Sandy tree lighting tradition takes on new form
While the usual fanfare around the tree lighting isn't possible this year, the city of Sandy staff has worked to bring some holiday cheer to the community in a safe way.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, the tree will be lit by Mayor Stan Pulliam, with a countdown by emcee DJ Anderson, but because of COVID-19 restrictions the event in Centennial Plaza, 39295 Pioneer Blvd., is not open to the public in the usual way.
The lighting itself will be livestreamed virtually for people to watch from home, with a prerecorded message from Sandy City Council included, and staff will be facilitating a drive-thru pickup for cocoa, crafts, cookies and a glimpse at the tree.
The drive-thru logistics are still in the works, but people likely will be asked to drive down Hoffman Avenue parallel to the plaza, so they can see the tree while picking up their holiday goodies.
Santa also will be there, safely distanced on a Sandy Trolley, and he will have a mailbox for children to leave letters in.
"Ultimately, the tree lighting has been a very strong tradition, so we were looking for a way to continue that tradition," said Sarah McIntyre, executive director of the Sandy Public Library and event coordinator for the tree lighting. "People right now are really looking for a way to get out and do things while staying safe. This was a way to have a safe event and honor that tradition."
For the safety of city staff who are making the event possible, people are discouraged from coming to the event in the plaza in-person unless driving through as directed.
Handouts at the drive-thru will include a craft for a cause. The craft directs people to complete two handmade holiday cards, which are then to be returned to the Sandy Public Library. Library staff then will deliver the cards to residents of Sandy Avamere facilities and Meals on Wheels recipients.
"This has been an especially difficult year," McIntyre said. "We felt like giving those people some community cheer right now was important."
The library staff are hoping to receive 450 cards by Monday, Dec. 20. Those not attending the tree lighting can pick up the craft from the library with curbside pickup starting Monday, Nov. 23.
Curbside pickup also can be used to drop off completed cards. Simply drive up during curbside hours and call to have a librarian retrieve the cards. Cards also can be dropped in the book return slot.
"One of the highlights of being mayor in a community like Sandy is our annual tree lighting," Pulliam said. "Like everything else in 2020, this year's will be a little different. Sometimes new can be just as fun and rewarding as our usual traditions. Our city staff has worked hard to put on a terrific show that I'm looking forward to enjoying along with my family and neighbors, albeit from a distance."
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