Holiday Lights 2015-12-04 173_slide
Local News

New community holiday tree will make its debut Dec. 2 at Holiday Lights

When the 60-foot Colorado spruce in Homewood’s Irwin Park was blown over in March, the community lost the tree that crowds gathered around for years during winter festivals. It was soon replaced by a 25-foot spruce that will make its debut as the community’s new holiday tree on Dec. 2 at the Holiday Lights festival.

  Chain saw ice sculpting is a regular part of the annual 
  Holiday Lights festival in Homewood.
(Photos by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)

When the 60-foot Colorado spruce in Homewood’s Irwin Park was blown over in March, the community lost the tree that crowds gathered around for years during winter festivals.

Its place was not empty long. When Santa Claus hits the switch Friday, Dec. 2, to illuminate Irwin Park in a festive glow, a new community holiday tree will be the center of attention.

Within days of the old tree’s toppling, Homewood resident Carol Loreth offered the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District a 25-foot blue spruce tree that was a gift from her former employer, the late Richard Irwin, the local philanthropist for whom the park is named. 

  The new holiday tree in 
  Irwin Park on April 12, the
  day it was   relocated from
  the home of Carol Loreth. 

The tree might be a little less than half the height of the old tree, but its shape is familiar, as is the Holiday Lights festival, which will officially launch the holiday shopping season with an evening of family entertainment and downtown store specials.

The festival from 5 to 9 p.m. will feature an outdoor marketplace, ice sculpting demonstrations by Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures, musical trolley rides, a live reindeer petting zoo, an antique car parade and the arrival of Santa and his friends on  a Homewood Fire Department engine. 

Dr. Kirschner’s brass band will perform favorite holiday songs.

The Homewood Science Center will present a deSTEMber activity from 6 to 9 p.m at the center’s headquarters at 18022 Dixie Highway. The name of the event is a play on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

Participants of all ages will be able to explore the principles of light with hands-on activities created by Schneider Electric along with SouthWorks Makers Lab. Participants also will have an opportunity to create a snowflake for an illuminated community art installation. 

The Cancer Support Center will be selling premium-grade Fraser Firs and garland with pick-up and loading assistance. Pre-sales are available at

Shoppers during the festival will be able to participate in the Homewood Business Association’s “Unwrap Downtown Homewood” promotion, set to begin Nov. 18. 

Stores throughout the downtown and outlying areas will offer special discounts. In addition, shoppers who spend $300 or more in three HBA member stores will be entered to win prizes and gift certificates. 

“This sets the right tone for the holiday season and give our community another opportunity to come together before the snowflakes fly,” said Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld. “This is the perfect event to get into the holiday spirit and get a jump on the holiday shopping.” 

The schedule:

  • 5 p.m.: Outdoor market opens
  • 6 to 9 p.m.: PopUp Science
  • 7 p.m.: Christmas tree lighting in Irwin Park
  • 7:15 p.m.: Ice sculpting demonstrations

Holiday Lights in Homewood is sponsored by the Village of Homewood, Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, Homewood-Flossmoor Lions Club, Homewood Fire Department, and members of the Homewood Business Association.

Holiday Lights in Homewood is free and open to the public. For more information visit

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