ELY - In past years, the popular Mrs. Claus Party here was held indoors with loads of activities and fun for families, but this year, Mrs. Claus and Santa changed their plans with COVID-19 safety in …
ELY - In past years, the popular Mrs. Claus Party here was held indoors with loads of activities and fun for families, but this year, Mrs. Claus and Santa changed their plans with COVID-19 safety in mind.
The annual event was held last Saturday at the Ely Chamber of Commerce parking lot in a drive-by format.
This year, Mrs. Claus and Santa sat on the back porch of the Chamber building and waved to carloads of families as they drove through and returned holiday greetings.
As visitors remained in their vehicles, helper elves delivered, in a contact-free manner, goody bags to each youth.
“We have age-appropriate goody bags for the whole family,” said Chamber Executive Director Eva Sebesta as she handed them out from the end of a birch tree branch. “We included holiday craft kits along with small gifts and candy for each child who came by to wave at the North Pole residents,” she added.
“The Ely Chamber of Commerce is deeply grateful to Santa and Mrs. Claus for taking time out of their very busy schedule to visit with our Ely area youth,” said Chamber Events Coordinator Ellen Cashman as she directed traffic through the parking lot and took photographs and video. “Thank you to the many businesses that have donated candy, gifts, and craft kits.”
“This year we are doing many things differently because of the coronavirus, and we want to make sure everyone stays safe,” Sebesta said. Dozens of vehicles paraded through the parking lot during the 90-minite event.
The kids didn’t seem to mind as they took it all in stride and waved eagerly at Santa and Mrs. Claus and gladly accepted a treat bag.
“This is a really nice idea, and I’m glad they could do something this year,” said Elizabeth Schmidt, of Babbitt, who brought her four-year-old daughter, Amelia.
Many holiday-related events around town are on pause this year in Ely. There was no parade or Christmas tree-lighting celebration. The annual Christmas Concert at Washington Auditorium was also put on hold due to ongoing COVID-19 public health protocols. School holiday programs weren’t held because of distance-learning.
However, Ely Area Television is featuring a virtual Christmas concert on local cable access channels beginning this week and running through the holiday season. A Christmas sing-along event is also planned for Sunday, Dec. 20, at the former Shopko building parking lot. Carloads of families are welcome to join in, beginning at 2 p.m. And if that isn’t enough, this year Mother Nature has provided area residents with natural ice skating rinks on surrounding lakes, just like the good old days when people made their own fun.
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