The Shops at Riverwoods brighten the season with annual lighting event

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The crowd gathers for The Shops at Riverwoods’ annual lighting event on Nov. 15. (Kristen Hollingshaus)

The Shops at Riverwoods invited the public to attend its 21st annual holiday lighting event on Nov. 15. Community members attended to see Santa, watch fireworks and listen to live performances.

This free event brings the community together annually to kick off the holiday season. Event coordinator McKell Law said she was excited that musical group 13 Crowns and comedian Johnson Files were performing live. Law has been involved with the planning of 10 different lighting events and said she looks forward to them every year. 

“For many people, it’s become a family tradition,” Law said. 

All donations collected at the lighting event will be donated to benefit the Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Foundation.

Southern California band 13 Crowns is made up of seven siblings ranging in ages 13-22 years old. Because of this, they understand the importance of family relationships.  

Rudy Wolfgramm, 13 Crowns’ manager, said their music is meant to make people feel happy, and that’s exactly what it seemed to do Friday night. 

“They have a great message of love and togetherness and what it’s like to work as a family,” Wolfgramm said. 

The Shops at Riverwoods’ streets were packed with people even before the event officially started at 5:30 p.m. Leading up to the official lighting, the Timpview High School Drumline welcomed in Santa Claus. Kids cheered and jumped when they saw that he was riding in on a small car.

Later that evening, a countdown coursed through the crowd leading to the igniting of fireworks and the lighting of the Christmas lights.

Trees were illuminated and strands of lights across the alleys and on the buildings made it feel like the holidays had officially begun. People cheered and clapped at the beauty of the lights.

The joy felt by the crowd upon the initial lighting carried through the night as 13 Crowns and Johnson Files, whose real name is Shaun Johnson, kept the audience on their toes.

Johnson, a comedian who works closely with his wife, kept the mood light and tried to ensure people felt the joy of laughter that evening. 

“The thing I enjoy most about my job is the laughter and approval from what I put out there,” Johnson said.

The event had a turnout of a few thousand people and successfully kicked-off the holiday season by bringing families together for the annual lighting event.

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