Light Up the Night Highland Park marked the official start of the holiday season Nov. 17 with a holiday tree lighting, decked out storefronts and more than 200 decorated trees along the central business district and Port Clinton Square.
Attendees were treated to visits with Santa, holiday music performances by the Lake Forest Country Day School Choir and The Performer’s School A Cappella Group, roasted chestnuts and horse-drawn carriage rides.
“The kids are such an important part of this event,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “All the performers, and performances, feature the talents of area children.”
Uncle Dan’s Outdoor Store provided a performance space to students from the Irina Makkai Classical Ballet and Dance School, who performed excerpts from their upcoming production of the “Nutcracker.”
Lilla Makkai Daniels, creative director of the dance school, said they have participated in the event for over a decade and that it is a favorite performance venue for her dancers.
“The magic of these storefront window performances really have a way of putting everyone in the holiday spirit,” Daniels said.
In addition to many family-friendly activities, the event also provided an opportunity to give back to those in need.
Representatives from several local organizations were on hand to collect food and toiletry donations.
Among those was Zac’s Zoo, which was organized after the death of Zac Cohen, whose family continues his legacy of providing stuffed animals to kids in crisis.
“We are here to see the children sing and to take part in the outdoor festivities,” said Tuey Connell of Lake Forest, who attended with his family. “It’s really a great opportunity for us to become part of this community holiday celebration.”