The conductor from “The Polar Express,’ aka Brian Conroy, assists visitors aboard the trolley in 2019. | File

Brookfield’s beloved Holiday Celebration — an annual event uniting residents, village officials and business owners in yuletide merriment – returns to kick off the season this weekend.

Sponsored by both the village and Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, this year’s Holiday Celebration will take place on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 2 to 6 p.m. along the Grand Boulevard and Broadway Avenue business corridors.

For Assistant Village Manager Stevie Ferrari, Brookfield’s celebration showcases the connections between residents and the small businesses community and their shared love for Brookfield.

“The event highlights businesses and culminates in a unique entry from Santa Claus for our tree lighting ceremony that features local musical groups, the Polar Express Conductor, and a large community gathering to kick off the holiday season,” she said. “It is an event where you can spend the entire time moving from location to location and still may not get to all of the offerings. [But] you are entertained, fed and can keep as busy as you would like while enjoying the event at your pace.”

Once again, the event will not include any activities at the Brookfield Village Hall due to the ongoing Brookfield Avenue bridge construction and street closures in the area. 

Kids can meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Irish Times during the Brookfield Holiday Celebration. | File

But, crafts, games and entertainment will take place inside the gymnasium at S.E. Gross Middle School, 3524 Maple Ave., which is located down the block from Progress Park, where the Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held later in the evening.

Throughout the event, two courtesy trolleys will run continuously throughout the Broadway Avenue and Grand Boulevard districts, with trolley stops closest to activities.

Kick off the fun along the Broadway Avenue corridor, where skaters of all ages can twirl on the iceless rink and enjoy music spun by a DJ at First National Bank of Brookfield, 9136 Washington Ave. 

Many of the businesses along Broadway will have their doors open, ready to greet visitors with samples, treats, crafts and conversation. 

Find new furry friends at the petting zoo at Progress Park, at the west corner of Washington and Broadway. While there, tap into your creative side during free ornament making sessions at The Compassion Factory Art Gallery & Studio, 9210 Broadway Ave.

People ride the holiday trolley to different events throughout the village during the annual holiday celebration in Brookfield in 2019. | File

Don’t forget to stop next door at Palacky Lodge #630, 9234 Broadway Ave., for some fresh popcorn and treats. 

Warm up inside S.E. Gross Middle School, where more popcorn, games and holiday crafting stations (cookies, ornament making, wax hand making) will abound. In the gym, check out stations sponsored by Brookfield businesses from Ogden Avenue and 31st Street, which will have freebies and holiday raffles. 

A Sound Education, Brookfield’s longtime music instrument retailer and music school, will be showcasing interactive music demonstrations in the gym. Meanwhile, area groups including the Brookfield Aging Well Team and Girl Scouts will provide giveaways and host interactive storytelling.

Of course, no holiday celebration is complete without music, so while at S.E. Gross, enjoy performances by the Riverside-Brookfield High School jazz band and choir.

In between Broadway and Grand, take some time to stop by the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library, 3541 Park Ave., where you can warm up yet again with some hot chocolate and pop inside for a quick visit.

Children watch the gnome carving during the annual holiday celebration in Brookfield in 2019. | File

While traveling along Grand Boulevard, be sure to check out the unique works of art at the live event painting; drop in to the various restaurants and businesses for open houses, complimentary drinks and treats, and camaraderie; and enjoy a holly jolly photo-op and share your Christmas wish list with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Irish Times, 8869 Burlington Ave.

Throughout the afternoon, keep an eye out for live Disney characters ready for family photo ops, ice sculpting and wood carving demonstrations. 

Make sure you don’t miss the evening’s grand finale — the Christmas tree lighting! Setting the mood with holiday tunes will be students from the S.E. Gross School and RBHS choirs. At 5:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive via firetruck to Progress Park and merrily lead the crowd in a countdown to light the tree.