Shiloh Park in Zion shines with holiday spirit; “There’s So Much Love Here” – Chicago Tribune
It started to snow Saturday night, and Santa made a Hallmark Channel holiday call to Shiloh Park in Zion, waving to families as they experienced the Home for the Holidays Trail of Lights.
Zion area residents gathered to make seasonal memories at the Zion Park Area tree lighting just before the famous Trail of Lights attraction opens to drivers.
Even before the trees were lit, people could warm up with drinks and treats indoors. They were invited to make holiday decorations that could be placed on the light tree in the lobby of the Zion Park District Entertainment Center.
Then, hymns, choir, and choir students from Zion Elementary School District 6 and Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 began performing outdoors in front of the center.
According to high school choir director Jennifer Rickert, about 20 members of the high school’s ZBTHS Choir performed.
“I think there’s a famous saying that says, ‘Music speaks where words fail,’ and I love that saying because music penetrates you,” he said. “And sometimes it brings out feelings that words can’t always do.
“Even though we sing with words, I think music brings a lot of joy and happiness, especially at this time of year,” Rickert added.
The singers gathered in a circular pattern and the parents were seen recording the holiday scene with their cell phones. Santa Claus then showed up and the local royal family posed for a photo with Santa.
Santa said he wanted “Peace in the world and that all children enjoy their Christmas and holidays” for Christmas.
The big countdown for tree lighting included a festively decorated light switch arranged by Zion Mayor Billy McKinney, who had the honor of flipping the switch to reveal strings of evergreen colored lights outdoors by the entertainment center. There were smiles accompanied by oohs and ahs.
“It’s always a great time for our citizens to come together,” McKinney said, “and the Park District has had several great events since COVID.”
McKinney said the holidays are “a happy time of the year and just for us to spend some time together in friendship.”
“Let’s work for everyone to have the love and care they show each other at Christmas right now, 365 days a year, instead of just a special day,” McKinney said in a message to everyone. Thanksgiving during the holidays.
“We have a very special community,” he said. “There is so much love here. I can feel it here tonight and let’s keep the spirit throughout the year.”
11-year-old Zion sixth grader Chayanne Castrejon performed with her choir mates.
The singer’s father, Israel, said that a tree-burning ceremony accompanied by the song was a first-time experience for the family and would be a special holiday memory.
“I am happy,” said Israel Castrejon. “I am very happy for everyone.
“It was a very nice experience where all the people came together to greet and sing Christmas,” he said.
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