ST. CHARLES – In past years, a lighting of the lights ceremony, horse-drawn trolley rides and an Electric Christmas Parade helped usher in the holidays as part of the two-day Holiday Homecoming in downtown St. Charles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizers to drop this year’s parade, and the traditional lighting of the lights ceremony will become a virtual event.
Organizers still hope to provide plenty of holiday cheer at this year’s Holiday Homecoming.
“We will scale back the event to stay within governmental guidelines while continuing to follow our mission of attracting people to St. Charles to shop and dine,” Jenna Sawicki, executive director of the St. Charles Business Alliance, said in a memo to aldermen.
The St. Charles Business Alliance organizes the event, which is set for Nov. 27 and 28 in downtown St. Charles.
Instead of the traditional lighting of the lights ceremony, the St. Charles Business Alliance plans to record a lighting of the lights ceremony and broadcast it on its social media pages Nov. 27.
In place of the Electric Christmas Parade, there will be a Holiday Tree Trail. About 45 trees will be put up around First Street and the Riverwalk.
“Local businesses, organizations or individuals will have the opportunity to purchase a tree to light and decorate with their individual theme,” Sawicki said.
The trees will stay up through Jan. 1.
In addition, there are plans to set up Santa’s House on the East Plaza with limited hours Nov. 28.
“The house will be set up so Santa will be socially distant from visitors, still allowing for a photo to be taken,” Sawicki said. “There will be a mailbox set up for children to leave their letters.”
As proposed, the Holiday Homecoming would feature an ice sculptor, who would be set up in a private area. Phase 4 guidelines in the Restore Illinois plan would be followed to limit crowd size. Those guidelines call for mass gatherings of no more than 50 people.
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