Traditionally a one-night event, Westfield in Lights will run from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 this year to extend holiday cheer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There also are several new attractions.
Frosty the Snowman home visits
Frosty the Snowman will make home visits from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. Frosty will visit a home for 5 minutes. The feature is new.
“Frosty will arrive and we will play the ‘Frosty the Snowman’ song and do a socially distanced meet and greet,” said Kelley Wells, community events coordinator for Westfield Welcome. “Frosty will stay outside and say hello, drop some treats by the house and snap a picture, and that’s it. This has gone over so well already.”
A visit from Frosty is free, but interested families must sign up in advance at westfieldwelcome.com.
The response has been good so far, and time slots for Monday and Thursday night visits are filled. Wells said there are still openings for Tuesday and Wednesday nights and morning visits. The time slot for mornings is 9 a.m. to noon, and the evening time slot is 4 to 7 p.m. Frosty plans to complete about 15 visits per time slot.
Gingerbread house competition
The gingerbread house competition by Girl Scout Troop JoSheWe will return this year, although votes will be cast virtually instead of in person. People can vote for their favorite gingerbread house for a donation. All proceeds will benefit the Youth Assistance Programs in Westfield and Sheridan. The gingerbread house competition winner will be announced at the tree-lighting ceremony.
Westfield Winter Walk
Another new event is the Westfield Winter Walk. Wells said the city originally planned to call the event a luminary walk, but decided to expand upon it.
“Instead of just luminaries at Asa Bales Park, there will be lots of holiday lights – lights on the trees, some lighted structures and inflatables,” Wells said. “There will be Christmas music playing in the park and we will offer free hot cocoa.”
People can purchase a luminary for $5 on westfieldwelcome.com and ask for a personalized message. Luminaries and the light display will be presented from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 in Asa Bales Park north, across from Westfield High School.
Pictures with Santa
Pictures with Santa will return this year at Christ United Methodist Church, 318 N. Union St. Pictures will be taken from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 and 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5. Pictures are $5 each and advance registration is required.
“We are limiting to 15 families per time slot,” Wells said.
Participants will check in at Door 1. They must wear face masks and practice social distancing. There will be a plexiglass shield in front of Santa.
“There’s a bench attached to it in the front, so children will sit on the bench, and Santa is behind the plexiglass shield in his special Santa chair,” Wells said. “There won’t be a way to physically touch Santa or sit on his lap, but they will still be able to talk with Santa, still get a picture taken and the photo is printed on-site, so they will get that as soon as the picture is done. Then, they will exit out a different door to maintain that flow.”
Concessions will be sold inside the church, and there will be a nativity display.
This year’s tree-lighting ceremony will be presented online only. It will be streamed on Facebook live. The Oak Trace Elementary School Treble Choir will sing Christmas songs beginning at 6:30 p.m., and Mayor Andy Cook will light the tree at 7 p.m. Dec. 5.
There will be no carriage rides, no vendors and no craft station this year.
“We really have focused on a select number of attractions this year so we can make sure that we are doing them safely,” Wells said. “We just want to make sure to note that we know this has been a trying year and challenging year for everybody, so our hope and intention is that these activities are a source of cheer and joy for our community for this year, more so than any other year we have put this on.”