We kicked off the weekend with the Repeal Day Block Party at Prohibition. Now, we don’t mean to sound like Saturday Night Live’s Stefon, but this party really did have everything: burlesque dancers in glittery nipple tassels, fire breathers, a dude that walks on broken glass and then later dons a straight jacket and then stomps on said broken glass. Annie Lennox would have been proud.
Saturday was a little different. The evening began with the annual Marion Square tree lighting ceremony. In college, we used to hear of students getting all hopped-up on illicit narcotics twirling under the whimsically colored tree. What we experienced Saturday night left us thinking that we too were on drugs. Or at least synthetic drugs. Whatever the kids are doing these days.
The tree lighting ceremony, now in its 19th year, is supposed to kick off the holidays with Santa appearing to light the tree. Simple enough and yet it seems to get a little more extravagant each season, like the time a couple of years ago when the tree lighting involved a random giraffe who went all rogue and scared the children. (Speaking of the children, there were more children on leashes than dogs. Or giraffes for that matter.)
This year the special guest wasn’t a giraffe, but Captain Hook (of Peter Pan fame). Here’s how it played out: Hook walked on stage in an effort to try and free Santa (or so the story went) in order to light the tree. Then Mayor Joe Riley entered to say a few things and introduced Scrooge. That seemed fitting. Next, at stage right, walked in the Wicked Witch of the Whatever. She had on the ruby slippers. We were kind of out of earshot, but it seemed like the witch had Santa chained to a radiator inside of her yellow-brick brownstone. She was then executed via water (“I’m melting!”), and Santa was saved. The circuit breaker was flipped and — ta da — Christmas officially began. The Griswold’s would have been so proud. I should state that the only booze in sight was cleverly concealed in the Buick-sized baby stroller in front of me. Overall, it was a festive and bright event. And the only instance of “bah humbug” in attendance was John C. Calhoun, who had his back turned for the entire duration.
To wrap up the merry making, Sunday we went to the Park Cafe Holiday Party and arrived much too early. After an undisclosed number of libations at Moe’s Tavern, we went back to PC. Now we’d qualify ourselves less as foodies and more like drinkies, and Park Cafe was featuring a fantastic egg nog white Russian and a cider. Both were phenomenal. We also had a ham biscuit or something. Ham was involved. So was white Russian egg nog, but mostly ham. And also white Russian egg nog.