New winter lights walk ushers in holiday season

Fox Valley Labor News Staff Reports
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

     Downtown Aurora is ready to shine with a brand new tradition to welcome in the 2012 holiday season.
     The Winter Lights holiday walk, which will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, is a free, family-friendly event featuring art, music, lights, complimentary refreshments and the lighting of the City’s official holiday tree. The festivities will take place on Downer Place, Stolp Avenue and Galena Boulevard in the 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 numerous holiday treasures on display 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. 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, patrons can head over to North Island Center, 8 E. Galena Blvd., where the City of Aurora’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.
     Local businesses are encouraged to take part and decorate for the Winter Lights event, and a traveling trophy will be awarded to the best decorated store front. Business owners wanting to participate can pick up an application at the City’s Community Services Department, 5 E. Downer Place, Suite A. Applications can be returned to Dee Basile via email at or by fax at 630-256-3379.
     Decorations must be completed and displayed by Wednesday, Nov. 14. Judging will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15 and the winner will be announced during the holiday tree lighting ceremony.
     Featured Winter Lights artists are Laura Nicholson Tom, jewelry; Retta Hentschel, stained glass; Cory McCrory, clay; Carolyn Krainak, glass jewelry; Jen Evans, painting; Cheryl Holz, mixed media and jewelry; Fawn Clark Peterson, clay sculpture; Maureen Gasek, painting and jewelry; Tania Blanco, cards; Tammy Deck, felt clothing; Anne Von Her, pastels; Cass Alexander, hand-cut silhouettes; Jeff Weber, candles and hand-crafted guitars; Natasha Lehrer, fiber arts; Joyce Reuland, books and cards; and Susan Borghesi, clay.
     Other local musicians scheduled to perform include the Empty Can Band, East Aurora High School, Aurora Christian School, Cub Scout Pack 643 and Girl Scout Troop 4187. The event is sponsored by the City of Aurora in conjunction with Cultural Creatives, Inc., the Aurora Public Art Commission and Rotary Club of Aurora.

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