Hundreds of Evanstonians braved 20-degree weather and a fierce wind Saturday to witness the annual tree lighting at Fountain Square.

The event featured performances by members of the Evanston Children’s Choir and a musical quintet from Northwestern University, a visit from Santa and welcome servings of hot chocolate from Collectivo Coffee.

People gather around the Christmas tree in Fountain Square in Downtown Evanston. Credit: Manan Bhavnani

Before Fountain Square renovations added the permanent holiday tree, the city used to cut down a tree or assemble an artificial tree every year for the plaza. Since 2018 the permanent tree has been decorated seasonally as a more environmentally friendly option.

Annie Coakley, executive director for the Downtown Evanston business district, thanked the crowd on Saturday for braving the elements. She urged the community to support local businesses.

A person dressed as Santa makes an appearance at the tree lighting celebration Saturday.

Stephanie Mendoza, Evanston’s city clerk, invited people to participate in the mayor’s food and toy drive.

Manan Bhavnani

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

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