Christmas carols rang through the chilly air.
The scent of warm snacks and hot chocolate swirled around visitors.
Polar Palooza, the only winter festival on Chicago’s North Side, was held on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.
The event included activities such as ice skating and ice sculpting, complete with live music, food and drinks, a holiday market, arts and crafts, reindeer and a Christmas tree lot.
Loyola’s Community Relations Department organized Polar Palooza, which was sponsored by the office of 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore, Loyola University Chicago, Lakeside Management, Rogers Park Business Alliance and Sheridan Road Special Service Area.
The goal of the event was to bring together the Edgewater and Rogers Park neighborhoods, including students at Loyola, to enjoy the holiday season.
Polar Palooza also benefits the community, as the profits from the Christmas tree lot go to the 49th Ward Committee on Rogers Park Schools.
“That is why we love Rogers Park, because everybody pitches in,” said Joe Alter, a volunteer of the Neighbors Love Neighborhood Schools.
While the total profits from the tree and wreath sales are still being counted, the money will work its way toward schools in the Rogers Park neighborhood.
The planning stages of the event began in October, and the set-up on Sheridan Road began Dec. 1.
Lauren Hames, a Loyola senior and an organizer of Polar Palooza, started working at Loyola’s office of Community Relations in September.
“This event is more oriented toward the community, but we also want students to know the community that they are part off when they come [to school] here,” said Hames.
Jennifer Truong, an employee at Quang Noodle, said her company learned of the winter festival online and wanted get involved with the community and become a vendor at the event.
“We actually approached [the organizers of the event] because we saw the festival online and were really interested in participating,” said Truong.
An estimated 5,000 people attended the festival over two days, bringing more traffic to the area than usual, which benefited businesses in Rogers Park.
Included in the $5 entry fee per person, and the $10 fee per family, was admission into the New 400 Theater to see “Home Alone” on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4