SAINTE MARIE, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV)– If the Grinch saw the scene in Sainte Marie on Saturday, his heart just might grow three sizes again.
The town was filled with Grinch-themed decorations, as a part of their second annual “Whoville” event. The event is put on by the St. Marie Community Club, off of an idea treasurer Mandi Kuhl had back in the summer of 2021.
“I remember it was summer. The kids and I were on a walk one evening, and I said, ‘You know how cool it would be bring Whoville to St. Marie?’ They kind of looked at me like, ‘you think we can make that possible?’”
And with the help of the community– they did. Stores in the area were decorated, and several characters– like Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch himself– were on hand.
Jason Grunloh brought his two children from Missouri for the event. He said his youngest son loves the book, and couldn’t hide his excitement when they arrived.
As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, my youngest son, Owen, saw the grinch, and got really excited” he said. “We had to stop the car, and let him unload, and he went running up and dancing to see the grinch.”
Grunloh said he didn’t know what to expect beforehand, but he was impressed with what he saw.
“It’s childlike. I was watching both my boys, all the characters are walking around, we’ve seen the mayor, we’ve seen Cindy Lou, we’ve obviously seen the grinch, it’s just so happy,” he said.
St. Marie Community Club President Cassandra Kurpiel said they moved locations from 2021 to help accommodate the turnout. Activities included an ice skating rink, facepainting and a wagon ride around town, among other things. There was also a lot of grinch-themed apparel on hand.
Kuhl said much of the preparation happens the day before, and she credited the community for making it possible.
“It takes the whole village to do this, it really does. You’ve got neighbors, you’ve got friends, just everybody wanting to help, asking what they can do to help.”