The more the merrier for Tinley’s holiday happenings
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Tinley Park.
The moment people arrived in the downtown area over the weekend, Friday-Sunday, Dec. 1-3, they were surrounded by the sights and sounds of the holidays, thanks to annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Holiday Market, Tinley Toyland Parade and Parade of Lights that made it easy to get into the spirit of the season.
Ushered in with the songs of the season, people came out by the dozens on Friday evening, Dec. 1, to kickoff the festivities at Zabrocki Plaza and awaited the arrival of Mayor Jacob Vandenberg and members of the Village Board of Trustees.
People huddled among friends, family and neighbors and sang carols—some they recalled and others they welcomed the aid of lyrics flashing across a projector.
Others tried to grab a spot near the tree and gazed upon its pre-lit majesty while enjoying the holiday music.
Jingle bells rang and anticipation grew with the passing of every tune, and members of the crowd chanted, “Light the tree!”
Vandenberg took to the stage and thanked everyone for coming out before introducing members of the Village Board of Trustees.
“Christmas is here, and we’re here to celebrate,” Vandenberg told the crowd.
The mayor informed people of all the holiday events occurring in town and went on to provide a countdown to the tree lighting.
Tinley Park’s Brian Cizas was motivated to come out for the tree lighting ceremony this year with his wife, Lindsay, and their son, Alex.
“I like Christmas, I like decorating, and now that we have a little guy, we try to do a lot more stuff for the holidays, family stuff for the holidays,” Brian said.
The tree lighting ceremony served as a first for the Cizas family.
“It was pretty cool,” Brian said, reflecting on the moment the tree was lit. “It was cool to be around all these people while they did it.”
People snapped pictures in front of the tree and others went on to peruse the annual Holiday Market and the nearly 30 booths lining the heated tent near the Oak Park Avenue train station. From K9 Cookie Factory and Paparazzi Accessories to Reen’s Custom Creations and Spartan Gourmet Foods, vendors were equipped with something for everyone.
Children and families had interactive fun thanks to stations set up for holiday crafts, letters to soldiers, cookie decorating and face painting.
Robin Murphy was enjoying bits of conversation with Missy Geibel and Kate Seery between bits of chocolate-covered pretzels inside the heated tent.
“We do this together every year,” Murphy said. “We do a lot of holiday things together.”
The group missed the tree lighting ceremony this time around, but they weren’t planning to skip the holiday market, which ran Friday evening through Sunday.
“We’re probably going to go buy the pretzels, but we’re going to get a couple Christmas ornaments,” Geibel said. “We like the crafts.”
Geibel said they like to support local business and crafts.
With the flashing of cameras and the redirecting of traffic patterns in and around the Oak Park Avenue train station midday Saturday, Dec. 2, those marching in the Tinley Toyland Parade became showstoppers for about a half hour.
Local organizations, like Scouting troops and dance troupes, marched together in between emergency vehicles, and Santa and Mrs. Claus made their much-anticipated appearance at the tail end of the procession, waving at the dozens of families lining the streets from atop a fire truck.
The Parade of Lights capped off the final day of the Village’s holiday festivities on Sunday evening, Dec. 3.
As children and families trekked the downtown area for an early chance to get into the spirit of the season, the words shared by Vandenberg continued to ring true for many.
Vandenberg put it simply: “Keep your jingle bells ready.”