Village Lights goes virtual, will extend through December
Village Lights is one of the few events that hasn’t been canceled in German Village, but it’s definitely going to be a lot different in 2020.
Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Virtual Village Lights version will be celebrated the entire month of December instead of one day, usually the first Sunday of the month, said Greg Gamier, co-chairman of the German Village Business Community, which presents the event.
By spreading the holiday cheer and crowds out, the spread of the virus should be minimized, Gamier said.
Still, he said, the spirit of the “eat, drink and shop” mantra of Village Lights should be enthusiastically upheld.
“There’s stuff out there,” Gamier said.
Santa Claus will make random appearances on the weekends.
“You don’t know where or when he’s going to appear,” Gamier said. “He’ll be in a golf cart zipping around the neighborhood.”
Anyone who gets a picture with him can tag the image with #villagelights2020 or @germanvillage588 it so they can enter a drawing for goods from local businesses, said Jessica Kapusta, a member of the German Village Society board of trustees who is helping organize the event.
A virtual map on the German Village Society website, germanvillage.com, will have live links to participating businesses that will share information about their hours, specials and COVID-19 policies, Kapusta said.
A special "passport" will allow participants to show they have been to businesses by checking them off one by one. Revelers will be asked to take a picture of the passport and email it to German Village Society development coordinator Salvatore Reedus at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it off at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St., to be eligible for prizes, Kapusta said.
“You can turn it into every kind of adventure you want it to be,” Kapusta said of Virtual Village Lights.
A house-decorating competition, which runs through Dec. 19, encourages residents to take pictures and post them on social media via the society’s website, she said.
The entries will be posted and voted on, and the “fan favorite” will be given a special prize, Kapusta said. The German Village Garten Club also will give out prizes, she said.
Kapusta said some of the new attractions could be used in the future.
“I think some of this may carry over,” she said. “I think we’ve found some of the things might be more beneficial to the businesses participating and creating that holiday magic.”