McHENRY – Having removed his purple balloon hat, 8-year-old Tommy Cullen’s sandy-haired head bobbed vigorously up and down when asked whether he’d been good this year.
Tommy was strolling north Sunday on Court Street with his mother, Megan Quayle, on their way to Veterans Memorial Park in McHenry. Quayle carried a still-in-the-box Lalaloopsy doll to donate to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive, and Tommy looked forward to a visit with Santa.
“I want to have [Tommy] learn about giving to children who don’t have toys,” the McHenry woman said of her gift. “And my stepdad was riding a motorcycle in the Toys for Tots parade.”
The parade featured floats, firetrucks and hundreds of motorcycles thundering through town. It was one of several highlights of McHenry’s Downtown Christmas Walk, which this year spanned Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday included a Taste of Downtown McHenry and the city’s tree lighting.
On Sunday, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to high 50s, downtown thoroughfares brimmed with families and friends enjoying the weather and festivities. Along with the parade, eventgoers enjoyed trolley, horse-drawn wagon and pony rides, store specials, carolers and more. The Riverwalk Area Business Association, the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce, the McHenry Area Jaycees, and the city of McHenry supported the day’s activities.
Stacy Loresch and Stacey DuMez, both of McHenry, brought their children, Emily Loresch, 4, and Jackson and Ashley DuMez, 2 and 4, respectively, to see the sights.
“It’s a perfect little event to kick off the season,” Stacy Loresch said.
Cathy and Mike Akers came from Lake in the Hills to enjoy the activities with a group of seven children and grandchildren. For the fifth or sixth consecutive year, all staked out their favorite parade route spot in Veterans Memorial Park.
In front of Riverside Bakery on Riverside Drive, Mike and Michelle Hogan and their daughters, Sarah and Claire, munched sugar and gingerbread cookies.
And Eddie Anaya, who moved to McHenry five years ago, took advantage of the weather to get outside with his sister, Vicky Arcos of Waukegan, and his five daughters, ranging in age from 8 years to 4-month-old twins.
“We usually keep an eye out for [the Christmas Walk],” Anaya said. “A lot of neat things are going on.”
Mayor Sue Low was quick to name her favorite feature of the day.
“It’s the generosity of people for the Toys for Tots drive,” she said. “There must have been 1,000 motorcycles out there. It’s overwhelming to see that holiday spirit.”