GLEN ELLYN – While some shoppers will head to malls and chain stores on Black Friday, Glen Ellyn residents will have the opportunity to support small businesses during the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce's annual Holiday Walk.
With a tree-lighting ceremony performed by Santa Claus himself, the event typically draws thousands of community members to downtown Glen Ellyn.
"It is probably the most nostalgic event we do all year," said Georgia Koch, the chamber's co-executive director.
While many stores will show off their holiday products and provide refreshments to customers all day Nov. 29, the official Holiday Walk festivities will not begin until 5 p.m., when ice carving by World Class Ice Sculpture and the chamber's Holiday Open House will get the event underway. The tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. at Main Street and Crescent Boulevard.
Families are invited to start the celebration early at the Glen Ellyn Public Library, 400 Duane St., at 1:30 p.m., with entertainment; arts and crafts; refreshments; and the Friends of the Library's used book sale.
The sale will be held in the basement, while children's arts and crafts and a variety show will take place on the first floor, and musical entertainment will liven up the library on the second.
"This is actually one of the only times during the year that we open all three levels of the library for an event," said Amy Franco, adult programming librarian.
The library has hosted its pre-Holiday Walk event for several years, and it typically attracts hundreds of visitors as one of the library's largest and most popular events, Franco said.
For the library, it's special to be part of the downtown festivities.
"It's just really fun to be a part of everything they're doing to celebrate the holiday season," she said.
After Santa lights the tree downtown, he will head to the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company's Fire Station One at Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue to greet local children until 8:30 p.m.
The chamber's Holiday Open House will be held until 9 p.m. at a storefront located at 476 Main St. The open house will feature performances by the Glenbard South High School Madrigal Singers and Elite Feet Dance Studio and refreshments.
Many downtown businesses will decorate their windows to reflect the theme of "Home for the Holidays" as part of the annual window-decorating contest. Winners will be chosen before festivities begin.
Businesses will extend their typical hours until 9 p.m.
The holiday kick-off also will include an opportunity to give back to others. Grace Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn will host its 13th annual Chili Supper during the Holiday Walk to benefit the World Hunger Appeals Program.
In addition to chili, the supper will include hot dogs, homemade corn bread, salad, chips, brownies and drinks.
As the holiday season continues in Glen Ellyn, the Glen Art Theatre and Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce will present free children's holiday movies every Saturday beginning Nov. 30 and lasting into December.
Koch is looking forward to hosting the chamber's Open House and seeing her friends and neighbors from town.
"It's just a wonderful, warm feeling," she said.
Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce Holiday Walk
Businesses open at regular times
5 p.m. – Ice carving and chamber open house begin
6 p.m. – Tree lighting, followed by visits with Santa at Fire Station One
8:30 p.m. – Visits end
9 p.m. – Open house ends, stores close
Glen Ellyn Public Library
Noon: Used Book Sale begins
1:30 p.m. – Holiday Walk festivities begin
1:45 to 2:15 p.m. – Vivaldi Strings
2:30 to 3 p.m. – Anima Singers
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. – One Voice Choir
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. – Family Variety Show
4 to 4:30 p.m. – Glenbard South Madrigal Singers
4:30 p.m. – Holiday Walk festivities end
Grace Lutheran Church Chili Dinner
When: 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: 493 Forest Ave., Glen Ellyn
Cost: $7 for adults, $4 for children