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Balmy Dundees celebrate all things Dickens

Santarrives during Spirit Christmas parade during last year's Dickens Dundee festival. This year's festival is Dec. 7 8. | Sun-Times

Santa arrives during the Spirit of Christmas parade during last year's Dickens in Dundee festival. This year's festival is Dec. 7 and 8. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: January 4, 2013 6:09AM

It was more than just the Dickens in Dundee festivities that had people’s spirits up during the annual celebration.

The weather, complete with sunny skies and 50 degree temperatures Saturday, also had people in a good mood.

“It’s really nice today,” said Gilberts resident Shannon Green, who attended Saturday’s ‘Spirit of Christmas’ parade with her husband, Scott, and their children, Alyssa and Addison. “And I just love all these fun activities. I think it’s great.”

Besides the tree lightings Friday night for both East and West Dundee, another Dickens in Dundee weekend event was the Living Windows display, where storefronts in downtown West Dundee came to life with people in costume to represent Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and other holiday favorites.

Saturday continued with more fun, including a petting zoo, visits with Santa, a cookie walk, and the Festival of Trees, where community members could vote for the best decorated Christmas trees with donations of loose change and dollars. The trees were decorated by local school groups and clubs.

In honor of the event’s 25th anniversary, the community could also enjoy an old-fashioned horse drawn sleigh ride through historic West Dundee.

For West Dundee resident Brady Francis, 6, the parade was the best part of the Dickens in Dundee event.

“It was fun,” he said.

He was also excited that his bell ornament adorned one of the trees on display in West Dundee’s Grafelman Park.

Reed Pittenger, 7, of East Dundee, liked the Golden Retrievers that walked in the parade.

“They had really cool outfits,” he said.

Another perk of the parade for him?

“I got lots of candy,” he said.

He wasn’t quite sure what he wanted Santa to bring him this year, but his younger brother, Lennon, 5, had a tall order.

When asked what he wanted for Christmas, he pointed at the Grafelman grounds and said, “I want this park.”

Elizabeth Janett, 6, of Carpentersville enjoyed the petting zoo, which included animals such as goats, sheep, miniature horses, chickens, a bunny, and even piglets.

“I liked the animals and getting to feed them,” she said.

Her mother, Sara, said the annual Dickens in Dundee event is a popular meeting spot.

“We have some family and friends in the area and we all get together and meet up here,” she said.

Later Saturday afternoon, the community was invited to enjoy a free screening of the 1938 version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Fox River Valley Library District, with free popcorn and refreshments were served.

The weekend’s festivities culminated with the Dickens’ Christmas Dinner at the Randall Oaks Golf Club and Banquets Saturday night, where guests were encouraged to dress as Dickens characters.

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