As a Park Ridge fire truck clanged to a stop in front of the Park Ridge library Friday evening, people in the crowd pressed in for a closer look and children cried out "Santa!"
Sure enough, an ivory-bearded elf, with trademark red suit and cap, emerged from the firetruck smiling and waving in the frosty air.
It took Santa a while to make his way through the crowd, because every child, and some adults, too, wanted to greet him. Eventually, he got into the Park Ridge library, where dozens of families lined up to let their kids tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.
That kicked off Winterfest, when crowds of people visited shops in Uptown and the Devon Avenue shopping district in Park Ridge, with some waiting in Hodges Park for trolleys to Devon Avenue. Live music filled the air, too, at the Park Ridge library.