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Hundreds attend Altgeld Holiday Celebration

December 9, 2011

Northern Illinois University President John G. Peters and his wife, Barbara, welcomed hundreds of local young people and their families to Altgeld Hall on Friday evening for the annual Altgeld Holiday Family Celebration. 
Celebration-goers traveled the world with Victor E. Huskie, experiencing the sights, sounds and flavors of festivals and celebrations as they occur in other cultures throughout the historic campus building.

Like many of the last several years, local resident Lonnie Brint attended the festivities with family.  She says the three children always have fun.

“Actually, they really like to go up into the tower of the castle and look out over the campus,” she said.

Kieran Gallagher didn’t hesitate when asked about the best part of the evening, quickly answering, “The food!”

Food and fare from 11 different regions of the world were featured at stations throughout the building.  Featured travel destinations included Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia, Kenya & Tanzania, Ghana, Germany, Israel, Canadian Northwest Territories, North America, Latin America and the North Pole.  Children were given a passport at the entrance to Altgeld Hall and earned a stamp upon visiting each station.

For youngster Karsten Menzer, the highlight was seeing the president at the North Pole.  “He gives us Huskies,” he exclaimed, pulling out a stuffed Victor E. Huskie stuffed animal.

“We meet lots and lots of people, but we don’t always get to meet a lot of young people, young children,” said NIU First Lady Barbara Peters. “So this is a real treat for us.”

The Altgeld Holiday Celebration has been a tradition at NIU since the renovated building re-opened in 2004. Since then, it has grown as a community event for families and young people.

“There are hundreds that come, and every year, it seems like more and more show up,” said President Peters.  He estimated that the number was around 800 people, but noted it is hard to keep track since the whole building is open.

“Every year we do it a little different, but each year we look forward to doing it,” President Peters concluded.