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Aurora’s new Winter Lights fest kicks off holiday season Friday

Kerrilee Meeker Fox Valley Festival Chorus performs during Holiday Magic festivities North IslCenter AurorIll. Friday November 27 2009. Many families

Kerrilee Meeker, of the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, performs during the Holiday Magic festivities at the North Island Center in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, November 27, 2009. Many families attended the Holiday Magic festivities which included a tree lighting and a visit from Santa. (Andrew A. Nelles / Photo for The Beacon News) au28magic 32816 11/27/09

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Emmanuel House silent auction

Emmanuel House, an Aurora agency that helps families find homes, will host its sixth annual silent auction Friday, offering people the opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done while supporting the non-profit.

The auction, featuring hundreds of items, will be from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday at Community Christian Church in Naperville.

Founded in 2002 by Rick and Desiree Guzman, Emmanuel House helps working class families purchase their first home.

For information on auction items and Emmanuel House, visit

Updated: December 16, 2012 6:36AM

AURORA — Downtown Aurora is starting a new holiday tradition Friday to usher in the 2012 holiday season.

The Winter Lights holiday walk, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, is a free, family friendly event to light the city’s official holiday tree. The holiday walk will feature art, music, lights and complimentary refreshments on Downer Place, Stolp Avenue and Galena Boulevard downtown.

Patrons are invited to shop at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, where more than a dozen local and regional artisans will have holiday treasures for purchase.

Families can watch ice sculptor Joe Gagnepain perfect his craft outside the Art and History Center before strolling through luminaria-lit streets listening to holiday carols.

Local musicians scheduled to perform include the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, the Empty Can Band, East Aurora High School, Cub Scout Pack 643 and Girl Scout Troop 4187. The Fox Valley Festival Chorus, which has been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City next spring, will be singing holiday favorites at 5:30 p.m. at the Millennium Plaza along the Fox River on Stolp Avenue.

Following the choir performance, people can head over to North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd., where the city’s official holiday tree will be lit for the first time at 6 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with the Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost winners, will be on hand to help Mayor Tom Weisner light the tree.

Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras because Santa will be available for photos back at the Art and History Center following the tree lighting. Other holiday treats will be available for purchase at River’s Edge Café, 14 W. Downer Place, where various musical groups will be performing throughout the evening.

The event is sponsored by the City of Aurora in conjunction with Cultural Creatives Inc., the Aurora Public Art Commission, River’s Edge Cafe and the Aurora Rotary Club.

As part of the Winter Lights festivities, local businesses are decorating their storefronts for the holidays. The winner of the decoration contest will be announced at the tree-lighting ceremony.

Other events

Earlier Friday, Weisner will help the Aurora Salvation Army kick off the bell-ringing season at 10:30 a.m. at Prisco’s Fine Foods, 1108 Prairie St.

The Culture Stock bookstore, which opened in October, will host a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. The used bookstore at 43 E. Galena Blvd. will feature local musicians, snacks and face painting for kids.

Culture Stock, operated by volunteers, hopes to serve as a hub for cultural activities and community programs, as well as selling used books and media.

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