In spite of the limitations caused by the pandemic, this Friday evening will offer socially distanced activities for children when Christmas comes to Laurens during “Christmas on the Square.”
The City of Laurens begins the event with the tree lighting at 6 p.m.
The tree was moved from the corner at what is now Back Street Park to the other entrance of the Downtown Square at the corner of Laurens Street and Hwy. 221 and placed directly atop the city fountain.
As soon as Mayor Nathan Senn flips the switch to light the tree, Main Street Laurens’ volunteers and participating businesses will offer a hot cocoa stand, and a letters to Santa station will allow children to write letters and deliver them to the big red Santa Mailbox.
“We had a great success this past Saturday with Small Business Saturday, and we are looking forward to this weekend as well to give people a chance to come downtown,” said Jonathan Irick, director of Main Street Laurens.
“On Small Business Saturday we ended up with 19 vendors and about 200 people came through and bought craft items from vendors and also visited the stores which were open,” Irick said. “We don’t know that we’ll have that many people Friday, but we are asking everyone to wear masks and we are spacing everything out so it will be easy to socially distance.”
The Coffee Roost is sponsoring a hot chocolate station, and there will be a fire pit for marshmallows, Irick said. Volunteers will hand out maps to children so that they can navigate all the stations.
Children can decorate their bikes and scooters for a parade led by Santa at 6:45 p.m. near Verdin’s Too, and participating stores will offer pre-wrapped cookies.
Irick sad he and business owners have been pleased with early Christmas shopping traffic, and he said it’s really all about community.
“I think the pandemic has made more people realize that the small businesses which make up the fabric of our community are so important to us, and they also rely heavily on their community to support them,” Irick said.
In addition, in these times smaller businesses can be safer, because they are easier to keep clean and to maintain small numbers.
During the same evening, the Laurens Commission of Public Works will light up the Laurens Lights along Little River.
“We are also having a contest among the businesses and the theme for the window displays is Snow Globe Christmas,” Irick said. “We’ll have the judging this weekend and announce winners at a later time.”