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Local News

Elburn Christmas Stroll ‘bigger, better’

Watson, the mascot for the Town and Country Public Library in Elburn, watches entertainers while sitting with children during the annual Elburn Christmas Stroll.
Watson, the mascot for the Town and Country Public Library in Elburn, watches entertainers while sitting with children during the annual Elburn Christmas Stroll.

ELBURN – The annual Elburn Christmas Stroll helped raise nearly $4,000 for the Elburn Chamber of Commerce’s Kaneland Scholarship Fund, one of the event’s organizers said Monday.

The event, hosted by the chamber, took place Saturday. Ben Westfall, one of the event co-chairs, said he was “thrilled” the event was able to raise more than last year’s festival, when about $3,000 was raised. The money was raised through a raffle associated with the festival.

Elburn’s Town and Country Public Library was buzzing with activity for the annual event, and businesses in Elburn’s downtown area on Route 47 offered attractions, as well, including face painting and crafts. Some offered hot chocolate and other sweets. There were choirs performing at some locations. For the second year, the Elburn Christmas Stroll took place starting on a Saturday afternoon, and it stretched into the evening.

Westfall said businesses reported a lot of activity during the festival. At one point, he said, Corner Grind ran out of hot chocolate, and Schmidt’s Towne Tap had a waiting list.

“The downtown was packed,” Westfall said. “It was a good turnout. I think the event was bigger, better and ran smoother than it did even last year.”

At the library, there were several stations of events going on at any given time. Santa Claus saw children throughout most of the festival. A line for Magic Matt’s balloon animals remained lengthy even as the Christmas Stroll was winding down.

Among those watching the entertainment at the library were Louis and Mildred Balika. Louis Balika, 93, wore a hat identifying him as a World War II veteran, and he was in a wheelchair being pushed by his son-in-law, Elburn resident Al Isberg. Isberg, who recently retired as Elburn’s fire marshal, had been part of the Christmas Stroll for years, because the fire department usually participated at its previous location near the library on North Street.

The fire department since has moved to Route 38 and was not part of this year’s festival. With Isberg now retired, he said he was able to just help his in-laws enjoy the entertainment. He said Louis Balika always gets positive reactions when he wears his hat.

“He’s having a great time,” Isberg said, adding his in-laws came back after having a good time last year. Isberg said it was just the first stop of the night.

At Railside Citrus Insurance Agency, there was hot chocolate and face painting. Other locations, such as Corner Grind, Paisano’s Pizza and Grill and Ream’s Elburn Market, featured food samples and specials. The Christmas Stroll coincided with Small Business Saturday.

At Beautiful U, founder Liz Hough wore a festive hat as she welcomed visitors. She said the shop was busier than last year’s Christmas Stroll. She said the event is a good opportunity to draw attention to the store’s mission, which is “fostering the needs of pregnant teens,” according to its Facebook page.

“We are always in need of volunteers,” Hough said.

On the Web

Visit KCChronicle.com to view video highlights from the Elburn Christmas Stroll.

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