The annual lighting of the village in Helen is still going to take place this year – just at a new location.
The event will be held Friday, Nov. 27, at Riverside Park along Edelweiss Strasse, where Santa and Mrs. Claus are able to visit with children from 5-7 p.m. and people can remain socially distanced. The lighting will take place around 6 p.m.
The move was announced at the Oct. 13 Helen City Commission meeting. Helen Mayor Steve Fowler said a couple of thousands of people attend the lighting, with about 200 children visiting with Santa.
“That process, based on today’s environment, it could not occur as it has at the [downtown marketplatz] in the past,” Fowler said.
“We picked one tree that’s on one side of the park to where you could social distance and have everyone in the park look back at the tree for the lighting,” said Jerry Brown, executive director of the Alpine Helen/White County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Children will be able to sit on Santa’s lap, but Fowler said Santa will be wearing a face shield and the children will have their temperature taken.
“Santa Claus will light the trees and all the others, and at the same time, everything in downtown is lighted at the same time,” Fowler said. “So all of that will be simultaneous. But the actual event of the lighting will occur at the river park.”
There will be music at both the park and marketplatz, Brown said.
For more information, visit www.helenga.org or call at 706-878-2181.