Riverside will be kicking off the holidays with its 35th Annual Holiday Stroll, sponsored by the Riverside Township Chamber of Commerce, on Friday, Dec. 4, from 5:15 p.m. until 9 p.m., with events spanning from downtown to Harlem Avenue.
Residents and visitors can take advantage of courtesy trolleys, which will shuttle participants from Riverside Foods, 48 E. Burlington St., in the downtown area to Harlem Avenue.
The official start to the evening’s events will take place at the Arcade Building, 1 Riverside Road, where Village President Michael Gorman will be dedicating a mural by Riverside-Brookfield High School students at 5:15 p.m.
The art students have been working on the mural panels for over a month, and on Nov. 12 and 13 they painted scenes on two entryways there.
Most events on the Holiday Stroll will begin after 5:45 p.m., and though many are child- and family-friendly, there are more than a few events that will interest adults without children as well.
The main children’s event will be, of course, the arrival of Santa Claus, via fire truck at Centennial Park, Longcommon Road and Forest Avenue, between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m., and then watch the tree lighting ceremony.
Pictures with Santa will be available at Riverside Bank, 17 E. Burlington St., after the tree lighting. If pictures with Santa aren’t enough, Frosty the Snowman will be making an appearance at the train station, 90 Bloomingbank Road, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Closer to bedtime, the students at Principal Dance Studio, 42 East Ave., will perform “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Nutcracker, at 7:30 p.m., and will close their show with a visit from the Snow Queen.
Additional children’s events, such as face painting, an electric train display, and jugglers can be found throughout the downtown area, with multiple events taking place at both Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, and the Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road.
Adults and children alike will be able to participate in the “Holiday Mail for Heroes” at the library between 5:30 and 8 p.m. in order to sign cards for U.S. service members and veterans.
Adults may be interested in taking the courtesy trolley to Harlem Avenue in order to see Sventa Claus (a.k.a., Svengoolie) at the Comic Collector, 3246 Harlem Ave., from 6 to 8 p.m.
Back downtown, Salon d’Amore, 37 E. Burlington St., will feature “Christmas Karaoke” for those interested in singing the joys of the season and between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Chicago Bears legend and radio personality Doug Buffone will be signing autographs during a silent auction of Chicago Bears memorabilia at the Village Center, at the corner of Burlington and Longcommon.
Refreshments and entertainment will be provided at and outside many businesses in the downtown and Harlem business areas throughout the evening.
Those able to continue strolling after 9 p.m. can attend the Stroll After Party at Chew Chew Café, 33 E. Burlington St. from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m., where live music will be performed.