It was another festive Christmas tree lighting and parade in Austin last week. The 3rd Annual Holiday Parade and tree lighting Celebration took place on Thursday.

Santa and his elf arrive to the 15th District Police station via a Chicago Fire Department truck.

The parade began at Madison and Cicero and ended at the 15th District Police Station, 5701 W. Madison. The official lighting of the tree followed.

Officer Rogers, Lt. Lott and Sgt. White of the 15th District CAPS are all smiles.

Officials attending the ceremony included 15th Dist. Commander Al Wysinger; Water Reclamation District Commissioner Barbara McGowan; Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th); State Rep. Deborah Graham; Camille Lilly, president of the Austin Chamber of Commerce; Rev. Jim Allen of the Supreme Executive Advisory Council; and Malcolm Crawford, president of the Austin African American Business Network and owner of African Accent – and of course, Santa Claus.

The Chicago Police Department’s Mounted Police riding in the parade.

After the tree lighting ceremony, guests were treated to musical entertainment, Christmas stocking gifts for the children, hot apple cider and various food snacks. The parade and tree lighting ceremony was sponsored by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and 15th Dist. Police.

The Proviso East High School Marching Band performed last Thursday at the 3rd Annual Austin Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Celebration.

Concerning the event, Wysinger remarked, “We had the Proviso East Marching Band, the Prosser High School Marching Band and several floats that was put in by the Austin Chamber of Commerce. We got motorcycle groups who come out to do charity work. This is one way for the community to see the different side of policing, the kinder and gentler side, and it builds up the holiday spirit. This is our third year. The first year, [the parade] was a block and a half. Last year it was two and half. Now we’re almost four blocks, so each year it grows and grows. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday and look forward to seeing everyone next year.”

Photos by Malcolm Crawford

The 15th district Santa, his dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
Some of the officers could be heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of their little hoof hoofs;
They were all dressed in uniforms, head to foot
And nothing was tarnished with ashes or soot;
At the end of the party the Commander laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod when everyone rose;
We heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

-Delores McCain