The weather forecast looks pretty decent at this point, so if you are around Riverside on Friday evening or near Brookfield on Saturday, you might want to take in the holiday kickoff celebrations each village is hosting.

Honestly, we weren’t sure exactly what might happen to the Riverside Holiday Stroll earlier this year when it became clear that the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, its longtime sponsor, was in some trouble.

However, a re-energized chamber stepped up and new volunteers rushed in to fill the breach. As a result, this year’s Riverside Holiday Stroll is shaping up to be as vibrant as it ever has been, with lots to do both at local downtown businesses but also in places like the Riverside Train Station and the Riverside Township Hall.

Let’s not forget, this is really the first “normal” Holiday Stroll since 2019. While last year’s primarily outdoor event was a welcome sight after a joyless 2020, it’s nice to have the proper Holiday Stroll back.

While lauding the volunteers who stepped up to pull the event together in pretty short order, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize the yeoman effort over the course of many, many years of Brian Brennan, the local Realtor who agreed to step up time and again – even after he’d announced he was retiring from the duties – to organize the Holiday Stroll.

Brennan finally has gotten to step away and let others shoulder the burden he has carried for so long. Thanks to him for making sure the tradition carried on when times were uncertain.

Brookfield’s holiday celebration on Saturday won’t be completely back to normal – the bridge connecting the downtown with village hall is still closed (but getting close to reopening!) and construction at the Veterans Memorial Circle means the big tree has been shifted a shade west to Progress Park – the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and the public library will welcome visitors back indoors as well.

Things ought to be wrapped up before a crush of traffic comes to town that night for Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic light show – if the weather forecast holds, it ought to be another big night.

Things look like they’ll be a little frostier for North Riverside’s WinterFest on Dec. 7. It’s the second time the event has been more than just a tree lighting, and we hope the fledgling tradition keep gaining traction.

See you out there with Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s nice to have everyone back.