The annual Holiday Homecoming Weekend filled downtown St. Charles with holiday cheer Nov. 24 and 25, featuring the Lighting of the Lights Ceremony, a free holiday movie, Santa’s House and the Electric Christmas Parade.
The Electric Christmas Parade showcased more than 60 entries from Kane County businesses and organizations. Judges selected winners in three categories: Business, Nonprofit and Children, as well as a Best in Show winner.
Best in Show
First: Cub Scout Pack 150
Second: Duet Dance Academy, D2 Performing Company
Third: St. Charles Swim Team/Aquatics
First: St. Charles Park District
Second: Support Over Stigma
Third: Anderson Humane
First: Garage 31
Second: Blue Peak Tents
Third: Fox Town Plumbing
Leo Galvez is a member of the VW Vocho Club Chicago and has participated in the Electric Christmas Parade the past two years. The club took Best in Show both years. He said the club is very family-oriented and the kids enjoy being part of the parade.
The club does not make a float. It joins the parade as a caravan of Volkswagen vehicles, all individually decorated by their owners. Galvez said club members come from all over the Midwest and some drove from out of state in classic cars without heat just for the parade.
Galvez said participating in events such as the parade bring club members together and most members paraded with their families in the back seats. He said they don’t expect to win. They just enjoy coming together with their families around the holidays, he said.
This year, the club had 20 cars participating and Galvez said they hope to add even more in next year’s parade. He said the club appreciates the city of St. Charles for inviting it to the parade and members are proud of the recognition and excited to return next year.
Beth Nystrom owns Garage 31 with her parents, husband, sister and brother-in-law. They have been participating in the Electric Christmas Parade for the past five years and took first place for the second time this year.
Nystrom said the family has been watching the parade for more than a decade and her father dreamed of being part of it since long before Garage 31 opened in 2017.
Nystrom said the theme for their float this year was snow. The family loves to dress in costumes, so the kids and friends dressed as snowmen and danced alongside Christmas trees on the float, which shot snow out of the sides toward the crowd.
She said everyone in the family pitched in to help build the float over the past few months.
“We don’t do it to compete. We do it now because It has become an amazing tradition in our family.” Nystrom said. “Everyone really enjoys being in that parade.”
Nystrom said her family’s favorite part is the excitement of the parade. She said even when things go wrong with the float, when they’re parading down Main Street and hearing people cheering on their family while promoting the business is really awesome.
“It’s not about the competition for us at all. It’s definitely just about having fun with the family and I hope we are in it for years to come,” Nystrom said.