Ogle County News

Polo Christmas Festival aims to go ‘big as possible’ in comeback year

Third annual event set for Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m.; additional activities, shopping take place earlier

POLO — The COVID-19 pandemic crossed most possibilities off the list of events for the 2020 Polo Christmas Festival, but organizers are aiming to bounce back bigger and better this year.

The third annual Polo Christmas Festival is set for Dec. 4, with most events taking place between 4 and 8 p.m. A few activities take place earlier, and local shopping opportunities are available throughout the day.

“It’s a great thing for our kids,” festival committee President D.J. Sanders said. “I grew up with a Christmas walk. It was something we did every year; it was a tradition. That’s something we’re trying to build here.”

The inaugural Polo Christmas Festival was held in 2019 under the direction of Sanders, Megan White and other community members the pair “slowly pulled in” to form a committee.

It was a huge hit, with lots of involvement by local businesses, Sanders said.

The 2020 event wasn’t quite the same, with a tree lighting and carriage rides really being the only activities, said White, who also is a Polo Chamber of Commerce board member. Still, they were “blown away by the attendance and how many people came out,” she said.

“I think it was something to get outside and be able to celebrate,” White said.

The plan is to build on 2019, going as big as possible, Sanders and White said.

“It’s been quite a journey these past couple years trying to get this thing going,” Sanders said.

Things to do this year include breakfast with Santa at Faith United Methodist Church; treats and children’s crafts at various businesses; a winter carnival and craft and vendor show at Crossroads Community Church; horse and wagon rides starting at the Polo Public Library pavilion; a tree lighting at Paul’s Park; and more.

New this year is a historical trolley tour of Polo. The tours run from 2-4 p.m. and take off from the Polo Historical Society. Participants will learn about some of the historical homes and businesses in town.

Oak Lane, of Oregon, is providing a trolley free of charge, White said.

The Lion’s Club Christmas dinner fundraiser will be at the fire station with sit-down or drive-through service available.

There also will be a 60/40 Christmas cash raffle, with the winner taking home 60% of the proceeds, White said.

“Definitely the last year has been hard on a lot of people,” White said when asked why people should come. “Maybe they haven’t seen friends or family much, and this [the festival] is just a great way to come together and celebrate our small town and all the wonderful things that come along with that.”

The Polo Christmas Festival is sponsored by the Polo Chamber of Commerce.

Dec. 4 schedule

8-10 a.m.: Breakfast with Santa (Faith United Methodist Church)

8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Shop Local

  • • 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.: County Floral’s Christmas open house
  • • 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: The Christmas Cupboard (Christmas decor, gifts and antiques)
  • • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Cub Scouts Pack 337 selling Christmas wreaths and swag (St. Mary’s Church)
  • • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Craft, Vendor and Farmer’s Market Show (Crossroads Community Church)
  • • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Our House Antiques (antiques, gifts, refreshments and door prizes)
  • • 2:30-7 p.m.: Sip and Shop Vendor Show (next to Chesty P’s)

2-4 p.m.: Historical Trolley Tour of Polo, featuring the Polo Historical Society (Meet at the Polo Historical Society)

4-6 p.m.: Christmas Wish Tree (Paul’s Park, Mason/Division)

4-6 p.m.: Winter Carnival (Crossroads Community Church)

4-8 p.m.: Fun, games and treats

  • • Chesty P’s — adult hot chocolate, eggnog, popcorn and holiday treats
  • • First State Bank — s’mores and crafts for kids
  • • Marco Nutrition — face-painting and body art by Whimsy Pixie Paint
  • • Northwestern Mutual — photos with Santa’s elves
  • • Polo Fresh Food Market — holiday refreshments
  • • Polo Public Library — stories on the half-hour and take-and-make crafts

5-7 p.m.: Lions Club Christmas Dinner (Polo Fire Station, sit-down or drive-through)

5-8 p.m.: Cargill Horse and Wagon Rides (Polo Public Library pavilion, sponsored by the Polo Fire Department)

5-8 p.m.: Refreshments in the Pavilion (Polo Public Library pavilion, sponsored by the Polo Woman’s Garden Club and GFWC Illinois Polo Women’s Club)

6 p.m.: Santa’s arrival and tree lighting (Paul’s Park, Mason/Division)

6:30 p.m.: Spontaneous Combustion — Barbershop Quartet (Polo Public Library pavilion)

8 p.m.: Christmas Cash 60/40 raffle winner drawing (announced on Polo Christmas Festival’s Facebook page)

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

The Polo Area Community Theater will present “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” on Dec. 3, 4 and 10 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 5 and 11 at 2 p.m. Performances will be at Polo Town Hall, located at 117 N. Franklin Ave.

Tickets are available at: www.PoloTheatre.org/tickets.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest

When it comes to the Holiday Home Decorating Contest, there’s going to be a major change, White said.

“We’ve always had a holiday home decorating contest, but it’s always been voted on by a committee,” she explained. “This year, we’re opening it up to be voted on by community members.”

Categories include: People’s Choice/Best in Show; Best Use of Lights; Most Creative; and Best Business. The full contest rules are available at: www.PoloChamber.org/christmas-festival.html.

To participate, email your name/business name, phone number and address to polochristmasfestival@gmail.com or stop by the Polo Library to complete a registration form. The deadline to enter is Nov. 27.

Voting will take place Dec. 4-18 at www.PoloChamber.org or by completing a paper ballot at the Polo Public Library or Country Financial. Only one vote per email or ballot is allowed.