HIGHWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — Hundreds of soldiers and sailors gathered in far north suburban Highwood on Saturday for an annual holiday celebration and tree lighting.

“We know that even when it is so cold outside, the warm Highwood spirit will embrace all these servicemen and women who are stationed in our community,” Highwood Alderman Eric Falberg said.

About 500 soldiers and sailors stationed at Fort Sheridan Army Reserves and Naval Base Great Lakes were invited to join with local residents to decorate the town of Highwood with lights and holly Saturday afternoon.

The annual “Highwood for the Holidays” also features sleigh rides, photos with Santa, chestnut roasting, Christmas trees for sale, live music and a pig roast.

“We are encouraging all members of Highwood and our surrounding communities to come out and show their appreciation to the military men and women who stand in uniform to protect and defend the liberties, and the way of life we so dearly cherish,” Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro said.

The celebration will culminate with a 5 p.m. tree lighting at Highwood City Hall, followed by a dinner for the sailors and soldiers at Oak Terrace Elementary School, supplied by local restaurants.

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