Ordinarily I do not like to break or bend my own rules, but since they are my rules I can make an exception. This particular rule pertains to writing about the Christmas holidays before Thanksgiving, which I normally refer to as the forgotten holiday; however, this year I am making an exception.

It all started with a call from Brian Brennan from the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, who for the past 25 years has been the person in charge of arranging for the Holiday Stroll in Riverside. 

He said he first undertook the position when he was approached by the late Jack Gelsomino to help with the event. From there Brennan took on an event which under his direction has grown to be an evening with something for people of all ages.

When it first began, the Holiday Stroll was meant to showcase the businesses in Riverside, but now it includes not only the welcoming by the businesses but entertainment and is s showcase for the village as well. 

Local businesses have always provided refreshments at their establishments, but Brennan believed if you had something to attract children it will bring out families. Over the years there have been pony rides, face painters, balloon artists, a wood carver (my favorite) and musical groups from the schools. 

Many of the activities have been supported by local groups and businesses as well as private donations, although there is still considerable cost to the Chamber of Commerce.

This year, Brian Brennan is trying to get input and help from other people to improve on the success of the Holiday Stroll. People are already showing an interest, as a recent meeting conducted by Brennan at the library showed. But he could always use more volunteers to help make this holiday kickoff the special event it has become.

With the addition of two new restaurants, Sawmilly and La Barra, at this year’s Holiday Stroll, there will be something new to see.

Contact Brennan at 708-805-2064 or brianclaudia@ameritech.net The Holiday Stroll is on Dec. 2 starting at 5:30 p.m. in Centennial Park and throughout downtown Riverside.