizations also could purchase a tree and donate it for the festival, while a nonprofit group decorates it. The trees stay on village property for the holiday season.

Event sponsors include Primrose School of Algonquin, Buffalo Wild Wings, HR Green, Inc, Blue Skies Flying Service, Adams Collison Center, U Paint It 2 Create It Ceramics, Burke's Tree Service, Lake in the Hills American Legion Post No. 1231, Century 21 Affiliated, Autumn Leaves of Crystal Lake, Triple 7 Illinois LLC, McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller, PRO Martial Arts, Famous Dave's of Algonquin, LA JR Golden Eagles Cheerleading, Frey Orthodontics, Lake in the Hills Sanitary District, KHits 104.3, Trader Joes' of Algonquin and Mane in Heaven.

"We have a number of sponsors that are going to be at the event," Brewer said. "We will have a Dixieland band, Sinful Saints, playing some Christmas music."

Children also can participate in the "Merry & Bright Flashlight Night!" during the festival. For a $5 fee, children ages 2 to 8 years old can enjoy stories, snacks, a craft and a flashlight search for treats and reindeer feet. A parent must accompany all children, who are asked to bundle up and bring a flashlight from home.

Preregistration is preferred, but night of event registration also will be accepted with payment by cash or check only.

For more information, call the parks and recreation department at (847) 960-7460 or visit lith.org.

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