With a large crowd on hand, County Executive Samantha Kerkman led the countdown to the lighting of the new county Christmas tree in Petrifying Springs Park.
Located near the Highway JR entrance to the park, just south of the Biergarten, the tree will glow each night through the holidays, this year and for years to come, Kerkman said.
“This tree has been transplanted and will stand here for generations,” Kerkman said. “Over the years, it will grow — as will this community celebration of the holidays.”
The tree lighting itself was but one of a series of festive activities at the park Saturday.
Normally closed for the winter, the Petrifying Springs Biergarten opened for the afternoon and evening, selling cold beer and hot, mulled wine. The Frites on the Street food truck was on hand selling chili and French fries, as was a hot chocolate vendor.
Members of the Hungry Five — the house band of the MGV Harmonia German Chorus — performed Christmas music for the crowd.
For those who needed a place to warm up, there were three heated domes from Pop Up Party and Igloo Service, a new local business that offers outdoor winter party rentals.
In a partnership between Kenosha County Parks and Pringle Nature Center, stations were available where kids made outdoor ornaments with peanut butter birdseed and oranges, providing some decoration for the new tree and snacks for the birds that fly over the park.
And the man in the red suit — Santa himself — made the trip down from the North Pole to take photos with kids near the newly lit tree.
All of this occurred a day later than originally scheduled, as the rainfall Friday led to a postponement of the festivities. Judging from the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, the delay didn’t seem to be an issue.
“For a first-time event, this is a tremendous success,” said Kenosha County Parks Director Matthew Collins. “We’re already looking to be back with something even bigger and better in 2024.”