Crystal Lake at 100: Winter Festival part of Centennial celebration

The start of winter brings with it another exciting Crystal Lake centennial event.

The Centennial Winter Festival is a signature event of the centennial year. It will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7. The city, the Crystal Lake Park District and Lakeside Legacy Arts Park are hosting this centennial event with wintertime fun for everyone.

Bingo, festive food and drinks and entertainment are planned for adults. For families, there are tons of activities for the kids, including arts and crafts, a candy cane castle, storytelling, hot chocolate, s’mores, winter wagon rides, ice sculpting demonstrations, the Burton Riglet snowboard kids park, trackless train rides and, of course, Santa’s reindeer petting zoo.

Teens, bring some friends out to Raging Buffalo’s Rail Jam demonstration snowboarding experience, the iceless skate rink inside the Main Beach building and get silly creating a Dance Heads video karaoke DVD. All events at the Centennial Winter Festival are free.

In addition to the Centennial Winter Festival, the centennial events calendar is filled with numerous other holiday events that run through Dec. 22 and are hosted by the Crystal Lake Park District, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, the Raue Center for the Arts, Downtown Crystal Lake and the city of Crystal Lake. At least 16 holiday-themed events are planned:

• The Santa house is open Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 23. Remember to meet Santa for breakfast Dec. 7. Visit www.downtowncl.org to get tickets for Breakfast with Santa and Santa house times.

• The Raue Center has several holiday productions, including the Northwest Indiana Symphony on Dec. 13, Voices in Harmony: A Sing-along Messiah on Dec. 15, and the Berkshire Ballet Theater’s production of The Nutcracker on Dec. 21 and 22. On Sunday, be a part of the Kiwanis Santa Run. Visit www.rauecenter.org or www.kiwanissantarunforkids.org for information on these events.

• The inaugural Blues Jam starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park. The historic Dole Mansion is owned and operated by Lakeside Legacy Arts Park. From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday is the First Friday Art Show at the Dole with a holiday theme. Starting at 8 p.m. is the holiday Christmas concert. Lakeside Legacy Arts Park hosts local artists’ work and studio space. The Arts Park, along with Crystal Lake Main Beach, will be the site of the Dec. 7 Centennial Winter Festival. Visit www.lakesidelegacy.org for information on these and future events.

• The fun doesn’t stop with the Winter Festival. The Crystal Lake Park District has Santa’s Workshop on Dec. 8. You also can register to have Santa or Mrs. Claus call your house to talk with the kids on the evening of Dec. 9. On Dec. 13, Dec. 17 and Dec. 20 the park district has Christmas Bedtime Stories for all kids. Closing out their holiday program is the Palmer House Victorian Tea on Dec. 15. Visit www.crystallakeparks.org to register for any of these events. 

• The Monthly Historical Speaker Series continues at 1 p.m. Dec. 8 with the History of the Fire Department at City Hall. Come find out the historical facts about Crystal Lake’s Fire Department.

We look forward to seeing you at the Centennial Winter Festival. Happy holidays!

• Aaron Shepley is mayor of Crystal Lake.

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