BY JILL WHALEN
TAMAQUA — To mark the 25th anniversary of the Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas festival this year, planners hoped to put on a production bigger than previous years.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic scaled back those plans, the festival goes on.
“We have a fairly good amount of things to do,” Spirit Committee Chairwoman Judy Hoppes said.
While there won’t be the traditional parade or a breakfast with Santa, the festival will include a meet and greet with Santa Claus, a community Christmas party and a Christmas tree lighting.
“The majority of events will be held outside,” Hoppes explained.
The four-day festival kicked off Thursday and continues through Sunday. One of the highlights is Friday’s 6 p.m. lighting of Depot Square Park followed by a meet and greet with Santa.
“Santa will walk into the park and stand by the fountain,” Hoppes said. “Once the park is lit, he will be in the gazebo.”
In previous years, children were able to sit on Santa’s lap. Because of the pandemic, a string of lights will separate the Jolly Old Elf from his visitors.
“They can go over and talk to him. They will be more than 6 feet apart,” Hoppes said.
They’ll also be able to drop letters to him in a mailbox and will receive a candy cane from Little Miss Spirit Anna Hadesty. A few elves will be on hand as well.
Hoppes noted that children must pre-register to meet Santa through www.tamaquaarts.org.
Revive Community Fellowship, 124 W. Broad St., will hold a community Christmas party.
The walk-through event will feature games, snacks, candy and Christmas bookbags. Only 25 people will be permitted at a time at the mask-mandatory event planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. More information is at www.revivetamaquapa.org.
Hope & Coffee, 137 Pine St., will hold a Hope & Holiday sale from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Tink’s Antiques, 28 S. Railroad St., returns with its open-air, old-fashioned Christmas market from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Finally, at 6 p.m. Sunday, a Christmas tree lighting will be held at Depot Square Park.
“We do feel that we can do this event and keep everybody safe,” Hoppes said.
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