SUNBURY — The village will not hold its annual Christmas on the Square this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was recently made by the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We have worked tirelessly trying to figure out how we can adapt our beloved Christmas on the Square event during a pandemic,” the chamber said on Nov. 16. “To keep everyone safe, we will not have the traditional Christmas on the Square festivities this year. We are asking businesses in the Big Walnut area to decorate their businesses for the holiday season that everyone can enjoy. We will be putting up light pole banners around the Sunbury square.”
The chamber went on to say, “We are also encouraging everyone to shop local and support the local Big Walnut businesses – especially during the Shop Small Saturday event on Nov. 28. For those shopping local on the 28th, you can bring in your receipt to the chamber office (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) and receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes from local businesses.”
The drawing will be on Dec. 7, with winners’ names posted online.
Christmas trees will continue to be sold on the square, courtesy of the local Lions Club. Canaan firs ranging from 6- to 12-feet tall are being sold cash and carry. Hours for the 35th annual sale are 4:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 12:30-7:30 p.m. Sundays. All proceeds will benefit local organizations and families.
However, the annual parade around the village square with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the first Saturday in December isn’t taking place due to the coronavirus. The event has included a reindeer, caroling, a train display in the village hall, holiday-themed items for sale, and the mayor lighting the Christmas tree.
An additional change was made to the square — the tree that had been lit up in recent years is no longer next to the town hall.
“It was diseased and had to be removed,” a Sunbury spokesperson said in an email. “A new tree was planted (earlier in November).” No word yet on if there will be an official lighting ceremony.
Another way to help people locally is by contributing to the Sunbury United Methodist Church’s Blessing Box near the recycling bin. The idea is to “leave what you can, take what you need.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.