SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a holiday tradition that draws thousands to the Santa Fe Plaza, but like everything this year, the annual tree lighting ceremony is going virtual. “It did not feel right for us to bypass this event and not try to accommodate it and make it COVID safe,” said Kristine Mihelcic, with the City of Santa Fe.
After a tough year filled with uncertainty, stress, and fear, the City of Santa Fe is hoping that one of their annual holiday traditions brings people a little bit of peace and comfort. “With the holiday season people are really looking forward to doing some of these normal traditions,” said Mihelcic.
Usually, the tree lighting event draws between 5,000 and 6,000 people to the Plaza, but this year there won’t be any crowds. Instead, spectators will be encouraged to watch the event live on YouTube, from the comfort of their home. “If you wish, you can drive through the plaza after that we’ll have three sides of the plaza open,” said Mihelcic.
People will have to stay in their cars, where they can listen to Christmas carols provided by a local radio station, and wave to Santa and Mrs. Clause as they exit Palace Avenue. The City says doing it this way could actually draw more people to the Plaza next year because people who don’t typically go will be able to see just how magical it is.
The tree lighting will begin at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, November, 27. The live stream will be on the City’s Youtube page until 7:30 p.m. The lights will remain up through January, the City says there are signs along the Plaza reminding anyone who is taking a stroll to practice social distancing and wear a mask.