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  • Megann Horstead

Holiday in the Grove spreads cheer in Sugar Grove


Santa Claus made an early stop in Sugar Grove over the weekend to greet families for Holiday in the Grove, the village’s annual Christmas celebration.


From decorating cookies and browsing the goods of crafters and vendors to pictures with Santa and horse-drawn wagon rides, the spirit of the holiday season was abundant all over town.


The Sugar Grove Public Library, Sugar Grove Community House, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School and the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church featured fun, family-friendly holiday activities throughout the day on Saturday.


“It’s a lot of fun,” said Marguerite Ledone, president of the event’s planning committee. “They get to meet Santa, eat breakfast and play in the kids’ area. It’s a tradition.”


This sentiment held true of Sugar Grove resident Cindy Miller. She said it’s not Christmas unless she and her family come out for Holiday in the Grove.


“We come every year,” she said. “What I like most is it’s an old-fashioned Christmas event. They have the cake walk. They had the games for the kids. It’s a fun time without the expensive price.”


Miller’s granddaughter, Julianna Bardzinski, was enjoying what the event offered.


“Julianna won the cake walk,” Miller said. “That’s the reason she’s eating a cookie.”


Audrey Opperman of Sugar Grove was among the volunteers serving breakfast for people to enjoy.


“I think it’s fun hanging out with friends and volunteering,” she said. “I enjoy working with the kids and seeing them smile.”


Another volunteer, Izzy Gerlach of Montgomery, shared that sentiment.


“To interact with the kids and see them smile, that’s the best part,” she said.


Holiday in the Grove is a bit of a production to put on every year, event organizers said.


“We’re working as a four-person committee,” Ledone said. “The day of the event we get a lot of volunteers who come.”


Brendan Sullivan, a member of the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District, was working alongside his colleagues to cook breakfast.


The menu featured pancakes, sausage and fruit.


“There were a lot of pancakes to make,” Sullivan said. “It was a lot of fun. We had the Christmas music playing. It’s a good time.”


Both Gerlach and Opperman said they had a busy morning serving breakfast.


Sullivan said they worked hard to keep the food coming as people dropped in.


“It’s a constant process with the pancakes and sausages,” he said. “They constantly needed more.”


Sullivan said he always makes it a point to come out for Holiday in the Grove every year because it’s a lot of fun for the kids.


“They were excited with Santa upstairs and breakfast downstairs,” he said. “I would imagine it’s a kids’ paradise.”


Sugar Grove resident Julie Stauter said her children were excited about getting the chance to see Santa, so much they decided to eat a late breakfast to get a head start on the festivities.


“We hit up Santa first,” she said. “They had all these activities. We just beat the rush.”


Stauter’s family usually attends the Geneva Christmas Walk, but not this time around.


“I wanted to make sure the kids saw Santa,” she said.


This year was Stauter’s first time coming out for Holiday in the Grove.


“It’s nice to see everyone in the community involved,” she said. “Sugar Grove is really good about that.”


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