AMBOY — The 2017 Amboy Christmas Walk will be an exciting mix of fun, new features along with many longtime favorite activities from the past. One major change will be having the Christmas Walk as a Saturday evening event. This year, the Walk will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 4-8 p.m.
Organizers Meghan Schamberger and Gina McCoy decided on an evening event as a way to encourage more participation by businesses and also to provide more of a holiday feel with the Christmas lights on to welcome visitors. Schamberger explained that when the Christmas Walk was held on Sunday afternoon, many businesses were not open that day so they did not take part. With the Saturday evening time slot this year, she said all of the downtown businesses be open as well as several other businesses that are not in the immediate downtown area.
Travel to the businesses outside of downtown will be available by another of this year’s new additions, free Musical Trolley Rides offered by the Starved Rock Trolley. Passengers will be able to board the trolley downtown and stop for visits at each location. Stops will include Pankhurst Memorial Library, Teen Turf, The Iron Tree, The Warehouse and Twigs & Sprigs. At each of these stops, visitors will be welcomed with refreshments and various activities (see list below) including family crafts at the library and Teen Turf.
As always, the hub of activity will be downtown where Santa will take up residence in his new “Santa house,” which was donated by Jones Berry. Pictures with Santa in his house will be available in exchange for a canned good item or a $1 donation.
This year, Schamberger said there will also be a larger community Christmas tree, which will be in place and ready for the lighting ceremony that evening. “We want it to be a statement piece,” she said of the tree.
For the first time, the Amboy Christmas Walk will include a Gingerbread House Contest. The contest will have three categories: family, adult and child. To participate, pick up an entry form at city hall, e-mail [email protected] or call city hall at (815) 857-3814. The gingerbread houses must be dropped off at city hall from 2:30-4 p.m. on the day of the Walk, Dec. 2. Judging will be done by vote of people attending the event. Also at city hall, coloring sheets are available for kids ages 3-5. The artwork will be used to decorate downtown. Return the coloring sheets by Nov. 29 to participate.
While enjoying all of the activities at the Christmas Walk, visitors will be entertained by the sound of live Christmas carols sung by the Rock River Valley Barbershop Chorus. The chorus will sing while strolling around the downtown area, another new feature this year.
Returning favorites will also provide some holiday spirit. Eileen Quest will be on hand to perform at the old bandstand between 4 and 6 p.m. In between her sets from 4:45-5:15 p.m., the Starlight Dance Studio will perform.
Over at the Amboy Depot Museum live music will be performed by the Amboy High School Band and Chorus from 5-6:30 p.m. Visitors to the museum will also be able to have some fun at a photo booth provided by On3 Photography.
While downtown, be sure to have the kids drop off their Letters to Santa at The Amboy News, which will be open in their new location, 245 E. Main St.
As in years past, fire pits will be set up in several places downtown. While warming up around the fire, visitors will be able to toast marshmallows and make the traditional “Amboy S’mores.” Refreshments will also be served inside participating businesses.
Other special events planned by businesses and organizations include:
* Main Flower Shop, visitors are invited to decorate their own ornament
* Last Alarm, vendor fair, Christmas themed cocktails, drink specials
* Maria’s, craft show
* Jones & Berry, door busters
* Amboy Hometown Pharmacy, cookies & refreshments, Christmas BINGO
* T&T’s Corner, treats, special price items
* Grace Fellowship Church, popcorn balls, hot chocolate & hot cider
* Two Sisters on Main, drawing for large stocking filled with prizes and free play
* Amboy Arts & Antiques, light refreshments, free Christmas mug for first 50 people, drawing for one of three gifts with purchase
* Amboy Food & Liquor, pulled pork sandwiches and wine tasting
* Starlight Dance Studio (at Dinges Fire Store), sweet treats, raffle, Whimsy Face Painting by the Amboy Chamber
* The Warehouse Boutique, music by Richard Johnson, door prizes, 10 percent off one item
* Iron Tree, outside fire, live music, local Cup & Cake.
Except for the small donation requested for Pictures with Santa, all activities at the Christmas Walk are offered at no charge.
Schamberger and McCoy said they have received a great deal of help from community members in planning this annual event and they encourage everyone to come downtown on Dec. 2, enjoy the festivities and support their local businesses.