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Village News

Posted on: November 23, 2021

Montgomery Merry & Bright Brings New Light to the Downtown Area

Santa & Mrs. Claus

Montgomery, IL – The longtime Montgomery tradition, the annual tree lighting at Village Hall, is getting a makeover this year. This fall, the event was awarded a grant from ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus "Powering the Holidays" program. The grant dollars will adapt the tree lighting event to provide better social distancing and more lights to the riverside downtown Montgomery area. The Tree Lighting & Visit with Santa will take place at 5P on Sunday, December 5, in front of Village Hall (200 N. River St). The event will feature Santa, giveaways, musical performances, and the unveiling of the Festival of Trees which will run through December 30 at Village Hall and along River Street. 

"When we set out to bring this event back after not being able to host it in 2020, we knew we wanted to do something special," says Kristina Nemetz, Communications Manager for the Village. Together with the Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce (GMACC), the Village of Montgomery has hosted this event for twenty-five years. "We do not take getting this grant lightly, and each dollar received is being strategically invested into making this event merrier and brighter for years to come."

The annual Tree Lighting & Visit with Santa event will kick off the activities on Sunday, December 5, with Santa and Mrs. Claus's grand arrival on the Montgomery-Countryside Fire District fire engine promptly at 5P down River Street. This year Santa will not just be lighting the Village tree, but an additional 25 trees along the street, many decorated by local businesses and organizations. Next, Santa and Mrs. Claus will head indoors at Village Hall for visits and pictures, along with the Oswego East Tri-M Music Honor Society, who will perform in the Board Room for those waiting in line or looking to warm up from the outdoors. In addition, guests can watch live musical performances from local Nicholson and McDole Elementary School students and enjoy professional strolling carolers, the Festive Singers, on the stage along River Street. 

The businesses of 100-200 Block of North River Street are joining in the festivities this year. Guests can wander to Atrevete Confections (216 N. River St.) and pick up a free cup of hot chocolate. Gray's Mill Estate (211 N. River St.) will be handing out cookies, Farmers Insurance – Ryan Watson (109 N. River St.) will have glow giveaways for kids. Best Homes Fox Valley & Montgomery Economic Development Corporation (200 Webster St.) will be open for a Kid's Coloring Contest! Kids can color their entry onsite or pick it up to drop off at a later date. Other businesses and organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Montgomery, will be onsite in the Village Hall Multi-Purpose Room with giveaways, crafts for kids, and letters to Santa.

For years Village Hall has welcomed community groups to decorate trees for public display. The public can vote on the trees at Village Hall, with a winner announced each year. This year the Village and GMACC are offering indoor and outdoor space. "We are starting to see new growth along River St. with our cornerstone Gray's Mill now open and the high-quality pastries served by Atrevete," says Cindy Ferchen, GMACC Membership Director. "We hope people enjoy walking up and down River Street and seeing all the trees decorated and visit our local businesses."

The event, parking, and activities are all free thanks to Ozinga, Waubonsee College, and MetroNet, who will graciously sponsor this year's event, as well as many businesses who have agreed to fund an outdoor tree and activity. As a result, there is some space available both indoors and outdoors for the Festival of Trees. Businesses, families, or organizations looking to support this event or show some holiday spirit can visit the Village website to find out more or email knemetz@montgomeryil.org. Space is limited, first-come, first-served. 

For more information on the event, visit montgomeryil.org or the Village's Facebook Page

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