Tradition was at the forefront of organizer's minds as they got set for the TD Lights Of Dartmouth Christmas.
Though the regular tree-lighting couldn't happen due to COVID-19, a bigger, brighter idea was born.
“We're really looking forward to this. The event was planned because we didn't know where we would be due to the pandemic. We took the Christmas Tree Lighting and spread it across a 2.5 kilometre route in downtown Dartmouth,” said Tim Rissesco. Executive Director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.
“Families can explore, see the magical sights and more. They'll be able to distance, bubble, and still have an enjoyable time.”
Among the events are a visit with Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, a Holiday Wonderland with the traditional giant Santa, the TD Dartmouth Christmas Tree, the Grinch In A Globe and so much more.
“I've been organizing the tree lighting for 15 years, but last year we couldn't do so because of restrictions. This year we wanted to plan something we had a good chance of delivering,” he said. They looked at what Nocturne was trying for their 2021 edition.
“Key was the idea of getting around to different locations downtown. It also helps businesses to have people exploring from one attraction to the next. It helps people get familiar.”
Rissesco says this gives people a chance to walk around Downtown Dartmouth and really enjoy a whole range of activities.
“You can discover gems you didn't realize were even there. The beauty of these sorts of events is people get to know the local area. There are so many surprises for kids that reinforce the magic of the holidays,” he said.
“Kids can taunt, wave or have their photo taken with the Grinch, and we have the Carousel Ride at the Christkindlmarket. We will also debut the light projection show on Queen,” he said.
With Portland Street, Queen Street, Alderney Drive, Ochterloney Street, Prince Albert Road, Elliot Street, and Crichton Avenue all in on the fun, there will be something for everyone.
That said, precautions are in place for the event, scheduled for Saturday.
“Public safety is top of mind for all here. That's why the province has been so successful in keeping numbers down,” he said.
“There's not an event around here planned without Public Health guidelines and distancing in place. We designed the event the way it is for a reason.”
Having numerous different locations will help to maintain safe crowds and create a good flow.
“The route will keep people from lingering at any one site or from the crowds becoming too big. We will have people moving and we worked with Public Health to plan this. We are doing this with COVID-19 and best health practices in mind,” he said.
One thing this event has done is put businesses in Downtown Dartmouth at the forefront of celebrations. Those travelling these routes will see plenty of shops and restaurants they can stop into.
“In any year, leading up to Christmas is so important for retail and hospitality. But now more than ever, it's crucial coming out of COVID-19 to support local,” he said.
“With all these things around the downtown and the attractions, it gives people great chances to come back, visit, and patronize food and retail establishments.”
Though the Christmas Tree Lighting has been a Downtown Dartmouth staple for decades, Rissesco sees new possibilities on the horizon also.
“I think there's a chance to put these two amazing events together. We can bring back a lot of favourites, do the tree lighting, and combine them going forward,” he said.
“COVID-19 has challenged all of us in event planning to rethink how we do things, and to find ways to get the community together. This may be a big outcome of that.”
The main TD Lights Of Dartmouth Christmas will occur on December 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Following that, the holiday post office projection show will run on a loop from 5p.m. to 8 p.m. Each night until December 26, with the exception of December 6, the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
The animatronic window display will run until December 26, and the lights at Sullivan's Pond Park, LED murals, and light canopy will stay up all winter long.
More information can be found online.