Recast German Village Lights planned for holiday time

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
A brass band plays Christmas songs in front of the German Village Book Loft during the 2019 Village Lights event in German Village. This year, the event has been recast with a different format.

In the final stretch of 2020, the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus has for the most part been successful at wiping out the remaining community activities of the year in the German Village neighborhood.

But organizers of the annual Village Lights celebration remain undaunted and have recast it as a weeks-long event deigned to help promote local shops and restaurants as well as draw attention to their e-commerce," said Delilah Lopez, executive director of the German Village Society.

"We'll be asking residents to help light up the village by decorating their homes and creating an extra incentive to do so as this will replace the luminarias this year," Lopez said.

The virtual version of Village Lights will be celebrated between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with exact dates still to be determined, she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted restrictions on crowd sizes and social distancing, which in turn have led to the cancellation of every major event in German Village this year, from Shakespeare in the Park to the Village Valuables sales.

Even the Haus und Garten Tour was canceled. It later was reformatted and held as a virtual event Aug. 27.

The Caretakers of a Legacy awards program, traditionally held in May, has been rescheduled as a virtual event for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3.

The awards presented by the German Village Commission recognize neighborhood projects that upheld the character and distinction of the historic district. The German Village Society president also recognizes a project.

The society's annual meeting and volunteer-appreciation awards event will be held virtually at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Nominations for three awards -- Frank Fetch, Fred and Howard and Village Valuable -- will be accepted through Sept. 25.

"COVID restrictions have not been easy on anyone," Lopez said. "Nonprofit organizations who depend on bringing people together to educate and celebrate their mission while raising money to further that mission have been gravely impacted.

"People who live in neighborhoods like German Village to have a sense of belonging have been affected," she said.

"However, the German Village Society was born out of the desire to preserve and protect this area.

"Right now, that means that we have to protect our neighbors' health and be creative with how we stay in touch and engage with one another."

Greg Gamier, co-chairman of the German Village Business Community, said many details are pending, but the goal is to provide opportunities to get people into the historic district.

"I want people to come to the village and patronize the businesses during the holiday season," Gamier said. "That's what Village Lights is going to be about this year. It's not going to be one celebration."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary