PORT TOWNSEND — The annual community tree lighting in downtown Port Townsend will be virtually celebrated this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The community tree and bell tower lighting by Santa will start about 5 p.m. Saturday, and it will be live-streamed on Port Townsend Main Street’s Facebook page.
The virtual event can be watched at facebook.com/porttownsendmainstreet.
Main Street Executive Director Mari Mullen hopes the event will return in-person with the regular crowd of hundreds next year.
“We miss everyone,” Mullen said. “We miss seeing people at our events, and that’s been true just all the things that we do, but we’re adapting, and we want to do things safely.
“It’s just a way of re-imagining it, and we think it will still be merry and fun, and we’re just inviting people to stay home and look on their computer and have a plate of cookies and a cup of cocoa in your hand and do the countdown with us.”
Santa will ride in the traditional decorated Kiwanis Choo Choo train and will light the Fire Bell Tower first, followed by the 16-foot-tall Nordman Christmas tree, Mullen said.
“It’ll be short and sweet, but it will still be fun,” she said. “It’s just the way we have to do things now, and we just want everyone to be safe and healthy.
“So, we’ll look forward to seeing everyone next year in person.”
As a replacement for the traditional meet-up and photos with Santa after the tree lighting, Main Street and Key City Public Theatre organized Zoom with Santa! on Dec. 19.
This will allow children with their parent or guardian to meet with Santa and his elves virtually, Mullen said.
The activity is free and is aimed at pre-kindergartners through sixth-grade students. Families can sign up at keycitypublictheatre.org/zoomwithsanta.
Mullen also encourages residents to visit the downtown and uptown areas in Port Townsend to see the other lights and decorations that now adorn the shops and streets and support the local businesses by doing holiday shopping local.
More information on Main Street holiday activities can be found at ptmainstreet.org/holiday-promotion.
Jefferson County Reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].