The Central Evanston Business Association (CEBA) is hosting its first holiday festival and tree lighting ceremony from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Church Street and Dodge Avenue. 

A Christmas tree is ready for lighting at the northeast corner of Church Street and Dodge Avenue. Credit: Gina Castro

For the past four years, without much hoopla, CEBA has adorned Church and Dodge with a Christmas tree, said CEBA president Gigi Giles, the owner of Ebony Barber Shop Evanston.

The business association was thrilled by the success of its first small tree lighting ceremony last year, Giles said. So this year the business association is turning the holiday cheer up a notch.

“The tree lighting was so amazing that we decided to put a celebration around it and make it more festive,” said Wendy Weaver, a member of CEBA and co-owner of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor. 

The Fifth Ward community as well as the rest of Evanston are invited to celebrate the holiday season alongside CEBA, Fifth Ward businesses and six retail vendors. Local businesses will be giving away free food and drinks at the event, which comes just in time for holiday shopping.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own ornaments to decorate the community tree. There will also be an ornament-making station so the festivalgoers can create decorations on the spot. 

The Evanston Township High School choir will be singing Christmas carols for the crowd too. 

CEBA has been collecting toys for several weeks in preparation for its toy giveaway for children in the community.

“Events like these make us feel safer, more connected and generally more positive about the state of the city,” said Council Member Bobby Burns, 5th Ward. “They lift our spirits and give us hope for even better days in the months ahead.”

CEBA came together eight or nine years ago to uplift the Fifth Ward, Giles said. The business association helps coordinate outreach and infrastructure  improvements for the ward and partners with the City of Evanston.

“We got together and started looking around at our area and noticed that we were missing a few things,” Giles said. “We just want our area to be beautified just as well, and for us to do that, we have to come together as one to make it happen.”

Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the Evanston RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative...

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *