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Burr Ridge volunteers turn gym into Winter Wonderland

Children gather around Santa Claus to give him a hug Dec. 14 as Anne M. Jeans Elementary School in Burr Ridge held its annual Winter Wonderland event.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Mason, 5, and Aaliyah, 8, Freeman, Willowbrook, pose on Santa's lap for a photo.  | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Tamira Thomas, 7, Willowbrook, works on some rainbow bands as she waits for Santa to arrive.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Sisters Crystal and Nallely Delgado, and Arnese Tyler (center), all seventh- graders from Willowbrook, ready themselves as Santa's helpers.  | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Santa and Mrs. Claus (Travis and Wendy Williams) make their entrance to the delight of young and old.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media

A wintry celebration took place Dec. 14 in the gymnasium at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School.

Led by local residents Travis and Wendy Williams, the seventh annual Winter Wonderland holiday event welcomed an estimated 300 people from the Burr Ridge Elementary District 180 community.

“It was wonderful,” said Wendy Williams, aka Mrs. Santa Claus.

She and her husband spent the day portraying the famous Christmas pair and posing for photos with young guests.

Williams said about 141 people attended Winter Wonderland, including 96 children and 41 adults representing at least 35 families. There also were 35 supporters and volunteers.

“It was a real neighborhood party,” Williams said.

The event, which included crafts, treats and raffle prizes, was funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Resources, through a grant given to Downers Grove Township. Local businesses also chipped in with prizes and supplies, as did the school’s parent teacher organization.

Youngsters made crafts that they could keep or give away as gifts, and everyone had the chance to make a frame for their photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Williams said the annual Winter Wonderland is something local families have come to look forward to.

“It just keeps getting bigger and better,” she said.

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