Photo by Genie Lemieux, Evanston Photographic Studios

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Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl led the crowd that packed Fountain Square in a countdown as she flipped the switch to light the City’s Christmas tree with help from Mrs. Claus and friends Nov. 29. Clocks and watches did not appear to be coordinated, as several people told the RoundTable they arrived too late for the tree-lighting, but a spokesperson from Downtown Evanston, which coordinated the event, said he had a video that documented the tree-lighting at 5:29 p.m.

Even before the tree-lighting, it might have been difficult to find a quiet spot in the City. The business community participated in the nationwide Small Business Saturday promotion to entice patrons to Evanston’s unique shops. Mini Abe, the mascot of the Illinois Tourism Bureau, spent the week in Evanston, visiting each of Evanston’s business districts and promoting the Illinois-Northwestern football game, recently renamed the Land of Lincoln game.

“Art Under Glass,” which beautifies empty storefronts by turning them into ad hoc galleries showcasing the work of local artists, unveiled its newest exhibit with a reception at The Merion retirement facility and a tour along Chicago Avenue and Davis Street. Continuing the use of empty retail space for cultural purposes, a choir from etc. Music School sang holiday favorites and students from Actors Gymnasium juggled, rode unicycles and otherwise entertained adults and children in the former Ann Taylor Loft space on Sherman Avenue during the final preparations for the tree-lighting. Shortly afterward, the holiday season officially began.