Let there be light: Lombard's Lilacia Park kindles festive mood
Lombard, a town that goes all out to celebrate a blooming purple flower, also takes holiday revelry to the next level.
The Lilac Village gets into full merrymaking mode with "Jinglebell Jubilee," a four-hour celebration Saturday.
Park district crews have been as busy as elves since around Halloween, when they start setting up decorations and stringing lights from seemingly every branch in Lilacia Park. Lombardians will admire their handiwork when Santa leads a ceremonial, onstage countdown to the lighting of the park at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. By one key measure -- bulb count -- the display ranks as one of the brightest for miles around.
"We usually like to say it's 600,000-plus," park district spokeswoman Nicole Kondraschow said.
Here's the best part: It's all free. Park admission is free. The refreshments are free. All you have to do is bundle up in an ugly sweater and hop aboard a free trolley ride to soak in the village's holiday spirit. That should make your heartstrings go zing, zing, zing.
A trolley is running again for this year's "Jinglebell Jubilee" after a pandemic hiatus. The route includes stops in downtown Lombard to let passengers do some holiday shopping or browse glowing merchant windows before the lighting ceremony in Lilacia Park.
The trolley also will ferry history buffs to Maple Street. The Lombard Historical Society will give free, ticketed tours of its Victorian Cottage, with the first starting at 5:45 p.m. and the last tour departing at 8 p.m. The cottage will be decorated in the cozy style of a Victorian Christmas.
Speaking of transit, a glittering, red-and-green locomotive hauls an ornament and a candy cane, with Santa -- who else? -- as the conductor in an animated scene made for a holiday card photo op in Lilacia Park. Toy soldiers traditionally stand guard in the park. Gleaming swans add a sense of grace.
"Our staff dedicates their time, beginning as early as October, to bring the best light show to Lombard," Kondraschow said. "And we're looking forward to another successful and festive year."
The park will be aglow for the holidays from 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily. Visitors can enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cookies, and kids can tell Santa their wish list every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December from 6 to 8 p.m.
"Every weekend, we've got different activities going on in the park," Kondraschow said.
During "Polar Express Night," for instance, revelers will receive a bell when they visit with the jolly old man in the red suit Sunday, Dec. 18. For a full schedule, visit lombardparks.com/holiday-lights.