As fall kicks into gear, Oswego village staff are continuing planning for the village's annual Christmas Walk celebration as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Community Relations Coordinator Jennette Sturges confirmed Oct. 13 the village is still working with community stakeholders to plan how the annual holiday event would function during the pandemic.
"We're still working on Christmas Walk. We do not know what shape fully it will take yet, but we're still working on providing something for our residents," Sturges said.
As previously reported in the Ledger, Sturges said that options being brainstormed by village staff and partners include an event stretched over multiple days "to try and drive traffic to downtown consistently for Christmas holiday shopping."
An annual event held the first Friday of December, the Christmas Walk draws in thousands of residents from the village and other communities to visit businesses in the village's downtown, participate in kids' activities, meet Santa Claus, enjoy hot chocolate and other treats, and watch the silent lights fire truck parade.
But what could the Christmas Walk look like this December?
A recent event in the village's downtown, The Fox Fall Fest, embraced social distancing and pandemic safety precautions during the weekend festivities. Business owners were required to wear face coverings and feature hand sanitizer at their booths, dividers were placed between booths that backed up to each other, a clear path of traffic was delineated, and booths were spaced apart from each other.
Oswego Downtown Association President and Floral Expressions and Gifts owner Megan Dell'Aringa said the Oct. 4 event could provide a template for the Christmas Walk this December.
"I think a lot of Fox Fall Fest will also help set the tone for the Christmas Walk. How does it look? What is the layout? What is the configuration? Is the flow good?" Dell'Aringa asked.
"Those kind of things help...in another month and a half. We're all doing it together. The village has been really great in helping us saying, 'Hey, this is really good,' or 'This can be re-looked at' as far as the permitting goes. They're trying to help us navigate the safest path for everything."
While she was not at Fox Fall Fest, Sturges said that village staff were present and observed the precautions being taken.
"I don't know all the particulars about how Fox Fall Fest went and how it operated. I know that they had a whole bunch of protections in place, but I'm not sure what all those are, so I don't want to speak definitively to that," Sturges said. "What I would say is that we had staff that did go to Fox Fall Fest to see how that all operated and kind of took some mental notes."
She added, "I'm sure we'll be incorporating what we've seen work in this particular space of Main Street, along with all the other guidance that we're getting from the CDC, state and local health authorities."
Information regarding the Christmas Walk will be announced as it becomes available, Sturges said.