Like a lot of holiday events, it started with Santa.
A few years ago, Winterfest was born when the crimson-costumed symbol of the season made an early stop in Flossmoor for the annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony.
After the electrification of the fir tree, holiday reveling continued for nearly three hours. Village lore has it that that Santa stayed that year until nearly 8 p.m.
This year’s edition of Flossmoor’s Winterfest, on Dec. 5, starts with stories at 2 p.m. and ends with the 5 p.m. tree lighting. The family-oriented event at the Flossmoor Public Library features lots of holiday games and activities.
Santa will once again return to Winterfest and will be on hand for picture-taking between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.
H-F High School’s Viking Choir will perform at 4:30 p.m.
A photo booth is new to this year’s Winterfest, said Kimberly Richardson, Flossmoor’s assistant to the village manager. Like everything else at the event, she said, pictures in the booth are offered at no charge.
A balloon artist and caricaturist will also be present.
“We think Winterfest is a good way to show Flossmoor’s community spirit,” she said. “This type of event is a testament to who we are as a community.”
There are no food items or other refreshments at the holiday party, co-sponsored by the village and library, she said. Still, there is a lot to do for kids from preschool age through about third grade.
“It’s perfect for younger kids and a great outlet for them. And we like to see older kids help the younger kids have a good time.”
Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun will once again open Winterfest by reading stories to kids between 2 and 2:30 p.m.
A number of students from Parker Junior High School and Homewood-Flossmoor High School will lead games and activities in the library basement, which volunteers “turn into a Winter Wonderland,” Richardson said.
Photos with Santa are sponsored by the Flossmoor Volunteer Fire Corporation. Richardson said many youngsters dress up for the occasion and that photos are posted on the village website, www.flossmoor.org. Parents can download the photos after they appear on the website, she said. Last year, about 120 children had their pictures taken with Santa.
Richardson said the Flossmoor Police Department will also be on hand at Winterfest, and will prepare children’s identification packets.
The village’s Community Relations Commission will be present to let participants know about the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in January, which marks the late civil rights leader’s birthday. Once again, volunteers will provide provide assistance to Respond Now, PADS and other local organizations that offer help to area residents in need. During Winterfest, interested persons can sign up as MLK Day volunteers.