WEST LOOP — A tree lighting, menorah lighting and holiday stroll will spread holiday cheer in the West Loop this weekend.
Kicking off Saturday, West Loop residents can enjoy the holiday stroll on Madison Row and check out Christmas tree- and menorah-lighting ceremonies in the neighborhood.
From 1-5 p.m. Saturday, businesses on Madison Street between Halsted and Ashland will be offering discounts and holiday activities during the holiday stroll.
Smitten Boutique, 1047 W. Madison, will have a letters for Santa station, Cat & Mouse Game Store, 1112 W. Madison, will have an ornament decorating party and Hero Coffee Bar, 1100 W. Madison, will offer winter-themed drinks.
Other participating business will offer deals and discounts. The event is sponsored by the West Central Association.
From 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Mary Bartelme Park will host its 8th annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday at the park, 115 S. Sangamon St.
The ceremony will include a visit from Santa, sleigh rides, ice sculpting and musical performances from the Skinner West choir and Merit School of Music.
Hot chocolate will be provided by Warm Belly Bakery. Pizza will be served courtesy of Lou Malnati’s.
Bartelme Park will also host its 8th annual menorah-lighting ceremony at 5:15 p.m. Sunday. The park’s advisory committee has teamed up with a local Chabad at University of Illinois at Chicago to put the event together.
Ahead of Sunday’s menorah lighting ceremony, from 4-5 p.m., kids can enjoy Hanukkah craft hour and a master balloon twister at Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria St.
The lighting ceremony will also offer hot drinks, latches and donuts and live music.
Armando Chacon, president of the Mary Bartelme Park Advisory Council and the West Central Association, said the holiday events aim to foster a sense of community among residents in the West Loop. The lighting ceremonies came to fruition after a Chacon’s neighbor suggested erecting a tree at the park.
“I immediately shared his excitement and was able to put it together in a matter of weeks,” he said.
During the first year, Chacon decided to team up with a local Chabad organization to also organize the first menorah lighting ceremony. He wanted to ensure the local Jewish community was included in the holiday celebrations.
He remembers the first ceremony’s humble beginnings when 20 people withstood five-degree weather at the park. Since then, the tree and menorah lightings have evolved and grown over the last eight years with more activities, Chacon said.
“To see [this] grow the way it has over the last several years is wonderful,” Chacon said. “We look forward to this becoming a West Loop tradition.”
Here are photos from previous lighting ceremonies.