Santa Comes to Town is an annual event that features cookies, cocoa, and caroling at the Egyptian Theatre help to celebrate Santa’s arrival into Downtown DeKalb. Many local businesses are generous donors and are able to make the event possible. One donor, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, has worked together with its members to provide support and assistance to help the area’s business climate and to serve and advance business interests of the Greater DeKalb Region. Driven by the interests of its members, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce continues to expand and evolve to meet the needs through providing a wide variety of opportunities to assist its members to grow their business and contribute to the economic stability of the community. Providing businesses in the Greater DeKalb Region with valuable resources, serving as an advocate for business needs, and offering avenues to build business networking are all ways that the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is working to better serve the community.
*Interview conducted with Virginia Filicetti, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Marketing and Events Manager, and conducted by Brooklynn Gosnell, Marketing & Communications Intern
(Brooklynn) How does DeKalb Chamber of Commerce help to put on events such as Santa Comes to Town?
(Virginia) The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce helps to put on the event by reaching out to local businesses for hot cocoa and cookie donations. Fatty’s Pub & Grille and the Voluntary Action Center have been consistent, long time donors for the event. Fatty’s hot chocolate is delicious and VAC’s sugar cookies are always beautifully decorated! This year Fatty’s, VAC, Hy-Vee and Schnuck’s will be donating for the event.
The DeKalb Chamber also coordinates with the DeKalb High School music department every year to schedule the beloved Madrigals to perform. In addition to the Madrigals, we contact local Santa’s to be our Santa Clause for the evening. We have used a local gentleman from Hinckley for the past 5 years and he’s great! He loves getting into character and visiting with families.
Lastly, we coordinate with the City of DeKalb Public Works Department, Police and Fire. All three are part of the procession to the Egyptian Theatre. Public Works always decorate a snowplow with Christmas lights and decorations that Santa rides in on. It’s fun to watch everyone arrive up to the Egyptian Theatre!
(Brooklynn) What is the best part about holding Santa Comes to Town each year?
(Virginia) The best part about Santa Comes to Town every year is seeing different parts of the community come together for families in the area. We have restaurants, retail stores, caterers, police and fire departments, high schools and the Egyptian Theatre all coming together to put on a large, fun event for DeKalb in the heart of downtown. It really does take a village to put together an event like this!
It’s also priceless to see the children’s faces light up when Santa arrives just outside his house. It’s not everyday you see Santa Clause in riding on a decorated snowplow!
(Brooklynn) What sort of influence does Santa Come to Town on the community?
(Virginia) Santa Comes to Town allows families to celebrate the holidays in their community and visit the Egyptian Theatre and Downtown DeKalb. Many families have never been to the Egyptian Theatre, so it influences them to come back to see a show or performance. It is also beneficial to the businesses that donate as they can give back to the community while gaining exposure from a new audience.
Downtown DeKalb also gains a lot of recognition during the event, as families stop in restaurants and shops before or after the event. More people and foot traffic downtown is always positive for small, local retailers!
(Brooklynn) What other events does DeKalb Chamber of Commerce hold that helps promote a strong sense of community?
(Virginia) During the holidays, in addition to Santa Comes to Town, the DeKalb Chamber holds complementary carriage rides through Downtown DeKalb and Visits with Santa. Families can take a free, old-fashioned carriage ride and visit with Santa in his Santa House located in Van Buer Plaza for a couple hours the first couple Saturdays before Christmas.
Outside of the holiday season, the DeKalb Chamber coordinates the DeKalb Farmers’ Market June-September. The market is in the heart of Downtown DeKalb in Van Buer Plaza and features fresh produce, craft goods, food trucks and live music thanks to the Egyptian Theatre. Most of the visitors come to the market instead of the grocery store for produce and stay for lunch. All the vendors at the market are local, allowing small businesses and local farmers to thrive in the area. The DeKalb Farmers’ Market also accepts cash, credit/debit and LINK, so everyone can benefit from local, fresh produce.
(Brooklynn) What’s the best part about being able to hold Santa Comes to Town at a historic venue such as the Egyptian Theatre?
(Virginia) We love working with the Egyptian Theatre for any Downtown DeKalb event we have! It is a beautiful, historic building with meaning to Downtown DeKalb. The Egyptian Theatre allows visitors to connect with the history of DeKalb and for newcomers to see the theatre for the first time. The theatre is also in a great location with a welcoming lobby and staff. The Egyptian Theatre staff is always extremely helpful and generous in letting us use their space. We are very grateful that we can use a historic icon of DeKalb for annual, community events like Santa Comes to Town.