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Evanston residents gathered at Independence Park on Saturday evening for a tree lighting ceremony, the final event of the Central Street Holiday open house.

Shops opened at 10 a.m. November 13 for holiday shopping and the afternoon consisted of visits from Santa, the Frozen Robins Carolers, elves and a toy soldier.

The holiday shopping scene on Central Street. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Angela Shaffer, Executive Director of Central Street Evanston, said that although the holiday open house is a yearly occurrence, the added element of the tree lighting caught Evanston residents’ attention and contributed to an extra festive spirit.

“It’s all here to get people in the mood,” she said. “Shopping early, supporting small businesses; it’s a community district.”

Foodstuffs sold hot chocolate and cookies outside its storefront as Evanstonians were bundled up waiting for the tree lighting.

At 5 p.m., Santa led the crowd in a countdown 3 … 2 …1 … and a single pine tree soaring above the nearby buildings was lit in colors of red, green, orange and blue.

Sam Stroozas

Sam Stroozas is a reporter and the social media manager at the Evanston RoundTable. She covers small businesses, social justice and human interest stories. Contact her at sam@evanstonroundtable.com and...

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