2020: A different kind of Christmas
By Robert Stevens
Like many of the holidays that have preceded the yuletide season this year, things are different in Sanpete this Christmas.
The differences are due to strict COVID-19 public health guidelines which have changed multiple times throughout the year—most recently imposing a statewide mask mandate and limits on social gatherings, especially with people outside your own household.
While some events, such as Manti’s light parade almost got the axe, saved only by the outcry of local citizens, others, such as Gunnison’s public tree lighting and parade were nixed all together.
Still others are being adapted to conform with public health guidelines, such as the Snow College theatre department’s annual production of, “A Christmas Carol.” The traditional holiday play has been a staple for the school’s theatre department for ages, but in the face of the pandemic the show will go on, but only via a pay-for-view version to reduce the chance of spreading the virus by show-goers being packed together on well-attended nights.
With so many altered and canceled events in the long-standing holiday traditions of Sanpete County, the Messenger thought our readers could benefit from a list of what is still happening this year. Here is a look at how the remaining holiday events will play out over the next month or so in the face of this pandemic.
In addition to, “A Christmas Carol” being a pay-for-view “On Demand” production this year, Snow College has several other events that are getting the same treatment. From Friday, Dec. 4-25, the Snow College Opera Workshop is putting on a one-act opera that was first performed on NBC television in 1951 called, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” The opera is available On Demand over the internet for $10.
Those interested in taking in the streaming performance of, “A Christmas Carol, which runs from Friday, Dec. 4-25, should order it online and be prepared to pay $10 per viewing.
The annual Holiday Music Spectacular that Snow puts on is happening in the same fashion, via streaming.
The Snow College Horne School of Music will run their annual performance of “The Messiah” Sunday, Dec.12-13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the live-streamed event are free.
For more information about Snow College holiday performances and how you can enjoy them, visit the Snow College Eccles Center Facebook page.
Ephraim’s annual Christmas light parade and the Red, White and Green fireworks spectacular are happening on Saturday, Dec. 5. The parade begins on Ephraim Main Street at 7 p.m. and cuts east towards the Snow College Greenwood Student Center at 100 North. Santa Claus will not be present at the Greenwood Center this year.
The fireworks display will cap off the evening at the sports complex of Ephraim Family Park on 300 North at about 200 East.
The Ephraim Middle School Candlelight program is still being considered, but no decision has been made yet. Watch the school website for information or call 283-4037.
The Fairview Museum of History and Art is doing their annual Christmas Tree Forest at the Museum again this year at 85 N. 100 East in the Horizon Building. People in the community decorate and donate trees, which are displayed for a few weeks and then given either to families in need, or to a family designated by the donor of a tree. The deadline for donating and setting up a tree was Nov. 16. But the forest itself runs through Saturday, Dec 5. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, noon to 4 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. For information, call Rinda Thompson at 851-6087.
The annual Santa Fun Run is still on for this year, owing to its outdoor nature and the ability to social distance easily in a running event. The fun run, which raises money to provide Christmas for needy families in the Gunnison Valley, will be held Saturday, Nov. 28. Check in at 9 a.m. at the clock tower on Main Street. The race starts at 10 a.m. The registration fee is $5. The event is sponsored by Gunnison Valley High School.
Manti City will hold its light parade on Friday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. on Main Street. At press time, the starting point was still being determined, but the parade route may be stretched out this year to facilitate social distancing.
You can “drive-by” Santa at the Manti High School bus circle from 4-5:30 p.m. Bring your letters to Santa in a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Children who submit letters will receive a reply.
As of press time, Manti Elementary was still deciding whether to stage its Christmas program. Information will be provided by email, or call the office at 835-2271.
The Manti High School Christmas program is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 16, but a final decision concerning whether or not to hold this event will be made after Thanksgiving. Call 835-2281 for information.
The Moroni Elementary first grade Christmas program will be held, but not with live public attendance. Like the Snow College productions, the Moroni Elementary first grade holiday program will be made available remotely, via a broadcast from CentraCom on channel 10. Dates for the broadcast have not been decided as of press time.
Mt. Pleasant City’s annual holiday lighting ceremony is not being held this year, nor the usual gathering downtown. In its place, the city is putting on a “drive-by” Christmas event at the aquatic center on Saturday, No. 28. Attendees are to line up in their vehicles on 100 East heading east between 6 and 8 p.m. Drive through the Aquatic Center parking lot to see Santa and hear Christmas music. Bring your letters to Santa with return addresses. Each child will receive a gift bag from Santa’s elves. Then drive down Main Street where buildings will be lit up. See the ad in this magazine or go to http://www.mtpleasantcity.com for more information.
The Spring City lighting ceremony is currently set to go on on Friday, Nov. 27, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street. A children’s choir will be singing and attendees will see Santa Claus drive by on a fire engine.
The third annual light pole decorating contest runs through Friday afternoon, Nov. 27. Contact Kristi McGriff at 813-8180 to be assigned one of the old fashioned light poles on Main Street. Decorate it as you see fit. Winners will be announced at the community tree lighting on Nov. 27. First prize is $100; second prize, $75; and third prize, $50. Decorations will stay up through the holidays.
The city is also sponsoring a Christmas scavenger hunt. Details will be provided in December’s utility bill.