Arlington Heights to host giant Gelt Drop at North School Park's Chanukah Festival

Updated 11/25/2022 8:09 AM

Hundreds of local residents will kick off the holiday of Chanukah in Arlington Heights as they observe the kindling of the menorah during the largest Chanukah celebration in the area.

Hosted by the Chabad Jewish Center of Arlington Heights, the public celebration begins on the first night of Chanukah, Sunday, December 18th at 3:30 p.m. at North School Park and is open to all and free of charge.


In keeping with the theme of Chanukah, The Festival of Lights, the Arlington Heights Fire Department will regale the crowd with a Chocolate Coin Gelt Drop from the top of an extended fire truck.

Mayor Tom Hayes is looking forward to joining the evening. He says that "The Menorah Lighting and Chanukah celebration has become an annual tradition in Arlington Heights. I'm so glad that the Arlington Heights Fire Department will be part of the celebration this year to assist with the chocolate coin ladder truck drop. I look forward once again to this special event which reminds us that miracles do occur and that light always leads us out of darkness."

The event will feature a StoryWalk, bringing the story of Chanukah alive through photos and audio! Chaikie Kotlarsky, co-director of the Chabad says "This is sure to be a fun and exciting way to bring the story of Chanukah alive and an important educational tool in conveying important lessons to our children."

This year's free "mega-event" will include live music, free Chanukah beanies for registered participants and a host of crafts, latkes and hot drinks and menorah giveaways.

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"Chanukah is the holiday where light triumphed over darkness," said Rabbi Yaakov Kotlarsky, co-director at Chabad. "Lighting the menorah is a reminder to us to illuminate this world by increasing in random acts of goodness and kindness and spread physical and spiritual light throughout our surroundings."

The purpose of this event is to bring the entire community together for Chanukah, Rabbi Kotlarsky said in a news release. In a safe and outdoor environment, plans are underway to make this year's celebration the biggest and most exciting event yet.

For more information and to sign up, visit or call (224) 357-7002.

About Chabad:

The Chabad Jewish Center of Arlington Heights offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information visit


About Chanuka:

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, begins this year on the evening of Sunday, December 18 and concludes the evening of Monday, December 26. It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian-Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the menorah, which was part of the daily service.

Upon recapturing the Temple only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration, Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. Additional information about the Hanukkah holiday is available at

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