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"Holiday Lights in Homewood" 2011: A Cook County town at Christmas

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Living in a town does not necessarily assure that a family will experience all of the fixtures, creative investments and unique businesses that make it home – part of its emotional history and bracing traditions. Not until you have taken an opportunity to volunteer your precious weekend to fundraise elbow to elbow at Idlewild Country Club with neighbors for a charity like The Cancer Support Center for charity; not until you have shared a tray of tacos al Pastor from a Mexican dive favorite; or, until you have chosen a preschool program and assured yourself it will prepare your first child for kindergarten by interrogating a teacher…before dropping your angel off with her, do you truly begin to know and become a part of your town.
At this time of year, a family’s connection is taken to a higher level as eyes climb the elaborately-dressed evergreen tree that is a focal point of a Cook County holiday event.
“Holiday Lights in Homewood”, the town’s Christmas event, is sponsored by the village, its Lions Club, Fire Department, the Downtown Homewood Business Association and Caribou Coffee:

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Downtown Homewood businesses offer specials all night with musical trolley rides around town and Independence Park transforms into a winter Fun Land. Don’t miss the spectacular evening!

(See, the Special Events section of Homewood-Flossmoor Park District's Winter edition of "Choices".) “Holiday Lights” is an annual anniversary for those who have already realized that home is where you gather together with the boy from your daughter’s class; the postal worker who helped you choose the perfect Hanukkah stamp for your holiday mailings; the labor and delivery nurse who coaches your nephew’s soccer team; and your yoga trainer (who is also your spin instructor).
There, you can drink cocoa so hot it stains (and which will scald your tongue, if you’re not careful) for free. You can gather around bonfires, piled high in metal cages on a pavilion in the lovely expanse of Irwin or Independence Park. And after Santa Claus arrives on his Fire Engine Sleigh and your children have high-fived him from their unwieldy perch atop your shoulders; you and your family have many more choices.
Stay to see him light the way for Christmas as he throws the switch, igniting the lights on the tree or, sit on Santa’s lap and make a wish.
Later, you can visit any one of the small businesses, which remain open later than usual especially for the “Holiday Lights” event. One of the businesses that opened its doors to Homewood residents as well as visitors from far and wide is World of Enrichment. In advance of “Holiday Lights”, World of Enrichment offered music and demonstrations, too:

During the Holiday Lights Event in Downtown Homewood, World of Enrichment will host an exciting opportunity for families to explore our unique programs…. Come celebrate our Mexican Fiesta including a fun bilingual story time with take home crafts…. Get chilly by making your own snow & other hands-on science experiments…. Bring in the cheer with family music activities. Come inside to warm up and enjoy some festive treats like sweet pan dulce and Mexican hot chocolate! Open to the public – bring your friends!

Offering up an appealing fare (edible and inedible) of Science for your toddler, a mini-music concert by and for the entire family and food – Conchitas, a shell-shaped, Mexican sweet bread and delicious chili – for the soul; World of Enrichment called families in from the evening cold.
Wearing luxurious, cultural and colorful skirts and blouses, Perla Carpio and her daughters greeted guests and their little, snow-suited children. Parents were invited to “park” their strollers in a multi-purpose room, all the way in the back. Up front, parents were led in fun folk dancing by Kari Buishas , followed by a circle demonstration of authentic, ethnic instruments like Cabasas, bongos and bells. Through the glass pane into which passersby peered (and were drawn in); wide eyes witnessed the making of snow.
From six-thirty to nine at night, Homewood called Cook County families to gather, to meet new people and to support each other in every imaginable way – in the spirit of Christmas. Sugar plums danced like fantastic porcelain dolls at American Dance Center on Ridge Road, and Girl Scout Troop 632 sold scarves and hot chocolate for a year-end event.
Families made Homewood home – again – solidifying a seasonal cycle of life as sweet as the cold was bitter. And “Holiday Lights” shone bright in 2011.

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