The holidays won't be the same in Warren this year, but organizers of the town's annual holiday festival have come up with a plan to bring people together despite the severe restrictions brought on …
The holidays won't be the same in Warren this year, but organizers of the town's annual holiday festival have come up with a plan to bring people together despite the severe restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.
Marilyn Mathison organizes the festival every year. She said Monday that the pandemic will force the cancellation of the annual tree lighting on Nov. 27, which is usually the festival's main event and draws thousands to downtown Warren every year. Other holiday festival activities, including what is usually a full slate of workshops, Christmas carols, live performances and other events scheduled for the weekend, will also be severely impacted.
But Ms. Mathison said Warren will still celebrate the holidays, and she needs residents' and businesses' help to pull it off.
Organizers want Warren to "go dark" at sundown Friday, Nov. 27, she said, meaning everyone in town will be asked to dim their lights. At 6 p.m., "we will ring the bells and sound the alarm. We want everybody to decorate their houses so that when everyone turns on their lights, the town will come alive."
After that, "we're suggesting that everybody put on their masks, go outside and walk around the neighborhood to meet their neighbors." There are plans to hold a decorating contest, but those are in the works and the logistics haven't yet been squared away yet.
And for those hoping to see Santa, there is more good news:
Though he won't ride down Main Street to oversee the lighting on the Warren Town Hall steps, Santa will still participate. Ms. Mathison said the plan is to have Santa visit neighborhoods across town on a fire truck, waving as he goes. A full schedule of where he will be, when, will be published before the festival. Also to be published in the coming weeks is a list of modified weekend activities.
Though the festival is still three weeks off, Ms. Mathison said she wants residents to have time to get their holiday decorations ready for the big reveal. For those who want to participate but don't have and can't afford lights, there are some funds available to assist. She suggested e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.