By Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove’s Holiday in the Grove festivities will be headed up by a new committee in 2011, but that doesn’t mean any traditional activities will be absent from the event. In fact, the new Holiday in the Grove committee wants to faithfully recreate the proceedings as they were when the Kaneland John Shields PTO organized the majority of the event in prior years.
“We are a brand-new committee, and recently became a not-for-profit organization—we started the paperwork for that last December,” Holiday in the Grove Committee President Diana Baker said. “This committee is a group of moms, parents, grandparents … we kind of have a mix. We’ve all had kids go through the schools here.”
The 2011 Holiday in the Grove will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning with Breakfast with Santa, which will take in place in five servings scheduled for 7:15, 8:15, 9:15, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. at the Sugar Grove Community House, 141 Main St. The meal, cooked by volunteers from the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District and Police Department, will feature eggs, sausage and biscuits, or pancakes and sausage, for $5. Breakfast with Santa is expected to feed 3,500 participants over the five sessions.
After breakfast, kids can go upstairs and have their picture taken with Santa. Additional children activities will also be available, including a Dear Santa letter and coloring pages.
At the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, 171 Main St., a Mrs. Santa’s Sweet Shoppe and Come to the Stable Nativity will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meanwhile, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, 85 Main St., will host a children’s holiday shop, as well as a cafe and craft fair.
“The children’s holiday shop is where children can shop for gifts for their family members, and we have elves who can help the kids pick out gifts for each individual members, and then they’ll get them wrapped right away so nobody can see the (gifts),” Baker said. “The cafe will serve a light breakfast, lunch and snack items, and we’ll have approximately 40 crafters and vendors in the school gymnasium for the craft fair. We still have calls coming in, so we’ll probably supersede that 40.”
According to Baker, horse-drawn carriage rides will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside Kaneland John Shields. The carriage rides, sponsored by the Sugar Grove Park District, will travel around a few blocks in the community before returning to the school.
Last, but not least, the Sugar Grove Public Library, 125 S. Municipal Dr., will host the story “Santa Paws” from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., a bell choir from 10 to 10:30 a.m., wintry crafts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and music from Brightest Stars Pre-School, which will be broken down into two age groups: grades K-3 (11:45 to 12:30 p.m., 1:15 to 2 p.m.) and 2-6 (11 to 11:45 a.m., 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.).
In addition to Baker, the Holiday in the Grove committee includes Vice President Marguerite Ledone and Secretary Julie Wilson. Baker’s husband Jim serves as the committee treasurer. Sharon Konrad is in charge of the children’s holiday shop.
The committee is also currently seeking volunteers.
“There (are) never enough volunteers to help, and this event is solely run by volunteers,” she said. “We’re not backed by any other group, and we have no other means of finance other than fundraising or sponsorship.”
So why would Baker want to be president of the committee faced with the task of putting together Holiday in the Grove now that the Kaneland John Shields PTO is no longer affiliated with the event?
“We knew how important it was to the kids to have breakfast and take pictures with Santa. We’re a small community and we hate to see a tradition die,” she said. “I am sure finances were a reason why the (Kaneland John Shields) PTO couldn’t make Holiday in the Grove a priority this year, and the event is a big undertaking. The committee may be in for a rude awakening this year. I hope not … I really want to see this event continue.”