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With hearts hopeful that the Grinch that is the COVID-19 pandemic won’t steal this year’s Christmas joy and community spirit, City of St. Albans officials and city supporters are planning a variety of safe activities for the upcoming holiday season.

A few of the seasonal events have been announced, including the following:

• The St. Albans Festival of Lights will get underway at St. Albans City Park on Friday, Nov. 27. The outdoor festival will continue each evening from 6 until 9 p.m. through Dec. 26 (excluding Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and Christmas Day, Dec. 25).

“Our parks department crew is hard at work building several new displays this year and we’re giving major facelifts to some of our longstanding favorites,” St. Albans Parks Superintendent Kevin Pennington said on the Festival of Lights website, salights.com.

• A Christmas tree decorating contest will begin on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the City National Bank location in St. Albans. Through Dec. 18, visitors can vote for their favorite tree on display by donating canned goods.

“The canned foods collected at the Christmas tree decorating contest will be donated to Christ’s Kitchen in St. Albans, to feed the hungry of our community,” St. Albans Chamber of Commerce Communications Director Deb Austin Brown said. “Last year, over 2,000 cans were donated.”

• On Saturday, Dec. 5, the 2020 Christmas Parade is scheduled to step off at 4 p.m. on Sixth Avenue in St. Albans. Those interested in participating in the parade can learn more by contacting Patty Swango at paradeladysa@gmail.com or 304-549-4100.

Following the parade, at 5 p.m., luminaries will be on display, preceding the lighting of the Christmas tree at 6 p.m.

“At the tree lighting ceremony, we will be giving out free hot cocoa to the first 500 people, an historic St. Albans landmark Christmas ornament to the first 350 families, and a candy cane and a lighted Christmas necklace to the children,” Brown noted.

• Also on Saturday, Dec. 5, area children can send their Christmas greetings (and requests) to Santa Claus via a mailbox that will be installed in front of the Alban Arts Center on Olde Main Plaza. Kids can mail their letters to St. Nick daily through Dec. 24.

• The Residential and Business Christmas Decorating Contest will offer cash prizes to entrants, Brown said.

“Businesses will give out $1,000 in prizes and Residential will give out $600 in prizes,” she said. “This is to encourage holiday decorations to make our town even more beautiful.”

“The judging committee will pick a residence from each of the nine wards in St. Albans as that ward winner,” St. Albans Mayor Scott James said on his Facebook page on Nov. 18. “Each winner will receive a $100 prize. Then an overall winner out of the nine ward winners will receive an additional $100. For businesses, the first place winner will receive $300, the second place winner will receive $200, and the third place winner will receive $100.”

The entry deadline for the Business and Residential Decorating Contest is noon on Thursday, Dec. 10. Registration forms are available at St. Albans City Hall or City National Bank. They can also be downloaded from the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce website, mySAWV.com.

• The Alban Arts Center will present its live stream performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 11-13 and 18-20. Tickets and more details are available at albanartscenter.com.

Updates and more information about the holiday events are available at MySAWV.com or on the St. Albans Chamber Facebook page.