Glenview Holiday in the Park & Parade returns in its traditional form, drawing thousands
Roughly 5,000 people came out to celebrate Glenview's Holiday in the Park & Parade, which was a hit.
"It was amazing," said Meghan Kearney, executive director of the Glenview Chamber of Commerce, which organized the 25th running of the event over the weekend.
"I think the weather was really nice, so the weather brought more people out than normal. It was just nice to see so many people, friends and neighbors," she said.
The parade began at 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, ran down Glenview Road and culminated at Jackman Park, where families could enjoy a horse-drawn hayride, kiddie train, hot cocoa, cookies and popcorn, and have a sit-down with Santa Claus.
Glenview resident Kate Shudy and her two young daughters, Madison and Sloane, were among the many who got a kick out of it.
"They are both really excited and glad to be back celebrating the holidays again with the return of the Christmas Parade," Shudy said.
There were 34 groups or floats, including five performing groups, who joined the half-mile parade under mild weather. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Saturday was the first performance this year by the Glenbrook South Marching Titans, Kearney said.
Last year's holiday effort was a reverse parade that drew around 20 stationary floats and was limited to 500 cars able to drive up and see them.
"A little different feel," Kearney said.
At Jackman Park, a kiddie train cruised the parking lot. People went on hayrides that exited the park on Washington Street; the horse-drawn cart clomped south to Prairie Street, turned around in the cul-de-sac, headed back north along Washington Street and into the lot to pick up another group of passengers.
A NorthShore University HealthSystem emergency vehicle was in the lot demonstrating to children how to perform CPR. In the park itself, a display emitted "snow" next to a 25-foot-tall, decorated fir tree.
Santa Claus patiently took gift requests in the Jackman Park gazebo, with a line of families extending far down the sidewalk to wait their turn.
While Santa took orders -- Mrs. Claus strode the grounds in civilian clothes, so as not to attract attention -- the Glenbrook South Chamber Singers sang seasonal songs from the gazebo steps, in front of a large crowd. Coming as it does over Thanksgiving break, the Holiday in the Park draws alumni of the Chamber Singers back to join current high school singers.
"It's just so nice to be able to see live music again and be all together," said Sarah, the mother of a Glenbrook South junior who sang on Saturday.
Togetherness was the key.
"I think the socialization aspect of this and the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbors is so important. It's what everyone's craving right now," Kearney said.