Bloomingdale opens its Festival of Lights on Friday night
Darkness will give way to a twinkling infusion of multicolored lights Friday in Bloomingdale.
The village's holiday tree, along with lights strung across the Old Town piazza, will shine for the first time this season at 6:30 p.m. when the switch is thrown by Mayor Franco Coladipietro and park district President Buzz Puccio. The tree, which was more than 50 years old, was donated by Woodland Windows & Doors and the Mariotti family.
"We light up the tree and the entire Old Town Park. The park itself will have all sorts of lighted figures and trees," said Village Administrator Pietro Scalera.
The event opens the village's sixth annual Festival of Lights, a celebration presented by the village, park district and Bloomingdale Chamber of Commerce. It's the third year for the Old Town Park location, Scalera said.
"We wanted to light up Old Town Park for the community," said Carrie Fullerton, park district executive director.
The display continues through the holiday season and special events are scheduled for several other dates.
Fullerton said new this year is the addition of a Dec. 9 candy cane hunt and a Snow Art Day Dec. 16.
But Friday night establishes the celebratory mood.
Festivities include a visit from Santa from 7 to 8:30 p.m. accompanied by a live reindeer or two from his trusty sleigh-pulling team. A raffle-winner will get a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park with Santa.
Free carriage rides, carrying a maximum of two adults and four children, will be available in the park Friday without reservations. The park district is accepting reservations, which can be made via the website, for free carriage rides available from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8, 15 and 21, Fullerton said.
A disc jockey will provide holiday-themed music Friday night. And the chamber will provide maps of ice sculptures sponsored by member businesses decorating the Old Town Bloomingdale area.
From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, the chamber will distribute 300 shopping tote bags stuffed with coupons and giveaways, Fullerton said, and host an open house.
Free train rides for children will be available from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday under the Old Town Park pavilion.
This Friday also will feature the Kris Kringle Market from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on the piazza.
"We're going to have some food vendors there. We're going to have craft vendors there," Scalera said. "Our hope is that every year we will add to it."
Holiday décor, winter gear, hand-painted ornaments, baked goods, roasted chestnuts, and warm beverages will be available, he said, and Alcentro Trattoria will serve mini pizzas and sandwiches.
A short walk away from the park, at 108 S. Bloomingdale Road, the park district museum will present a Lego display featuring model trains from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, along with children's crafts and complimentary refreshments.
Visitors also can see the holiday show and Lego display through Dec. 30 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
On Dec. 2, the museum will feature costumed characters from the Disney movie "Frozen" from 1 to 4 p.m. Crafts, games, story time, photos and autographs will be available.
Scalera said the Festival of Lights usually draws between 600 and 1,000 visitors.
Festival of Lights Opening NightWhen: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30
Where: Old Town Park, 3rd and Franklin streets, Bloomingdale
Info: www.bloomingdaleparks.org or www.villageofbloomingdale.org