I live in the land of John Deere and last night was the Annual Lighting of the Commons. The Commons is an area located downtown owned by Deere and the showplace of their long and storied history. It is surrounded by other establishments and is a centerpiece for the downtown area. annually with much ceremony the commons are lit to kick off the holiday season.I was surprised to learn that this was the 21st year, it seems like they built it yesterday. This was my first visit.
The annual Festival of Trees parade was a wash due to uncooperative weather and since we were going to the hockey game and the weather cleared up, we decided to go. it was a great choice. It was a brisk night and everyone was wearing winter hats, gloves and coats, this is the Midwest it doesn’t stop us, we just bundle up!
The street was blocked off about half way up and people were filling the brick patio that is in front of the Deere Store. There was a small stage set up in one corner and Santa on the other side. His line was long filled with young parents and smiling rosey cheeked children ( this is Illinois in November!) As we made our way through the crowd, I saw Santa being escorted through the crowd to the stage, he was all smiles and authentic hair and beard, his own I wager. After he reached the stage, he was joined by a couple of local newscasters and the Mayor of Moline for the official festivities.
The Mayor spoke and introduced Santa who then took his turn at the mic, he had a lovely voice, it matched his appearance, he wished the crowd a Happy Holiday season and led the countdown with the crowd. As we reached the number one he flipped the giant silver light switch in his hand and the holiday season had begun!
The trees on the common lit up and the giant tree that is located across the street in front of Taxslayer Center ( more on that later) sparkled like diamonds in the cold night air. It really was beautiful white lights on all and twinkling in the night.The official lighting was followed by a fireworks display of gold,green, red and white lights. It was wonderful to stand there in the cold crisp night and watch the fireworks exploding against the night sky.
But even more was watching the crowd. As the crowd sang along with the Christmas songs booming from the speakers, and the faces of little ones enjoying fireworks for the first time, displaying their excitement without any inhibitions I was reminded of how good the world can be.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, families still stood, listening to the music and swaying quietly not wanting the magic to end. As I walked from the Commons to the Taxslayer center across the street, I was soaking in the sights. The young family behind us, Mom and Dad baby in the stroller, young man standing in front of Dad, Dad’s hand on his shoulder, all looking upwards at the sky. The woman in her wheelchair trying to maneuver the crowd. The group of preteens awkwardly standing in the corner because they wanted to appear detached and cool at the same time wanting to be part of the fun. The elderly couple that braved the night to see the lights and were holding hands.
It was a lovely Midwestern night, wish you were there.
Even if the Holidays aren’t your favorite, I hope you take time to enjoy the lights.
Until Next Time,