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YMCA’s first Family Christmas Extravaganza

SYCAMORE – Five-year-old Madilyn Castillo of DeKalb has been counting down the days until Christmas since Halloween.

On Friday, she begged her mom to help her dress up like her favorite “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” character, Cindy Lou Who. After donning the perfect dress and spending two hours on her hair, she was ready to show off her look.

Castillo and her mom were two of the more than 300 people who attended Kishwaukee Family YMCA’s first-ever Family Christmas Extravaganza, held at the YMCA, 2500 W. Bethany Road in Sycamore.

The event featured visits with Santa Claus, story time with a train conductor, rides on Santa’s Express, reindeer food-making and sugar cookie-decorating.

Sctivities included a bounce house, pickleball and basketball. Visitors also had access to free hot chocolate with marshmallows, a concession stand and both sponsor booths and vendor booths.

“They’re events you think of when you think of the holidays,” said Heather Dunker, the YMCA’s marketing and communications director. “A lot of kids come to the Y every day, and we transformed it for the event to share the spirit and magic of Christmas. It’s a neat way to close out the year.”

The YMCA holds an annual Halloween Bash in addition to skate nights, pool parties and Zumba parties, however, 2019 was the first year it held a free community Christmas event.

“Christmas is a special time of year,” Dunker said. “We wanted to have an opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer here at the YMCA.”

Pam Tate of Sycamore, a YMCA member, took her 4-year-old grandson, Leo Corral, to the event as a way to spend time together.

“I remembered that the event was this evening, and it sounded like something fun to do,” Tate said. “It’s nice to spend time together as a family during the holiday season and to remember that Jesus Christ is the whole meaning behind Christmas.”

Marco Prignano of DeKalb visited the YMCA for the first time to attend the event with his wife, Jessica, their 16-month-old daughter, Brielle, and his mother-in-law, Jacqui Wilk.

“It’s a way to get to know the YMCA and the community a little better,” he said. “We’re excited for Christmas and the event’s a great way to celebrate.”

For information about the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, visit or call 815-756-9577.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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