Aurora kicks off holiday season in style
BY ERIKA WURST email@example.com November 16, 2012 9:55PM
Kristina Ferrer, right, and her niece Mariah Phillips, both of Aurora, pose by the community tree during a previous holiday tree lighting downtown. | sun-times media file photo
Updated: November 17, 2012 7:28PM
It’s never too early to give Santa a head start, and Edward and Christopher Cervantes took full advantage of that fact on Friday night in downtown Aurora where the big man himself made his first holiday season appearance.
Edward, 6, and big brother Christopher, 9, stood patiently in line at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center during the city’s Winter Lights Holiday walk. With their wish lists in hand, the boys insisted they’ve been anything but naughty this year.
“I’ve been good,” Edward said with a grin.
“For most of the year,” mom, Monica, chimed in. The Cervantes family spent the evening downtown with hundreds of other Aurora residents to watch the city’s giant tree come to life, and participate in the bevy of events happening throughout the star-lit streets.
“I didn’t think this many people would turn out,” Chris Cervantes said of the event, which filled the streets with carolers and lighted luminaries. “We came to see the tree lighting, but we saw there was a bunch of extra stuff to come to.”
At Millennium Plaza, along the Fox River on Stolp Avenue, families snuggled up together as they listened to young carolers sing holiday tunes. They munched on popcorn and hot chocolate as they enjoyed the mild winter weather.
There was an ice sculptor dressed as an elf, who chiseled a giant block into a masterpiece outside the art center. Inside, local artists had their work for sale as patrons shopped for unique gifts to give.
Naperville’s Sue Borghesi was one of several artists who set up shop inside the gallery in hopes to sell some of her one-of-a-kind creations.
“This whole event is really exciting,” she said of the holiday walk.
“There are so many things going on. To have all of these people come to celebrate in downtown Aurora is just great. I wondered where everyone would come from, and where they would park, but they all found their way.”
On the third floor of the art center, Santa and the Cervantes boys smiled for the camera, along with dozens of other children who were eager to find a spot on Santa’s red, velvet knee.
“[The event] really gave me the Christmas spirit,” said April Clingan of Aurora, who was on hand with daughter Summer Miller, 3. “I saw her face light up when the tree was lit, and it was absolutely worth it.”
Clingan joined friend Anna Richardson of Aurora and little Scotty Anderson, 4, to watch Mayor Tom Weisner light the city’s giant tree for its first time of the season at North Island Center on Galena Boulevard.
The green and blue lights twinkled brightly as children’s jaws dropped in awe.
“The weather was perfect,” Richardson said, remembering far colder years.
On this Friday, Santa caps were worn more as a novelty, as the bitter winter weather had yet to creep in.
“It’s a great event,” artist Borghesi said of the night. “I just wish it would last longer.”