SYCAMORE – Ron Flemal stood and stared, awestruck by his granddaughter Abbie Andrews as she danced as the character Flounder from “The Little Mermaid.”
“She’s doing a marvelous job of playing Flounder,” Flemal said. “It’s really quite impressive. It’s marvelous.”
Abbie’s father, Mark, was beaming with pride about his daughter’s performance with another girl who played Ariel.
“It’s a lot of work and dedication to stand there and dance for two hours,” Mark said. “They’re dedicated to their craft.”
The two girls moved rhythmically, as did many others in the front of the numerous shops and stores up and down State Street as part of the city of Sycamore’s Moonlight Magic.
The annual event welcomes dancers, musicians, actors and artists to perform for two hours inside the front display of the State Street businesses.
Lizzy Oparyk, owner of Lizzy’s Pink Boutique, said she loves the festive November night, because it brings the community together.
“It puts people in the holiday spirit,” she said.
Oparyk said the night allows for a “reunion of sorts.”
“This is an annual tradition for many families,” she said, with her store wall-to-wall with customers.
As the live music played throughout the colorful store, Betsy Combs, one of Lizzy’s employees, said the atmosphere was that of one of those cheesy holiday films.
“With the violin playing ,you’d think you just stepped out into a Hallmark movie,” Combs said with a laugh. “It’s a fun time had by all. It really kicks off the holiday season.”
Doris Hohertz, another one of Lizzy’s employees, agreed about it bringing people together.
“Everyone’s looking for a present, or for themselves, or for something to wear at Thanksgiving,” Hohertz said before introducing her daughter ,Eva Peterson, who was playing Christmas music for the store and the passersby with her friend, Emma Fredericks.
Peterson and Fredericks said they were having fun performing for the onlookers. Fredericks said she loved seeing old friends she hadn’t seen in a while. She loved seeing her young fans as they passed by the window. Peterson agreed.
“When little kids walk up, it’s so cute,” Fredericks said.
Not all young children were walking. One was running from business to business yelling, “I’m queen of the world!”
Avery, 5, who called herself “Queen of the World,” and her mother, Tara Kazda, reflected on what they liked most about strolling about the sidewalk.
“I liked watching the painters and seeing Santa,” Avery said.
“I like seeing the community come out in support of the local businesses and seeing the local businesses work together to put on the event,” Tara said. “The kids like the lights, the dancing and all of the festivities.”
Speaking of Santa, he made his presence, and that of his wife, Mrs. Claus, known at Made Just for You, a hand-crafted gift shop.
Santa said he liked being in Sycamore for the evening.
“It’s warmer here,” he said while comparing Sycamore with the North Pole. “And there’s not as much snow, so I don’t mind it.”
Marcia Elliott, who owns the shop, said Moonlight Magic was a great way to get the community to come out, share the holiday spirit and see what downtown Sycamore has to offer.
“It definitely adds to business,” she said. “It gets people to see what we have.”
While Santa waved to the youngsters as they walked past the gift shop, others walked into Luxe Salon to pet the puppies.
Leah Enderle and Ali Taylor, from Tails Humane Society, stood as they held onto setter-mix puppies. Enderle said her favorite thing is seeing the children come out. Taylor said it was her favorite thing, too.
“It’s the excitement on the kids’ faces when they see the puppies,” Taylor said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle