Just about anyone who’s spent any time in town shares the same sentiment: Forest Park has loads of charm. Back in March, Chicago Magazine agreed by declaring Forest Park the village with the “Mayberryest” downtown, noting that Madison Street boasts “an ideal mix of independent shops, buzzy restaurants and small-town nostalgia.” But the magic of this small town extends beyond Madison Street.

If you asked a group of residents, business owners and visitors what they love most about Forest Park, you’d come up with a list of reasons that could all be translated into just a couple of words — small-town charm. It’s evident in so many ways that it would be nearly impossible to cover it all in 450 words. So … I’m going to talk about my favorite event: Forest Park Chamber’s Holiday Walk.

Simply put, the Holiday Walk is a delightful event that brings out the best in Forest Park. From charitable bake sales, live window displays and holiday refreshments to all kinds of music, face painting and Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by fire engine, this event exudes charm. The spirit is amazing, and there’s no shortage of fun along the way.

You could grab a delish meatball on a toothpick, see some amazing dancers from Ballet Légere’s The Nutcracker, or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride. The perfect photo for your holiday card awaited at the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ice sculpture in front of Todd & Holland Tea Merchants, on Santa’s lap at Forest Park Bank, or with the Storm Troopers at Forest Insurance.

Everyone plays a part in making the Holiday Walk an amazing event, and it’s great to see everyone come together to make it happen. It literally takes a village — which is a great place to start when I think of those we need to thank. A big “thank you” to the village of Forest Park for all they do to support the Chamber. Another amazing Chamber partner is Forest Park Bank who provides a home for the Chamber and participates in and supports all we do. We couldn’t pull off this event without the support of the following sponsors: Title Sponsor – Forest Insurance; Ice Sculpture Sponsors – Todd & Holland and Kristen Marie Lyons for Judge; Carriage Sponsors – Crystal Carwash, Forest Park Schools, McDonald’s Forest Park, Escape Factor and Fantastic Sam’s; Face Painting Sponsors – Paulson’s Paint and Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753; Santa and the Sky High Balloon Guy – Montessori Language Academy; Silver Bells Sponsor – Christopher B. Burke Engineering; Snowman Sponsors – caffe De Luca, Suite Spotte, Mohr Oil and O’Sullivan’s Public House.

Thank you to the merchants for your creativity and participation, to our volunteers, and to everyone who came out to experience the Holiday Walk. We live a charmed life in Forest Park!

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