As it has completed each December for the final 37 years, the Merriment on Main tree will proudly stand tall in its typical spot on the Three Flags Monument on the intersection of Davis and Main streets.
The distinction is the annual gathering with music, distributors and the much-anticipated public lighting of the tree by Santa Claus is not going to be held together with it.
Due to the continuing impacts of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the annual Merriment on Main competition sometimes held the primary Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been canceled for the 12 months, marking the primary time a cancelation has taken place for the reason that competition started.
Lisa Rico, a member of Merriment on Main’s Board of Directors, informed The Reporter the board had been discussing choices over the previous couple of months because the virus prompted federal and statewide bans on mass gatherings and the cancelations of huge occasions.
Rico mentioned the board had been intently monitoring any updates from Gov. Gavin Newsom, however as of final week, it turned clear that the coronavirus was not at a state the place the occasion could possibly be safely held in December. The occasion has drawn as much as 15,000 attendees in previous years standing shoulder to shoulder to look at the tree get lit. The occasion is extensively deliberate prematurely, however organizers don’t see any adjustments to the state’s prohibition on giant public occasions by the point Merriment was scheduled.
Rico mentioned the cancelation of the occasion was unhappy, however the security of the group wanted to return first.
“There are so many things that have changed in our world,” she mentioned. “It’s too bad that we can’t all get together and watch a tree get lit, but there’s a lot more important things for us to do right now like staying alive and being healthy.”
However, the tree will nonetheless be put in in its typical spot. An order has already been positioned to town’s longtime provider, Carlton Christmas Trees in Burney, and the tree will nonetheless be adorned and lit, simply not publicly.
Merriment on Main was based in 1983 by Rico’s husband Richard, then-publisher of The Reporter. He wished a solution to thank the group for its longtime help through the 12 months of the paper’s centennial and felt a tree much like a dwell one in the identical spot that had been adorned each December throughout Richard’s youth was an acceptable present.
The first 12 months the tree was put in, there was no giant occasion connected to it, however that modified as Vacaville’s inhabitants continued to develop. Over time, the lighting of the tree gave solution to a big competition with musical performances, dwell Nativity scenes, free meals and extra. For many Vacaville residents, the occasion has marked the official begin of the holiday season annually.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think 38 years ago anything like this pandemic would prevent us from gathering as a community to celebrate this annual tradition,” Richard Rico mentioned in an announcement. “As sad as that is, we must consider everyone’s safety first.”
The funds for the occasion are sometimes raised annually from donations by native companies and the group at giant. However, organizers wrote in a information launch that with all of the strife that companies, residents and nonprofits have confronted this 12 months because of the coronavirus, the Merriment on Main board is not going to be asking for cash this 12 months and advises these prepared to donate to direct funds to those that have confronted hardships attributable to COVID-19.
“Fortunately, due to the generosity of Merriment sponsors and supporters in the past, there are enough reserve funds available to pay for the tree, its installation and decoration this year,” organizers wrote.
This 12 months, the tree might be devoted to first responders — together with police, firefighters, well being care employees, meals service staff and all different important employees — for his or her efforts to maintain the group secure, cared for and well-fed, organizers wrote.
“It is sad that we can’t gather as a community to ring in the Christmas season this year,” Jennifer Hamilton, vp of the Merriment on Main board, mentioned in an announcement. “We are, as always committed to providing the symbol of the season for everyone to enjoy, our community Christmas tree will still stand bright at the end of Main Street. We trust that the community understands why we made this decision and supports one another during these trying times. We hope families will be able to enjoy the tree in ways that are safe and that meet the guidelines set by the city, county and CDC.”
Despite the cancelation of the occasion, Lisa Rico is completely happy that Vacaville can nonetheless have a distinguished image of Christmas on show this 12 months.
“We have a wonderful community, and we will have a beautiful tree,” she mentioned. “Next year, hopefully, we’ll have a party once again.”
The group can keep up to date on new data relating to the tree over the following few months by visiting Merriment on Main’s Facebook web page at Facebook.com/merrimentonmainvacaville or its web site at merrimentonmain.org.