TOWANDA BOROUGH – COVID-19 will not be stopping this year’s Towanda Hometown Christmas program.
“We wanted to be as mindful and careful with picking what activities to do and altering them so you could enjoy some aspects of Hometown Christmas in a different way at home,” Central Bradford County Chamber of Commerce Director Cait Monahon said.
Monahon thanked the CBCCC membership base who sponsored the event, and plans on highlighting them throughout the celebration weekend starting Friday, Dec. 4.
Children can look forward to a new event to kick off Hometown Christmas; ornament decorating. Monahon said that she will purchase ornaments and set them up in designated pick-up and drop-off sites. Children will be asked to write their names and ages on the backs of the ornaments for Monahon to read during a livestream.
Monahon said that a livestream of the tree lighting and decorating at Madigan park will be on the Hometown Christmas Facebook page.
There will be several Facebook Live storytimes with Mrs. Claus that day to give children and families options for when to tune in.
The coloring contest for elementary-aged children will be held the same way it’s been held in the past, except the big winner won’t be riding on a float in the parade. Monahon said instead, the winner will have their art blown up on one of the storefront windows on Main Street.
The holiday movie at the Keystone Theatre will be held at an undetermined offsite location where people can plan on attending drive-in style.
A reverse parade down Merrill Parkway will wrap up the festivities on Saturday night. “You cannot get a road closure permit for a large gathering event from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation this year due to COVID, which is understandable,” Monahon told The Review.
The plan is that cars will drive slowly in one direction while viewing the floats from inside their cars. Monahon said that at the end of the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will hand out 1 goodie bag per car. “Usually, they would be throwing candy and the kids are able to pick it up, but since we’re not able to do that this year, we’ve had to eject that as well,” she said.
As director, Monahon has been heavily weighing how to go through with Hometown Christmas in the time of COVID-19. The CBCCC anticipates people to use their discretion to take their own precautions. “We won’t be having anything in person,” Monahon said, “The only events you need to be physically present for is the parade and the drive-in movie, which you’re going to be in a car with the people of your choosing.”
The Hometown Christmas Facebook page will post reminders of the safety precautions for the events to be enjoyed in people’s homes or in their cars.
“I will highlight to people what we can do and how they can enjoy it,” Monahon said, “We’ve been very selective in what we’re doing to avoid large gatherings or opportunities where people wouldn’t be able to practice social distancing.”