Braving the cold, the long lines to see Santa and the crowd of people around the live performers, families and friends attended the Mundelein tree lighting event that took place on Dec. 6 at the Village Hall. As a long-standing tradition, the tree lighting brings together the Mundelein community for a night of treats, hot chocolate and fireworks to kick off the holiday season.
“This is our second year [doing the tree lighting at the Village Hall, not Kracklauer Park], and it seems like it’s a great environment for this; it’s going off very well,” Mayor Steve Lentz said.
A large amount of work goes into setting up the tree lighting from the caring of the tree by the village to the many desserts provided.
“We have many different entities coming together to pull this off,” Lentz said. “The park district plays a huge role in getting all of the food and everything you see being served at the tent over there. [The park district] coordinates with [15 to 20] sponsors, [and] a lot of them give food and drinks.”
Many people come with their families, including spouses and young kids, to take part in the festivities.
“[My favorite part of the tree lighting is] definitely the fireworks; that’s the best. It’s a great sense of community. It’s a lot of fun to see everyone come out, and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season,” said Wendy Miller, who came with her husband, two kids and best friend.
The fireworks were popular as many, including the mayor, said they were a highlight of the tree lighting.
Many, like Miller and MHS senior Maya Skowronski, also mentioned the great sense of community.
“Just being with the whole community [is one of my favorite parts],” Skowronski said. “It’s a really good bonding experience for everyone. Seeing the fireworks and when the tree lights up really gets me into the Christmas spirit.”
Friends Geraldine Cretacci and Mindy Korn came with their families and young kids to the tree lighting for the first time with anticipation to see the tree lit and the excitement from their kids to see Santa.
Thomas Kuhn, MHS social studies teacher, his kids and his dog were also there to enjoy the tree lighting.
“I like to see the tree get lit, and I like to be around all these people. [I also like] seeing the people I know and just talking to them,” said Riley Kuhn, Kuhn’s daughter, as she described her favorite parts of this community event.
For many years, the village has come together to provide an event for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy each other’s company and listen to live music while getting into the holiday spirit.