Penelope Maka, 7, of Palos Heights, and her brother, Jacob, 10, met with Santa at the Palos Heights Kris Kringle Market on Friday night. (Photos by Kelly White)

Penelope Maka, 7, of Palos Heights, and her brother, Jacob, 10, met with Santa at the Palos Heights Kris Kringle Market on Friday night. (Photos by Kelly White)

Palos Heights celebrates holiday season at Kris Kringle Market

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The Shepard High School Choir sings Christmas carols at the Palos Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday night.

By Kelly White

The Palos Heights community welcomed in the Christmas season by showcasing its small-town charm and holiday cheer this past weekend.

Residents from Palos Heights, along with those from surrounding communities, came out to celebrate the Holidays in the Heights at the city’s Kris Kringle Market on December 1 and December 2 at the Palos Heights Municipal Parking Lot at 12217 S. Harlem Ave.

“The Kris Kringle Market brings a whole new group to town to enjoy the ambience and the great restaurants we have to offer,” Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz said. “It brings back that small town feeling to Palos Heights, just like a Hallmark movie.”

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Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz thanked everyone who attended the Palos Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The Christmas celebration is truly a collaborative effort between the City of Palos Heights, the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Development staff, Palos Heights Residents, Palos Heights Business Development Committee and members of the local business community and promised something for all ages.

The weekend event kicked off Friday night with the city’s annual tree lighting extravaganza, featuring a welcome ceremony by Straz and the president of the Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, Todd Probasco, along with city officials, and many members of the Palos Heights business area.

“This event is not only great for the area, but great for local businesses,” Probasco, of Palos Heights, said. “What a way to bring Christmas into Palos Heights to show where we live, work and what we love.”

The Palos Heights Kris Kringle Market began back in 2016, and was originally made up of vendors from the city’s farmer’s market and some businesses in town. The first year showcased less than 15 merchants.

Palos Heights Alderman Jeffrey Key played a major role when he worked alongside the Business Economic Development Committee in 2018 on expansion of the event. That year saw more than 70 vendors. City officials said they were happy to see the event continue to grow with the years.

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Kyla Casey, 7, of Palos Heights, was all smiles at the Palos Heights Kris Kringle Market.

“The city of Palos Heights is working hard for both the residential community as well as the business community during the busy holiday season,” Key said. “We hold events like the Kris Kringle Market to bring thousands of people into our business district to enjoy the market but to shop and eat in the Palos Heights shops and restaurants, too.”

The Palos Heights Public Library, Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanical Gardens and the Palos Heights Recreation Center also had representatives at the event.

The city’s local merchants and businesses were not the only things highlighted at this year’s Kris Kringle Market, as Santa Claus, himself, also made an appearance. Parents and caregivers were able to snap the perfect family photo right in the heart of Palos Heights.

“Family and Christmas go hand in hand and Palos Heights wants to have our families celebrate right here in town,” Key said.

Aside from shopping Christmas-themed artisan vendors and local area crafters, attendees could also enjoy festive live music, view the creation of ice sculptures, or stroll along the Olde Palos Shopping Centre.

And, the Christmas festivities did not end with there, as families were able to join in on the Palos Heights Holiday Parade on December 2 along Harlem Avenue between 126th and College Drive.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the Stagg choir sang at the tree lighting, it was the choir from Shepard High School.

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Local area residents from Palos Heights, along with those from surrounding communities, came out to celebrate the Holidays in the Heights at the city’s Kris Kringle Market on December 1 and on December 2 at the Palos Heights Municipal Parking Lot at 12217 S. Harlem Ave.

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