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Huntley gets Squared away for Christmas

Santone his elves talk with kids Saturday under gazebo during Huntley’s Christmas Square. | Jeanie Mayer for Sun-Times Media

Santa and one of his elves talk with kids Saturday under the gazebo during Huntley’s Christmas on the Square. | Jeanie Mayer for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 11, 2014 6:10AM

HUNTLEY — Huntley residents braved cold temperatures Saturday to take in some shopping at the Christmas on the Square event.

Undaunted by the temperatures, and covered by heated tents that helped reduce the bitter chill, crafters selling knitted hats, holiday decorations, baubles and food items filled the wish lists of many a shopper at the Kris Kringle Craft Fair.

Tom’s Farm Market took load after load of riders on a chilly hayride around town throughout the noon-5 p.m. event. Kids in snow pants and Santa hats raced around the square undisturbed by the temperatures, eagerly slurping up cups of free hot cocoa and chomping on candy canes while they waited for Old St. Nick to arrive in his white convertible.

One of the organizers of the event, Village Management Assistant Barb Read, was serving cocoa under a tent. She said the size of the crowd surpassed her expectations for the cold weekend.

“We are all pleasantly surprised at the numbers we have seen,” she said. “The crowds started as soon as we opened. There have been a lot of people on the street and in the tents.”

Read said the participation in the tree decorating contest was better than last year, too.

“We had a total of 10 Christmas tree entries,” she said. “Last year we only had six. I had to close the registration early because we ran out of trees.”

This year, the winning entries were the Willow Creek Community Church Huntley, with first place; the Girl Scouts entry, for second place; and the Cub Scout tree earned third place. Proceeds from the vote-with-your-wallet contest will benefit the Grafton Food Pantry.

The pantry also will benefit from the Willow Creek-sponsored coat drive. Volunteer Lisa Uidl said the church has collected more than 200 coats for the food pantry recipients over the past week.

Bundled up from head to toe was 5-year-old Sophia Wenzel, who came out to the festivities with her mom, Rebecca, brother, Caiden, and sister, Savanna.

“I came to see Santa,” Sophia said. “I am going to ask him for a fairy, the pink one.”

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