ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Windows up and down South State Street in Belvidere are painted for the season.

On the first Friday of December, this year, Friday, Dec. 2, the Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce brings the community together. The City of Belvidere is ramping up for the Hometown Christmas festivities this season.

Students have painted scenes on business and organization windows along South State Street. The lights from various organizations and businesses are ready to be lit in Belvidere Park on Lincoln Avenue. The Hometown Christmas Parade hosted by the IOU Club is well into its planning and adding the finishing touches.

The town’s Christmas tree is preparing to light up once the parade has passed by. The fundraising badges have been made and are on sale at various businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ida Public Library and other locations (call the Chamber of Commerce at 815-544- 4357). The Chamber of Commerce also has prints for sale.

Participating businesses are preparing to hold specials and sell hot chocolate, apple cider, and goodies for residents and visitors from out of town to enjoy. The customary horse-drawn wagon rides will be trotting up and down State Street. The Belvidere Fire Department will have a warming area, a hot drink and activities for visitors to the State Street Station, 123 S. State St.

The Community Center Complex will hold many decorated Christmas Trees that families, organizations, and businesses have decorated for disadvantaged families in Boone County. You can vote for your favorites and help these families even more.

Belvidere police and Volunteers in Police Service will be stationed at street corners and by the State Street entrances and exits of parking lots to prevent vehicles from endangering pedestrians. To help keep everyone safe, please do not run out in front of moving vehicles in the parade. Please also do not encourage your children to run out in front of moving parade vehicles. Drivers of these vehicles can end the parade shaking from the close calls they had when people ran in front of them or ran right up to their vehicle.

Stay safe and please keep your children safe. Do not encourage your children to run out in to moving traffic any other time, please keep them from running into moving traffic during the parade as well.

Some of the sponsors of Hometown Christmas activities are: Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce, Americold, Belvidere Police Dept., YMCA, Boone County Realtors, 4-H, McDonald’s, Busch Farms, Byron Bank, General Mills, Hamblock Ford-Lincoln, Heritage Woods of Belvidere, City of Belvidere, Midland States Bank, Nico’s Landscaping, Redemption Church, Sizz N Fizz, State Farm Insurance – Bill Oswald Agent, Symphony – Maple Crest, Union Savings Bank, and UW Swedish American Health.

The Belvidere Streets Department is ready to place concrete barriers at cross street intersections and other barriers in parking areas. The town employees are also working hard to prepare the plants along the State Street and clean the area. These people always do a wonderful job but are rarely acknowledged by visitors because it is done “behind the scenes” when very few people notice them working.

Hometown Christmas is a fun, family event to start off the season’s activities. Dress for the weather, whatever might come that evening, and stay safe as you enjoy the event.

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