North Riverside lit up a chilly, dark December sky on Wednesday, with hundreds gathering at the Village Commons for the 3rd Annual Tree Lighting event.

Families sipped hot chocolate and listened to seasonal tunes while mingling and snapping selfies near the three fire pits out front of the Village Commons, taking photos with visitors like the Grinch, Buddy the Elf and Santa, who wandered in and out.

The event capped off with a brief, but loud and colorful fireworks display high above Desplaines Avenue after Santa and a couple of helpers flipped the switch to light the blue spruce planted three years ago in front of the Village Commons to begin North Riverside’s latest holiday tradition.