Dublin's tree-lighting event will have drive-thru format

Sarah Sole
ThisWeek group

Dublin Mayor Chris Amorose Groomes usually can count on at least two times per year that she gets to wear her long woolen green coat: St. Patrick’s Day and the lighting of the Dublin Christmas tree.

On Dec. 3, Groomes will don her coat again, thanks to creative planning by the city’s events team.

Dublin’s holiday tree-lighting event, pictured here last year, was scheduled Dec. 3 in Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, during the Coffman Park Night of Lights. The event has been canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Dublin’s holiday tree-lighting event is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. in Coffman Park, 5200 Emerald Parkway, during the Coffman Park Night of Lights.

Event planners said because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the festivities will be conducted in a drive-thru format.

Depending on the weather, about 2,000 people annually attend the tree-lighting ceremony at Coffman Park, said Alison LeRoy, director of community events for Dublin.

This year, event staff members decided a drive-thru was the best way to bring the community together safely, event coordinator Kendel Kellogg said.

“A lot of the same activities will still be involved,” she said.

Those will include stilt walkers, inflatables and an appearance by Santa Claus.

The display will be up through Jan. 3 for residents to drive through at any time, said Cathy Witchey, event coordinator.

Visitors may enter the park off Commerce Parkway and turn onto Coffman Park Drive, Witchey said. During the evening of the tree-lighting ceremony, dancers, jugglers and other activities will be on either side of the road for people to see, she said. Dublin City Council members and Santa also will be there.

The drive through the park takes about five minutes, she said.

During the event, visitors must stay in their vehicles, LeRoy said.

Patrons of the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, also will have to enter the facility via Downpatrick Drive off Tara Hill Drive during the duration of the night’s festivities, she said.

Although thinking of how to celebrate safely right now is challenging, Dublin’s event staff members worked hard to make the beginning of the winter season feel normal, Groomes said.

“It’s kind of a reverse parade, if you will,” she said.

All residents could use something that helps them feel even a small bit normal, council member Christina Alutto said.

The tree-lighting ceremony functions as a creative way to allow people out of their homes without being close to a large number of people, she said.

It also helps council members and city officials let the community know that they are still here for residents, Alutto said.

“Our focus is still on Dublin, because that’s our home,” she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah