People are searching for ways to keep holiday traditions alive during the pandemic. Because of safety precautions, many public events are turning to virtual platforms. This includes the annual tree lighting in downtown Idaho Falls.
The Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation is known for its annual Christmas tree lighting. Considering the recent move to Stage 2 in the Rebound Idaho economic plan from Governor Brad Little, the local non-profit decided to go through with the event and host it virtually Friday, Nov. 27, while following strict safety protocols.
“We will all be careful, socially distanced, we will wear our masks, except when we are on stage speaking directly to the group. We will be very careful, and we have limited the amount of people who are able to participate in the event,” said Catherine Smith, the executive director for the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation.
When the non-profit was making attendance cuts, there was one person who needed to be there.
“Santa will definitely make his appearance,” Smith said. “I’ve heard he’s going to have a rapid COVID test before the event, so we know Santa’s travels are safe. It will be very fun, and we’re hoping we can reach even more people by offering it this way. We [will] probably from here on out offer the tree lighting live-streamed from our Facebook page for those that may not be able to travel downtown.”
This year, the nonprofit is hoping to reach more than the typical holiday crowd. With the event being virtual, Smith said she hopes more home-bound senior citizens can tune in and enjoy the show.
“It was kind of an eye-opening experience for me to consider in the past we have not live-streamed our events, our annual tree lighting for sure is one of those that we hadn’t even thought about live-streaming. And we do have a lot of home-bound seniors in the area… I hope they can get on and enjoy the live-stream on the Downtown Development Facebook page,” Smith said.
The tree lighting ceremony begins Friday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation Facebook page. Typically, the event is on Saturday, so it is important to note that it has been changed to Friday.