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A Very Merry Marion Downtown Christmas celebration will continue in 'safe mode' for 2020

  • Three-year-old Jordan Newton of Marion enjoyed his visit with Santa during last year's "Downtown Christmas" on the Marion Square. The celebration will take place again with accommodations for COVID-19 in place.

    Three-year-old Jordan Newton of Marion enjoyed his visit with Santa during last year's "Downtown Christmas" on the Marion Square. The celebration will take place again with accommodations for COVID-19 in place.
    Holly Kee photo

  • The popular carriage rides, from the 2019 celebration are a planned part of the 2020 festivities.

    The popular carriage rides, from the 2019 celebration are a planned part of the 2020 festivities.
    Holly Kee photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
Posted on 11/20/2020, 4:53 PM

MARION -- With the success of last year's inaugural "Downtown Christmas," Marion Mayor Mike Absher was looking forward to an even bigger celebration for 2020.

However, like pretty much everything else, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed those plans, but Absher was determined that there could still be a safe celebration of the holiday season.

So, while there won't be ice skating and vendors and crowds milling about Tower Square Plaza, there are still several activities that promise a bit of normalcy for area residents to enjoy.

"It's a very different holiday season for everyone," said Absher in a Facebook video message announcing "A Very Merry Marion."

During that message, Absher expressed his disappointment in having to cancel many of the activities that drew acclaim last year, but said, "We can still keep you safe but allow you and your family to enjoy a safe holiday season."

The event will kick off on Dec. 1 and consists of several activities.

Letters to Santa

Children are asked to write to Santa about their year, their wishes for the new year or anything else on their minds.

Drop off the letter to the special "Santa Mailbox" located in front of City Hall on Tower Square Plaza by Dec. 16. Do not send by mail.

To ensure your child receives a special message back from the North Pole, please ensure that a return address is on the envelope and the letter is dropped off no later than Dec. 16.

A Visit with Santa

The Pavilion and Marion Carnegie Library have teamed up to bring Santa to Marion this season.

Come out to the Pavilion Dec. 1 from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. for your chance to meet Santa and get a special (socially distant) photo with him.

While waiting in a vehicle, visitors will be able to tune in on the radio to enjoy some holiday tunes and stories.

A fun holiday to-go craft will also be provided to the first 100 kids that come through.

This event is free and open to the public.

Very Merry You

Send your holiday photo, and festive selfies are encouraged, to be shared on the electronic billboards throughout town. You don't need to live in Marion to participate.

Santa's Mailbox

Santa's Mailbox will be located in front of City Hall. Drop your letter in by Dec. 16 to receive a handwritten letter back from Mr. Claus.

Bright Business Contest

This is open to all businesses in the 62959 ZIP code. Businesses my be registered at www.verymerrgymarion.com.

Holiday Lights Contest

This is open to any residence in the 62959 ZIP code. Entries must be registered at www.verymerrymarion.com. There will be three prizes awarded with gifts baskets of $1,000 for first, $500 for second, and $250 for third places.

Voting for the contests will be online at www.verymerrymarion.com.