It’s the last weekend before Christmas, and the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce has a full list of COVID-safe activities to enjoy on Madison Street, including a story walk, a live ballerina in the window of Sarah O Gallery, mailboxes to drop off letters to Santa, and a new beer, whose name aptly reflects how many people might feel about 2020.
Pages displaying the text of The Night Before Christmas will be displayed in the windows of businesses along Madison Street. A list of story locations is available at Centuries & Sleuths bookstore, 7419 Madison St. or at forestparkstrong.com/homeholidays.
While reading the story in the shop windows, strollers can enjoy the artistry of the decorated flower planters along Madison Street as well as merchant windows, many sporting seasonal décor.
A live ballerina will be performing in the window of Sarah O Gallery, 7502 ½ Madison St., at noon on Dec. 19, and free chocolates, hot chocolate and apple cider will be served.
Photo opportunities are available at several locations, including a backdrop provided at Schauer Hardware, a Buddy the Elf cut-out in front of Subway at the corner of Circle Avenue and Madison Street, courtesy of the Lyons family, and all along Madison Street and in front of any of the decorated flower pots.
The awesomely adorable balloon arch, created by 99 Hause Balloons, will be back at Kribi Coffee on the corner of Madison Street and Circle Avenue. It’s a must-see and another fun photo opportunity.
Three pop-ups provide places to purchase holiday gifts. An art gallery from The Wright House, featuring over 80 artists and 300 works of art, has been set up in the old Hallmark store, 7443 Madison St. Hours are Dec. 19 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 21 and 22 by appointment, and Dec. 23 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is available at thewrighthouse.net/art-pop-shop.
A retail pop-up featuring beauty and fashion items is being held at Model Esteem, 7451 Madison St., on Dec. 20 from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at modelesteem.com/.
Yoga Loft Studio is hosting vendors selling clothing, coffee, bags and other items at 7234 Madison St. on Dec. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Dec. 19 and 20 from noon to 4 p.m.
And to celebrate the holiday season while recognizing that this year is a bit different than others, Exit Strategy just released a new beer. It’s called “Seasonal Hell 2020.”
As Exit Strategy owner Katherine Valleau said in a video on Facebook, the beer goes with anything, including “your distain for the year.” She added: “It also pairs well with political unrest.”
The chamber worked in tandem with businesses in town to create holiday cheer on Madison Street this year, when COVID-19 caused the annual Window Walk to be canceled.
Sponsors of this year’s event include Forest Insurance, Kribi Coffee, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753 and Sarah O Gallery. Santa’s mailboxes were sponsored by the Gillian Baker Team Realtors, the Park District of Forest Park and Yoga Loft Studios and were built by The Oak Park Handyhuman and Urban Pioneer Group. Signs were provided by Card My Yard, and the balloon display by 99 Haus Balloons.
There are also specials and deals at many Madison Street merchants. A full listing is available at forestparkstrong.com/homeholidays.