Downtown Braselton’s tree lighting ceremony will have to be viewed behind a screen this year because it’s going virtual.
“Those types of events that draw in thousands of people to our small downtown, it’s just not possible for us to do in a safe way we feel comfortable with,” Nikki Perry, Braselton’s tourism director, said.
Because of the pandemic, Perry said the annual Christmas parade has also been canceled, in addition to the Christmas Marketplace in Town Green, which usually take place in conjunction with the tree lighting ceremony.
Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, families can view the celebration live from Downtown Braselton’s Facebook page. Perry said the online event will begin with the reading of “The Night Before Christmas” from Santa Claus.
Instead of having kids sit on Santa’s lap, parents can send their children’s name along with one Christmas wish to firstname.lastname@example.org or through a private message to the Downtown Braselton Facebook page. Perry said Santa will interact with each kid.
“Santa is over a thousand years old, he’s not up to facing COVID,” Perry said. “We’re keeping Santa safe.”
The Facebook live event will end with the lighting of the tree.
From Friday, Nov. 20 through Sunday, Nov. 22, people can submit photos of their children on visitbraselton.com. Perry said the pictures will then be edited into a photo with Santa and sent back to parents for free. In less than a week, she plans to have guidelines for the pictures on visitbraselton.com.
“People will still have their annual Santa picture, but it won’t be with Santa,” Perry said. “We thought this would be more realistic.”
For more information about the virtual tree lighting ceremony and other upcoming events in Braselton, go to visitbraselton.com.
Nicole Ricketts, Gainesville’s Main Street Manager, said plans for the lighting of the chicken in downtown Gainesville and the lighting of the “Rotary Tree” at the intersection of Green Street and West Academy Street haven’t been solidified.
“We’re trying to make the most of the situation,” Ricketts said. “We are excited to still offer some fun for the holidays through Light up the Town. Hopefully we’ll be coordinating and releasing some other fun things downtown soon.”