CHICAGO – There's something special at Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light this year. That's an ornament, made by Caroline Colton Kaletka, 91, of Sterling, which is at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Kaletka, a Rock River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution member, hand-crocheted the angel ornament. It is displayed on the USA tree, one of 50 in the annual exhibit, which is in its 71st year.
Her membership in DAR stems from her ancestor, Moses Colton of Wilbraham, Mass. This minuteman was right at the start of things on April 19, 1775, in the Battle of Lexington.
Kaletka has lived in Sterling for 14 years after moving from Milwaukee to be near family. She has crocheted for about 80 years.
With a local connection making this particular year memorable, visitors from the Sauk Valley can find plenty of holiday spirit as they wander among the trees and take in the entertainment offered.
It's easy to spot the exhibit with its 45-foot-tall, grand tree sitting in the rotunda. The tree has more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, but it's not alone. Fifty smaller, sparkling trees decorated by volunteers, stand nearby representing different holiday traditions and cultures.
While visitors won't be wandering in the forest, a walk through the woods here might mean a view of a little falling snow or sounds of carolers. Students perform during the school week, and ethnic performances are scheduled during the weekends. Head to the holiday stage to catch the show.
The ethnic performances begin at 10:45 a.m. and continue throughout the day. For example, visitors will hear from a choir with general holiday music, the Society of Danube Swabians, St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and Belizean Cultural Bearers.
Throughout the next week the school performances are at 10 and 11 a.m. most days.
A complete schedule is available at the museum's website. The performances end Dec. 30.
As a side expedition, slip on over to see Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit, which will be at the museum until Feb. 18. This makes a nice addition to the trees with a tour of the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.)
Included in the visit is an invitation to enter Snoopy's doghouse and see how this popular dog decorates his home. This exhibit requires an additional ticket of $5 for adults and seniors and $3 for children 3 to 11.
Don't be in the doghouse too long, though. The museum is large enough to provide days of fun.