SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Many people have been looking forward to the holiday season after a stressful 2020. While some Christmas events in Utah may be altered or canceled due to the pandemic, there is still plenty of holiday cheer to be found throughout the state.
Check out which events are still going on, which have been modified, and which have been canceled this holiday season.
Salt Lake County
The Festival of Trees
One of Utah’s most renowned Christmas activities, The Festival of Trees, normally held at the South Towne Expo Center, will be held virtually this year, due to the pandemic. The event is celebrating its 50th year by having a live broadcast event, virtual shops, and allowing people to bid online on various auction items. Every contribution benefits kids at Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Hospital. The event will run online from December 1-5.
Not only due to the pandemic but also due to extensive construction taking place at Temple Square, people will have to enjoy the lights at Temple Square a little differently this year. Musical performances that take place on Temple Square will be virtual. Sister missionaries serving on Temple Square will host a virtual event and guide viewers on a virtual tour of Temple Square and the Christmas lights. The lights turned on the evening after Thanksgiving. If people venture downtown to catch a glimpse of the lights with their own eyes, the lights will only be viewable from surrounding roads and exterior city sidewalks as the plaza will be fenced off and the gates will be closed.
The pandemic won’t stop the Hogle Zoo from displaying their annual ZooLights. The Christmas lights at the Zoo run every evening starting Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The lights will be on until Jan. 3. This outdoor activity will be the perfect event to be socially distant from other groups who still want to get out and enjoy the holiday spirit.
This is the Place Heritage Park
Christmas activities at This is the Place Heritage Park will be canceled this year due to COVID-19 precautions. In an effort to still celebrate the season, This is the Place is encouraging people to join in participating in the St. Martin’s Project. The service project will be benefitting Navajo Nation.
Many Utahns usually venture to the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City to see Christmas performances-especially ‘A Kurt Bestor Christmas’. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic this year, events at the theater for Christmas have been postponed. However, Kurt Bestor has announced that he will hold his 2020 Christmas concerts via a live stream event on Saturday, Dec. 12.
The Forgotten Carols
The film version of The Forgotten Carols will be playing at several theaters across Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Arizona. Michael McLean’s production has been performed for more than 1 million people across the nation since 1991 and is a favorite for many Utahns around the holiday season.
Lumaze, located at the Utah State Fairpark, is an outdoor light festival that will be transformed into a ‘Fairytale Christmas’ this year. The activity is suited for the whole family as there will be millions of twinkling lights on display with a candy cane light tunnel, larger-than-life illuminated displays, and magical glowing swings for kids to play on. There will also be festive music, treats, and a covered Kids’ Zone with a Gingerbread Castle Playground. The event is being held in accordance with state and local COVID-19 guidelines. The event is outdoors and will have people follow a one-way path throughout their visit. Groups must stay together and stay socially distant from other groups. Masks will be required.
Hale Center Theatre
The Hale Centre Theatre is still holding their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. At the theatre, there will be limited seating to stay in accordance with state and county COVID restrictions. The play runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26.
Desert Star Playhouse
The hilarious Desert Star Playhouse located in Murray is now performing ‘Nutcracker: Men in Tights’ now through Jan. 2.
Macy’s Candy Windows
Macy’s Candy Windows were unveiled on Nov. 19. This is the ninth year Macy’s at City Creek has displayed the candy windows. People can view the windows outside of the store. This year, two artists were selected to decorate three windows apiece. Over 600 pounds of candy and 70 different types of candy were used for decorating the candy windows.
Grand America Hotel Holiday Stroll
Due to physical distancing and capacity control guidelines, the annual holiday stroll through The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City will be limited to overnight hotel guests and patrons of the hotel’s restaurants and The Grand Spa only. The holiday stroll allows guests to enjoy the windows at the hotel that will take them on a holiday storybook journey.
The Nutcracker – Ballet West
Because Salt Lake County has made a decision to close county-owned performing art facilities through December, Ballet West will keep their holiday tradition alive by broadcasting ‘The Nutcracker’ this season. The ballet will air the production on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Many people have the tradition of ice skating at the Gallivan Center during the holiday season. However, due to COVID-19, the ice rink is closed for the 2020/21 season.
Gardner Village located in West Jordan is open for the 2020 Christmas season. They are following all directives from the state and health department when it comes to COVID-19 guidelines. There will be no shortage of Christmas events with activities going on such as the Moonlight Madness Sale, Elf displays and scavenger hunt, Santa and reindeer photos, Santa 5k run, and buggy rides with cowboy Santa.
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
Every night from 5:30-10:30 p.m., people can head to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium and enjoy the ‘Festival of the Seas’. This new event will be held under the ECCO on the Rio Tinto Kennecott Plaza with food, festivities, and holiday lights that the whole family will enjoy. Various food trucks and fireside vendors will also be at the event.
The Utah Symphony is still holding Christmas concerts and performances this season. You can check their website for their full Christmas schedule and what their extensive plans are to keep their guests safe from COVID-19.
For the 5th straight year, Thanksgiving Point in Lehi will be displaying their millions of Christmas lights throughout their Ashton Gardens through ‘Luminaria’. Guests can walk through the gardens on a safe one-way path through the gardens and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of the holiday season. Masks are required. The entire walk through the Luminaria light display is about a mile long.
Festival of Lights
Another socially distant Christmas event for the whole family is the 29th annual Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork. People stay in their vehicles as they drive through festive lights throughout a city park. Cars can also tune into 99.7 FM while driving through the display for some holiday music. The Festival of Lights is $8 per single-family vehicle.
Kids will be able to still go see Santa at the University Mall in Orem this year. Until Dec. 24, kids can visit St. Nick (from a safe distance) in his Woodland Chalet. Visits are complimentary and each child that visits Santa will receive a special treat. Other holiday events at the mall will also be happening this year.
The 4th Annual Gingerbread Competition is still taking place this year. All ages were invited to enter a gingerbread house. The creative creations will be on display through Dec. 10. at the Bountiful Davis Art Center.
Centerpoint Legacy Theater
‘A Christmas Carol’ will be performed at Centerpoint Legacy Theater in Centerville. The play will run from Dec. 1 to the 19th every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Layton Commons Park
Another Christmas light display to visit is located at Layton Commons Park. The Christmas light display will remain on every evening until 11 p.m. until Dec. 31.
Ogden Christmas Village
Good news! Ogden’s Christmas Village will still light up downtown Ogden Municipal Garden this year. The lights will stay on through Jan. 1. While the Christmas lights will still be around to enjoy in the village and cottages, the following events will be canceled this year: Holiday Electric Parade Light Parade, opening gala, fireworks show, visits with Santa, Mrs. Claus tours, performers on the stage, train rides, breakfast with Santa, and the hot chocolate booth.
Terrace Plaza Playhouse
Terrace Plaza Playhouse in Washington Terrace is normally many family’s traditions to go see ‘Scrooge: A Christmas Carol’. However, due to COVID-19, the show will be canceled.
North Pole Express-Heber Creeper
If you are looking for a Christmas activity in the Wasatch County area, check out North Pole Express on the historic ‘Heber Creeper’ train. The 90-minute train ride through the ‘North Pole’ includes hot cocoa and Mrs. Claus’ famous chocolate chip cookies. Guests on the train will sing along with Christmas songs and will be entertained by the train’s hosts-elves and cocoa chefs! The Heber Valley Railroad says that they are complying with all COVID-19 guidelines and are having groups socially distance while on the train and having guests wear face coverings.
Parade of Gingerbread Homes
The 21st Annual Parade of Gingerbread Homes in Downtown Logan will have gingerbread homes on display at several local businesses from Dec. 5 to Dec. 26. This safe Christmas activity allows you to stroll outside as you go from one gingerbread house to the next throughout Logan.
Logan Christmas Events
Logan’s annual Christmas events such as Santa’s arrival parade and the tree lighting festival of lights that occur downtown have all been canceled due to the pandemic.
Zootah Zoo Lights
Zootah Zoo Lights in Logan are taking a safe approach to their event this year by having Santa stay socially distant so he can stay healthy for his big night on the 25th. Families can see reindeer and sip on some free hot chocolate all while enjoying the lights. The lights will run until Dec. 19.
Box Elder County
Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights
Willard Bay State Park’s Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights will still be held this year. People can stay in their cars and drive through the lights and can even use 3D glasses to make the lights stand out even more. Due to the pandemic, there will be no Santa visits, train, or food trucks.
Many people like to head to Mona to experience Young Living’s ‘Country Christmas’ but due to the pandemic, the events has been canceled this year.
‘Christmas in the Canyon’ at Tuacahn Amphitheatre in St. George will be slightly modified due to COVID-19 this year. The event includes a live nativity (now with assigned seating), train rides, an open fire, and a visit with Santa Claus. People attending the event will also be able to enjoy thousands of Christmas lights and holiday music on the plaza.
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