DUBLIN — In this topsy-turvy year, virtual tree lighting is a social-distancing option taking place in two nearby communities today.
Dublin will have a virtual tree lighting at 7 p.m. today, which can be seen on the city’s Facebook page. Originally, the event was scheduled to take place Thursday. Once lit, the 40,000 LED lights and a 30-foot tree will illuminate Coffman Park Drive through Jan. 3.
Children can also send letters to Santa by emailing email@example.com or by dropping them off at Santa’s mailbox at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, between now and Dec. 18.
There is also a “12 virtual days of Dublin Parks” taking place through Dec. 13. The idea is to find 12 candy canes hidden in 12 of the city’s parks. Dublin is home to more than 60 parks, so it may be a bit of a challenge. To sign up for the free scavenger hunt, visit bit.ly/3mo2bfM. At last check, there was a waitlist to sign up.
“This year, the Dublin Police Department is hosting its second annual ‘Fill A Cruiser’ event to collect donated toys to make sure local kids receive a present this holiday season,” states a post on Dublin’s Facebook page. The event takes place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Dublin Justice Center, 6565 Commerce Parkway. Gifts need to be unwrapped and can be in two age categories — 10 and younger and 11-17, with gift cards accepted.
Another thing going on in Dublin may be a present for some — eight pickleball courts are being built at the corner of Perimeter Drive and Commerce Parkway.
“The courts will be open this winter with temporary striping and no finish to the asphalt. The project is set to be completed by spring 2021,” the city said on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Westerville’s Uptown area will have seasonal decorations, and the tree can be seen from driving by the City Hall Courtyard on State Street (state Route 3).
“Since we cannot be together in-person this year for a favorite holiday tradition, Westerville Parks & Recreation will host an all-virtual Holiday Tree Lighting on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.,” the city’s website states. “Tune in to watch the premiere on WestervilleTV or the city’s Facebook page.”
From 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Marc’s and Walmart in Westerville, local residents can fill a police cruiser with nonperishable food items to support the Westerville Area Resource Ministry. Also, Westerville’s Electric Division, located at 139 E. Broadway Ave., recycles holiday lights that no longer work at a no-contact dropoff box. Last year, the city recycled more than two tons of lights.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.