HINSDALE – North Pole, Alaska, is known as the town that celebrates Christmas year-round, but on Dec. 6 it had nothing on Hinsdale’s celebration, and that included the blistering winter cold.
The high temperature on Dec. 6 in Hinsdale was 18 degrees without wind chill, while in North Pole it was a comfortable 28 in comparison. But that didn’t stop residents and guests from around the county who enjoyed the 48th annual Christmas Walk to ring in the holiday season.
“It’s very cold, but it’s a great turnout,” said Hinsdale Village President Tom Cauley, who helped Santa light the village Christmas tree outside Memorial Hall.
The Christmas Walk is one of the largest events organized all year by the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce and the village.
It’s an exciting time for the kids who get to see Santa Claus ride in the fire truck and light the tree, but, at the same time, it’s one of the most nerve-racking moments for Tim Scott, Hinsdale director of economic development.
“My most nervous moment of the entire year is waiting to see if [the lights] work,” Scott said with a laugh. “Thankfully they did.”
Scott said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout given how cold the conditions were.
“It just shows the strong family spirit of the community,” he said.
You wouldn’t know it was cold talking to Jan Anderson, president of the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, who was delighted by the turnout and celebration to start the season.
“We are open for business and happy about it,” Anderson said. “We’re happy to have Santa light the tree and kick off the holiday season here in Hinsdale.”
One Hinsdale resident enjoying the Christmas Walk for the first time was Mistie Lucht, who just moved to the village six months ago.
“What a great community that they put this on for us,” Lucht said. “You run into people you know and it’s just very festive.”
The cold wasn’t bothering Lucht or her kids, who said they were having a “wonderful time.”
“We started with the tree, made our way to some face painting and now we’re seeing Santa,” Lucht said.
The Christmas Walk also included the Radio Disney Road Crew, holiday carolers, giveaways and a place to warm up in the gingerbread cookie tent.