Santa, Elsa and Anna visit New Lenox as Christmas in the Commons kicks off
The holiday market, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, food and drinks available December weekends at New Lenox’s annual Christmas in the Commons events are offered to help get families into the seasonal spirit.
But every year there’s one main star of the show.
“Visits with Santa is always a big one, which makes sense. He’s the man of the hour,” said Beth Alderson, special events coordinator for the village.
But as the event opened last weekend, the man in red had some competition with some women in blue. For opening weekend, people were greeted by Disney characters Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” an element Alderson deemed a success, especially given the recent release of the movie’s sequel.
Christmas in the Commons is expected to run every weekend through Dec. 22 in the village commons, where light displays help set the scene.
In front of village hall, people have the opportunity to purchase hot cocoa, bottled water, souvenir mugs and s’mores kits.
“We’ve got some local breweries that will be out the next 3 Saturdays,” said Beth Alderson, special events coordinator for the village. “I think people will be excited about that.”
New Lenox resident Kim Majewski was in between activities enjoying hot cocoa Saturday. She said dropping in for Christmas in the Commons is a family tradition.
“We try to stay local and do the events,” she said. “There’s so many.”
Majewski said she and her family had been looking forward to the event. They intended to check out the holiday market, see the cartoon characters, ride the trackless train and take pictures.
“This is great,” Majewski said of the event’s turnout. “We’ve got great weather.”
Majewski said Christmas in the Commons continues to impress her time after time.
“For the kids, there’s lots of activities,” she said. “It’s gorgeous with all the lights. It’s close to home.”
Lori Palmer of Cape Coral, Florida travels around this time each year to the area to visit family, and Christmas in the Commons has become a staple to her celebration of the holiday season.
“I think it’s a nice community event,” she said. “I love the fact that they have vendors with homemade items, the ice rink and the spiked hot cocoa. It’s a nice entrance into Christmas.”
Palmer said there’s one element of the New Lenox event she can’t get at home.
“We travel all the way from Florida because it’s not Christmas if it’s warm,” she said.
Elsewhere in the village commons, people took to the ice rink for ice skating.
New Lenox resident Stacey Peterson stood watching on as her husband, Michael Peterson, and their son, Ollie Peterson, circled the rink. She said it was her son’s first time skating, and her husband’s first time in a long time.
“I don’t know when the last time he skated,” she said.
Christmas in the Commons has grown over the years, officials said.
“It has definitely gotten bigger,” Alderson said. She said the event did not always run over the course of several weekends.
Putting on the event is a process for the village, she said.
“It really is a yearlong production,” Alderson said. “It ramps up when summer is over.”
The event is free with no admission ticket required, according to the village’s website. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and run through 8 p.m. each day.