Family Fun

Elmhurst City Centre premieres Hometown Holiday Block Party

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ELMHURST – Elmhurst City Centre is celebrating Christmas in downtown Elmhurst with its first Hometown Holiday Block Party from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16.

“We took parts of all our favorite events and kind of put it together,” Christy Sopko, event coordinator for Elmhurst City Centre, said.

Sopko said numbers have been dwindling for the tree lighting event, and there are other Elmhurst tree lighting events, such as the Elmhurst Park District’s and the Spring Road Business Association’s.

“But what we don’t have is the fun of Rock the Block and Block to Block,” she said.

Entertainment slated for the event includes a disc jockey, a trackless train, a visit from Santa Claus, and cocktails, such as hot spiced wine and Christmas ale, in addition to chocolate milk and juice boxes.

Mayor Steve Morley will welcome Santa Claus to town around 4 p.m.

“[The mayor] always has some pressing questions for Santa,” Sopko said with a laugh.

Families can take photos for free with Santa Claus and use their own cameras, Sopko said.

The event occurs during the opening weekend for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and moviegoers might want to stop by the event before or after the movie, she said. The Holley Trolley also will be running that day.

“We recognize that it’s a busy, busy time of year. … We purposely picked the time to make it convenient to come before your plans or come after your plans or come in between your plans. … We hope that people will come even if it’s just for a quick stop,” she said.

Sopko said there will be some covered fire pit warming centers where people can gather to stay warm.

“I think families are looking for something fun and kind of feel-good to do this close to the holidays, so we’re hoping that this kind of fills the bill,” she said.

Businesses will have special deals and some are planning to hand out free samples, Sopko said.

Livia Italian Eatery, a restaurant new to Elmhurst as of November, will provide free s’mores that evening in front of its location at 116 E. Schiller St.

Fred Schaller, a managing partner of the restaurant, said that a chef of the restaurant’s Geneva location will provide handmade marshmallows for about 500 s’mores. The restaurant also plans to offer free samples of its pasta.