Hundreds of people crowd the streets of downtown Aurora as it transforms into a winter wonderland.

The holiday spirit is in the air after hundreds of people flocked to downtown Aurora on Friday evening to witness the city’s transformation into a winter wonderland.

“We just came to watch fireworks and light up the Christmas tree,” said Arianna Virgen, who attended the event with her younger sister.

The Winter Lights Festival on Downer Place has become a tradition for some.

“I’ve been coming for a while now, ever since I was younger,” Stephanie Serrano, who attended the Winter Lights Festival, said.

Others are witnessing its enchantment for the first time.

“It felt really nice being around a lot of people, it just boosts up my spirit,” Ramiro Garcia said.

Believe it or not, the Grinch was also cheering people up during the holiday season!

“It is a little cold, but we got the crowd going tonight and that warmed us up a bit,” said Erik Solis, who was dressed as the Grinch in the parade. “Putting a smile on a kid’s face is great.”

Meanwhile, the much-anticipated Christkindlmarket – a German Christmas market – is returning to the western suburbs for the first time in three years in RiverEdge Park. It had previously appeared in Oak Brook and Naperville, but never in Aurora. On Friday, the market opened for the season.

“I had already gone, and we had some pretty good crêpes there. It was a pleasure to meet all of the vendors. They were all so nice, and it was pretty cool to look at all the different products they were selling from various places “Serrano stated.

The celebrations are warming hearts in preparation for the holidays and reminding us all of what is truly important.

“Definitely Christmas,” said Ava Cobb, 7, when asked what she is most looking forward to this holiday season. “Because I get to spend time with my family.”

Furthermore, Aurora’s Christkindlmarket is close to the Paramount Theatre, where ‘The Sound of Music’ is being performed this holiday season.

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