All the bells and whistles

Ring in the holiday season - literally - at Hinsdale's Christmas Walk


Last updated 11/29/2023 at 4:59pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Christmas Walk revelers fill Washington Street in downtown Hinsdale last year during the annual holiday event. This year's celebration will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. tomorrow and include familiar activities like the tree lighting ceremony with Santa and Village President Tom Cauley, as well as some fresh features for all to enjoy. (file photos)

When Hinsdale's Memorial Building was constructed in 1929 as a tribute to the village's war heroes, its clock tower housed a bell. The bell was replaced by a carillon system in 1973 for the town's centennial but has been inoperable for years.

Until now.

A new carillon system was recently installed as part of this year's 150th sesquicentennial celebration, and visitors at the Christmas Walk tomorrow, Dec. 1, will be treated to a special unveiling of the new chimes after the 5 p.m. tree lighting on the south lawn of the Memorial Building at 19 E. Chicago Ave.

The ding-dong debut is sure to get the festivities off on the right note at the 57th annual holiday season kickoff event taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. throughout the downtown business district. Sponsored by the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce and Razny Jewelers, the Christmas Walk will include all the favorite features that have made it a cherished gathering for generations of residents and families.

The activities will begin with the arrival of Santa Claus by Hinsdale fire truck to join Village President Tom Cauley for the holiday tree lighting ceremony. Santa will then take up residence in his Burlington Park workshop to meet and greet young wish list bearers.

The rest of the fun will shift north of the railroad tracks, centered around the intersection of Washington and First streets, including the classic carousel, the trackless train, a bonfire to help celebrants warm up and fun characters to entertain and amuse kids of all ages.

Amanda Wagner, the chamber's marketing director, encouraged attendees to keep an eye out for new costumed visitors.

"We are looking forward to this year's Christmas Walk, as we have planned for some additional fun characters to be out at the event. One in particular I know kids and families alike will be surprised to see," she said, maintaining the element of suspense.

Wagner said many chamber members will have booths set up along Washington Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic from First to the railroad tracks, as will First between Garfield and Lincoln streets, and Hinsdale Avenue from Village Place to Lincoln.

"Washington Street is planned to be filled entirely with vendors on-site with plenty of fun activities or holiday treats at each booth," she said.

People are advised to park either in the two-level parking deck adjacent to Hinsdale Middle School or in the lot just north of the tracks between Washington and Lincoln.

Wagner said the event will not disappoint, and it's also a great opportunity to get a jump on some of their holiday shopping.

"Our trackless train and carousel are returning as those are a huge hit each year. We're looking forward to the tree lighting ceremony with the new tree," she said. "We hope that all that attend walk away filled with the holiday spirit - and maybe some new ideas to add to their Christmas wish lists."

Other holiday festivities

Beyond the Christmas Walk, here are some other activities coming to town to make the season bright.

• Children of Hinsdale residents can write a letter to Santa and drop it in Santa's Mailbox at village hall, 19 E. Chicago Ave., from Dec. 1-8. Writers will receive a personal letter back in seven to 10 business days. Be sure to include the parent form available on the website listed above under Special Events > Santa's Mailbox. Questions? Call (630) 789-7090 or send an email to [email protected].

• Kris Kringle is making a special lunch stop for his fans to experience Pizza with Santa from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at KLM Lodge, 5901 S. County Line Road. The event also will include dessert and photo ops. The cost is $25, and reservations are required. Visit or call (630) 789-7090.

• Take photos with Santa and enjoy music, holiday crafts and activities, visits with characters from "Frozen," and a hot chocolate bar and treats station at Winter Wonderland on Saturday, Dec. 3 at KLM Park, 5905 S. County Line Road. Sign up for a 9, 10 or 11 a.m. or noon time slot. The cost is $20 per person. Toys for Tots donations also will be accepted there. Visit or call (630) 789-7090.

• Celebrate the holidays by decorating gingerbread cookies, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride and visiting Santa at Hinsdale for the Holidays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16, at Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave. Visit for more information.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean


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