Niles Amtrak Depot lights up Dec. 3

From the Niles Star:

From 4:30 to 6 p.m.  Dec. 3, the Four Flags Garden Club will host its 20th annual Hometown Christmas Celebration at the Historic Amtrak Depot, 600 Dey St., Niles.

The impetus for this free, annual event is the last scene of the 1991 John Candy movie “Only the Lonely,” which was filmed at the depot on a warm summer night. To create a Christmas scene, the studio placed lights on the roofline and fake snow on the ground.  Many Niles locals served as  stand-ins.

After the filming, the studio left the lights behind and the garden club, along with community members campaigned to “Keep the Lights Burning.”

This was a fundraising endeavor to rewire the depot in order to use the lights, as the movie company had used portable generators.

Now, two sets of lights later — the most recent being energy-efficient LEDs — the event marks its 20th anniversary.

Everyone is invited to visit the depot to enjoy the holiday decorations, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy homemade cookies, cider and candy.

The depot interior and exterior will be decorated with fresh greens, window topiaries, wreaths and handmade ornaments on the Fraser fir tree donated by Pinecrest Christmas Tree Farm of Galien.

Entertainment will be provided by Lake Effect Winds, a woodwind quartet from St. Joseph, performing music ranging from classical to 20th century.

Niles Mayor Mike McCauslin will address the group, and community royalty will stop by.

A drawing will be held at 5:45 p.m. for two round- trip tickets, compliments of Amtrak, from Niles to Chicago for two lucky people.  The tickets are free, and you must be present to win.

The official lighting of the Depot outside lights will be at 6 p.m.

If anyone is interestedin learning more about the club, call Elaine at (269)  683-5292.