Deerfield Winter Celebration ushers in holidays
Mike Jakymiw of Deerfield and kids Charlie (left), 6, and Callen, 4, wait for the sleigh to take off at the Annual Winter Celebration outside the Deerfield Village Hall on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 6, 2012 4:06PM
DEERFIELD — The smell of roasting chestnuts filled the air in downtown Deerfield Friday night during the village’s annual Winter Celebration.
Before the holiday event opened at 5p.m., residents were already lined up for a carriage ride through the festively-decorated village, bundled in coats and gloves.
While most were repeat attendees, some residents who are new to Deerfield, came out to get a feel for their community.
“We’ve only been living in Deerfield since August, so this is our first year (at the event),” Jennifer Marks said, as her children, Scarlett, 4, and Jacob, 9, petted the reindeer. “We figured we’d come and see it, it’s great the village does this.”
Those reindeer, 5-year-old Leroy and 3-year-old Pinto, were the star attraction of the evening, right behind the carriage rides.
“The kids are loving the reindeer,” Heidi Brown, another new resident of Deerfield, said. “They’re also excited to go on the sleigh ride.”
The reindeer were actually on loan from the North Pole, as they are Santa’s back-up reindeer, according to A Zoo to You employee Lindsay Mikolajczyk.
“We just like talking to the kids, they like meeting Santa’s reindeer,” Mikolajczyk said of the Marengo-based petting zoo. “It’s a special time; it’s not that often they get to meet the reindeer.”
Inside village hall, the air was warm with baked cookies and folks waiting for the night’s entertainment: the Deerfield High School Choraliers and the Bob Gand Holiday Jazz Combo.
Andrew Lichterman, the village’s management analyst, said upwards of 500 people were expected to attend the two-day event.
Mayor Harriet Rosenthal, donning an apron to serve food to attendees, said the event is a “wonderful celebration.”
“It’s one of the highlights of our year,” Rosenthal said. “The carriage rides; it’s so beautiful to go past the historic village to see the trees all lit up there.”
Back outside, one family was beginning to gather for what has become their annual tradition.
“We’ve been coming here for years,” Deerfield resident Trish Morrow said. “The whole family comes out.”
Morrow pointed out that the reindeer were the same ages her sons, 3 and 5.
Kree O’Rourke-Salamanca said it was the carriage rides with aunts, uncles and cousins that she was most excited about.
“I’m really excited about the sleigh ride with the cousins and aunts and uncles, and the aromas; the chestnuts roasting on the fire,” Salamanca added.