Let the celebration begin in Antioch with Holiday Happenings

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

A stop to visit Santa at the Hiram Buttrick Sawmill is one of the highlights at Antioch’s Holiday Happenings. (Photo courtesy of Visit Lake County)

With the opening of the railroad crossing at North Avenue last week, businesses in Antioch’s historic downtown area can focus on the holiday traffic instead of detour back-ups.

Closed for several months because of federally mandated upgrades to the Canadian National/Metra Central train line corridor, Main Street resembled a conga line of vehicles at times.

“I would like to thank the Lake County Division of transportation for finishing this project ahead of schedule,” said Antioch Mayor Scott Gartner. “The timing couldn’t be better. This alleviates traffic congestion just ahead of the holiday shopping season in downtown Antioch.”

The village has partnered with the Antioch Chamber of Commerce in bringing numerous family friendly events back for the holiday season. There are also new wrinkles added just for the fun.

“Downtown Antioch is a wonderful place to enjoy during the holidays for the whole family because there are a lot of fun free events,” said Barbara Porch, the Antioch Chamber of commerce’s executive director. “Children love the Kringle Christmas Village.”

The Chamber presents the “Dickens Holiday Village,” featuring a cast of memorable characters from Charles Dickens’ tales creating a wonderful story with costumes, scenes and storyboards. The display is indoors at Kringle’s Christmas Village, after lining spots along the downtown’s Main Street until several years ago.

An Olde English public art exhibit with more than 40 lifelike mannequins display more than 25 different storylines, including tableaus of oversized holiday and wintertime shadowboxes. The idea is to bring back memories of the Marshall Field’s window displays at Christmas and runs from Nov. 25-Jan. 1, in the indoor showroom located at the far end of the Piggly Wiggly Plaza, on Orchard Street.

The Tarkowski Family Light Show has become a tradition at the residence, located at 1256 Bradford Lane in Antioch. This free animated light show is synched to music by setting your car radio to station 88.7 FM. The stand has candy canes. Consider adding to the donation box and benefiting the Antioch Traveling Closet shop. The show is running now to Dec. 25 (6-9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

The Christmas Musical Light Show is a drive-up program at the Antioch Bandshell on Skidmore Avenue, behind Main Street on Depot Street. The shining bulbs have two shows that rotate on alternating days, from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 1-24.

In addition to visiting the shops in the historic Main Street business district, between

Depot and Lake streets, no visit would be complete without meeting Santa Claus at the Hiram Buttrick Sawmill (800 Cunningham Drive).

The picturesque replica on Sequoit Creek represents one of the first major Lake County industries.

Santa Claus is available to hear wishes from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 16 and 17 and from noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18.

More activities and information can be accessed at http://www.antioch.il.gov.