Riverside is welcoming one and all to its 41st Annual Holiday Stroll on Friday, Dec. 4th. The festivities are set to last from 5:30 to 9 p.m. From Riverside’s downtown to busy Harlem Avenue, there will be much to see and do, to celebrate the season.
The yearly arrival of good old Santa Claus via firetruck will be again be at Centennial Park, between 5:30 and 6 p.m., with the tree lighting ceremony. Riverside Elementary School District 96 and St. Mary School students will be on hand to help. The Riverside-Brookfield High School Madrigal Singers will be accompanying by singing an enchanting array of holiday carols.
Santa will then journey to the Riverside Bank, at 17 E. Burlington St. Yes, photos will be taken with the venerable Mr. Claus as the West Suburban Symphony Players play seasonal specialties.
To see another jolly old fellow (though not in red,) hop aboard the free courtesy trolley to the Comic Collector shop, at 3246 Harlem Ave., from 6 to 8 p.m. There you will be able to meet and greet “Santa Sven” Rich (Svengoolie) Koz. Along Burlington Street, the trolley will be picking up people and dropping them off at various points. The trolley is sponsored by H&W Ingredients.
The Riverside Historical Museum in Centennial Park plans to warmly welcome all visitors from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Not only that, but they will also be giving away free magnets with historical photos of Riverside on the front.
For something festively sweet, the Riverside Parks and Recreation building at 10 Pine Ave. is offering frosting and sugar cone Christmas trees.
Over at the Riverside Garage, 18 East Ave., pony rides, and a petting zoo will both be available to enjoy. Also returning this year is the famous train display, sponsored by local businesses. Or have your picture taken as holiday cartoon cutout character.
Ice sculpting will taking place over at Mollie’s Public House, 31 Forest Ave., on the patio. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., there will also be live music and treats for the kids.
Speaking of live music, Fiore Gourmet Bakery at 25 Forest Ave. is going to have a five-piece band ready to play your holiday favorites and other songs, too.
Doggy-A-Go-Go at 31 East Ave., from 5:30 to 8 p.m., will be glad to have you come in and see the dogs and cats ready for adoption. Reindeer treats, that is, treats for Santa’s reindeer to munch on, will be given out free.
The V’da Studio, 38 East Ave., is having an open house with treats and photographing available.
Can you Bear-ly wait for this? Flur Bakery, 1 Riverside Road, will have appearances by former Chicago Bears players; you can come to meet them and also get their autographs.
At 6 p.m., the Suzuki Strings will delight listeners with their program of music at the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road. In addition, Mr. D’s Magic Show will be performed at both 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. District 96’s fourth- and fifth-grade choir will sing their many marvelous melodies, and Costco will be sponsoring Face Painting.
Ever hear a bell choir? Stop by the First American Bank, 15 Riverside Road, and get your ear’s worth from 7 to 8 p.m.
While Bob Opal’s dexterous fingers tickle and tackle the keys on his keyboard, indulge in some quality holiday punch at the Quincy Street Distillery, 39 E. Quincy St.
An exhibit by Riverside artist Bob Faust will be on display at the Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St., in the Freeark Gallery.
Did you ever see extreme wood carving? Stop in at Jeff’s Auto and Truck Repair, 20 E. Quincy St. and let the wood chips fly where they may.
If you want an elf-painted face, hop by the Pre-Hop Cleaners, 9 Longcommon Road, and be face-painted (while you wait!) by Rosie the Elf.
And while we’re on the subject of faces, Tommy Twister will return to blow up in your face with his amazing skills of balloon magic. To see this, pop on in to Burlington Realty, 21 E. Burlington.
Olaf and Elsa from Frozen will be glad to meet you and pose for photos at 49 E. Burlington, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. If you’re lucky, they may even sing along with you!
Riverside Foods, at 48 E. Burlington St., will be the departure point for horse-drawn rides, and they’ll also be offering an “adult babysitting” service in an open tent sampling beer and wine — probably chilled.
St. Mary Church at 97 Herrick Road is hosting their Mingle and Jingle Shop, featuring one of a kind gifts and vintage treasures. Come and hunt down a treasure of your own.
Aunt Diana’s Candy Maker Shop, 29 E. Burlington St., will have for sale many luscious holiday treats, and for something with a touch of fashionable flair, the Arcade Jewelers, 51 E. Burlington St., are welcoming all to a “Bubbles and Baubles” open house.
The Riverside Junior Women’s Charity, at the Village Center, 10 E. Burlington St., is sponsoring “Riverside Gives,” a community crowd funding event for charity. Stop by and lend your support to the cause.
Holiday Stroll Event Coordinator Brian Brennan said he hopes that everyone “will support our community’s businesses, who will both surprise and delight you with their festive offerings.”
For more information on the Riverside Holiday Stroll, contact Brian Brennan at 708-447-2946.