Bakersfield, California 2020-11-21 20:00:00 –
Santa Claus comes to town, whether pandemic or not.
This is a message promoted by some local companies, but this year it may be a little difficult to interact with the cheerful old Centnick.
With Kern County joining most of the state and pushing into the most restricted and scary purple layers on some accounts, traditional photos with Santa may look a little different this year.
One of the most popular local locations for photography with Santa, Valley Plaza Mall promises a “contactless visit under current state regulations” and is the face of “you and Santa.” It may be covering.
Details of socially distant visits are not outlined, but other malls in the country prohibit children from sitting on Santa’s lap. Instead, the kids have to tell Santa at least 6 feet away what they want for Christmas. They may have to do it through Plexiglas, and most need reservations to prevent large gatherings that are discouraging as part of the COVID-19 protocol.
Other popular Christmas stops have completely eliminated direct interaction with Santa.
Drive-by services are available at the Town & Country Village Shopping Center and Bakersfield’s Christmas Town. The service encourages young people to send letters to one of Santa’s elves through a family car window. Santa can take pictures a little further away than in the last few years.
“This year is tricky,” said Ronda Collins, who has helped host Christmas festivals in Town & Country Village for the past 27 years. “Santa Claus is coming … he doesn’t wear a mask, so people need to be 6 feet away from him. He’s a little older so he can’t sit on his lap this year . “
It will start the day after Thanksgiving.
At the Town & Country Village on the corner of the Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road, the festival will begin at 5 pm on Black Friday. The traditional Treelight Ceremony has been canceled to prevent large gatherings. The trees are already illuminated and the area is separated with caution tape to protect all volunteer staff.
In the past, events included carolers, dancers, and acrobats — all donated their time. In the past, the Bakersfield Fire Department took out fire trucks and let children go up and down. There was also a train for a year.
Visitors are advised to bring a letter to Santa. All children under the age of 14 wearing a mask and riding in a car will be given a holiday gift bag.
“It’s a tradition that Bakersfield comes out and has the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap,” Collins said. “And participate in all activities and snacks. This is a free event with community participation and the last of its kind open to the public. And thanks to COVID-19, it stops. Nothing. There are no songs or snacks, but it was important to continue this tradition as safely as possible. “
The Christmas Town on the grounds of the Khan County Museum in Pioneer Village also had to change operations this year. Ice skating rinks, sledding hills and hay rides are not provided. Instead, a one-mile drive-through route was designed this year with double the lighting, according to Bakersfield Christmas Town CFO Micros.
“We’ve been working on this all year long, with people predicting that COVID will continue during the holidays,” Ross said. “I couldn’t attend Halloween this year, so I wanted to put something together for Christmas. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, there will be no snow hill-like activities this year. We Feeled the health of the people. This was the safest way. But instead of having nothing, you have to do something at least for the holidays. “
Bringing Santa back was a priority.
“Santa is the cornerstone of what we do,” Ross said. “Everyone likes to come and visit with him. I can’t do that, but I recommend writing a letter to Santa Claus. So while you’re in the car, deliver the letter and what’s on Christmas You can let us know if you want it or take a picture of Santa. “
The event starts on Friday and lasts until January 3rd. Open Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 pm to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 10 pm. The cost is $ 25 per vehicle and $ 50 for a passenger van or limousine.
“Usually Santa is one of the longest routes we have,” said Ross, who started the event 15 years ago and moved to his current location in 2012. “But I had to figure out how to get Santa there. Some capacity. But he’s in that demographic, and if he’s there, he’s safe and approaches people. It must not be too much, but we can keep him safe in this position and still be there for the children. “
Shopping centers in other areas are also planning to host Santa Claus, but have not yet provided accurate details. One thing is certain: they are more likely to make a reservation.
Taking her children, and now grandchildren, has always been a family tradition for Mandy Dickey and her family. Despite the additional safety protocol, the family still plans to take their 3-year-old grandson Jaden, even if that means seeing Santa through the window of a family car.
“We always took our kids to see Santa in the mall,” Dicky said. “The main reason we do so is because they were always so secret about it that we could hear what (they wanted for Christmas). They don’t tell us. And since we did it as a kid, going to the mall is a bit of a family tradition. “
Jaden’s father, Josh, helped set up Christmas Town Drive throughout last month and plans to work for one of Los Angeles’ Christmas tree lots. Having my son meet Santa is a natural conclusion, whether it’s COVID-19 or not.
“We’re definitely going to take him,” said Josh Dicky. “I want to try to keep things as normal as possible. I don’t think there are already big changes in everyone’s lives and holidays don’t have to be taken away from them.”
Another option is a virtual visit with Santa Claus. Several online services have emerged. Santasclub.com provides people with the opportunity to “save childhood memories in the Santa’s club way.” Three different packages are available, ranging from $ 34.99 to $ 64.99. After signing up, one or more selected children will receive a letter from Santa and time will be reserved for a pre-recorded or live online conversation between Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Visitfromtheclauses.com offers similar virtual visits, from $ 19.99 to a $ 149.99 package that includes a special gift from the North Pole.
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