Randall Park Christmas Luminaries - Christmas Eve 2019

Yesterday, I posted a couple of photos (and a video) of the Great Horned Owl (or Owls) that have taken up residence in our neighborhood and talked about some of the natural features of Randall Park - including the large Barth Pond at one end and (what I think is known as) St. Joseph's Creek running from north-to-south along the boundary. 

Nat and I really love our neighbors and like our neighborhood.  The lots are large(r), the trees are mature and I can walk to two different train stations. 

Did we talk about the pondPretty great, right? 

Welp, there are (at least) two other activities that take place in Randall Park that are community/neighbor-driven that make the place a special place to live.  The first is the annual block party Soap Box Derby that I've covered here on the blog.  Here's the Randall Park 2018 Soap Box Derby post and the 2017 Randall Park Soap Box Derby Post.  That's a handful of families who transform their annual block party into a HUGE gathering and let the kids run their soap box cars down the hill.  Really awesome.

But, there's another experience in Randall Park that I haven't shared here:  it is the Christmas Eve Luminaries.  Each year, on Christmas Eve, some families (who are block captains) spend their morning filling white paper bags with sand and candles and then distribute them up and down the blocks or Randall Park.  I found this story from 2011 in the Chicago Tribune that talks about the luminaries.  The story mentions that the luminaries are out front of almost 500 homes and sets a really wonderful mood on Christmas Eve.  The Trib story mentions that these were started in 2001 with just two blocks.  Now they cover the full neighborhood.  This would mark the 19th year then, right?  Next year is 20 years.  Nice milestone. 

We spend most of Christmas Eve out of the house, so we 'come home' in the evening and get to experience it on our blocks.

Here's a look at what they look like - but no photos can really do this experience justice.  Here's the bags set up in front of our house.


And here (below) is a photo Nat took standing in the middle of our block showing them stretching as far as the eye can see:


Over in the actual Randall Park (it is an actual park with a ball field and playground equipment...and some great trees.), the community set up a tower of luminaries.  Here's the Bird standing next to it shining late into the night:


There are many things that make you grateful for your community and neighborhood. First, we're most grateful for our neighbors - who have welcomed us with open arms.  They're a really great bunch of families that we share some common interests with.  In particular, our neighbors to the south have kids that have been welcoming of our girls and the parents have gone out of their way to include us (the newest family on the block at one time) in the activities. 

But, what makes Randall Park even better?  It is the community activities like the Soap Box Derby and the Christmas Eve luminary program. 

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