For the holidays, Montgomery is going to be ‘Merry & Bright’

This year, we have seen events start up again, public gatherings return to our schedules, and the overused phrase “return to normal” slowly come true. While the pandemic shuttered most of our holiday festivities at the end of 2020, Montgomery is back this year, bigger and better with Montgomery Merry & Bright. The Montgomery Beautification Committee, Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and our village team have been working together to enhance this year’s festivities. I would like to personally invite everyone to participate in Montgomery’s holiday festivities. We will celebrate the holiday season merrier and brighter this year with several events for residents, businesses, and visitors from the surrounding communities.

Holiday decorations contest: Now to Dec. 8

The annual Holiday Decorations Contest will be sponsored by the Beautification Committee. Everyone is encouraged to nominate the best-decorated homes and businesses in the village for consideration for awards. Online nominations recently opened, and will end Dec. 5. Judging takes place at 5 p.m. Dec. 8.

Annual tree lighting & visit with Santa: Dec. 5

Save the date for 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, as the Greater Area Montgomery Chamber of Commerce has called up to the North Pole and secured a visit from Santa to the Montgomery Village Hall. Once again, the event hosted by the Village Board and GMACC will feature free hot chocolate, cookies, kids’ activities, giveaways, visits with Santa and musical performances. This year’s event format will add a holiday walk element to showcase local downtown river district businesses, the new outdoor Festival of Trees, and better social distancing. Dress for the weather. After Santa arrives (promptly at 5 p.m.), families are welcome to visit with him at Village Hall and enjoy the activities along River Street from about 5 to 7 p.m.

Festival of trees: Dec. 5-30

The Village Hall again will offer businesses, organizations, families and other local groups the opportunity to decorate and display a tree for the Festival of Trees. Groups can choose to provide their artificial tree and decorations and set them up inside Village Hall the week after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, or participate in the new River Street Festival of Trees. Trees will be lit and decorated along River Street, and added lighting features at Village Hall will brighten the riverside downtown area. The fee is $100, and includes a live tree set along River Street for all to see. Your group will provide weather-friendly décor and lights. In addition, the village will display a sign in front of the tree. The outdoor tree decorating program is an excellent opportunity for businesses, school groups, Scout troops, or families to do something fun for the holidays for all to enjoy. To secure your tree, email communications@montgomeryil.org or download a registration form online at montgomeryil.org/189/Tree-Lighting. Space is limited.

As we enter this holiday season, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the continued dedication of our community during the past year. Pandemic aside, our teachers, first responders, municipal staff, and residents work each day to make our village and community a better place to live, work and play. I am grateful to be a lifelong Montgomery resident and want to recognize the selfless people who contribute so much but have pushed to new limits for the past 20 months. So please take a moment this season to give thanks and make someone else’s holiday season merry and bright.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays, Montgomery!

Visit the village of Montgomery website at montgomeryil.org or follow the village on social media at @MontgomeryIL for more information.

• Matt Brolley is Montgomery village president.