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City announces plan for modified holiday events downtown this year

After discussions with public health and city officials, the City of Bainbridge has announced plans to modify their seasonal celebrations due to on-going concerns with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As Halloween approaches, we have carefully considered the updated CDC guidelines and the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more. In an effort to pose the lowest risk to our community, we have opted to move our annual Munchkin Masquerade to a virtual event. Parents are encouraged to post pictures of their children in costume to the pinned post at the top of the City of Bainbridge, Ga- Government Facebook page along with the child’s name and character. Then, ask that your friends and family to like their favorite characters and share the excitement. The 3 entries with the most “likes” will be announced as winners of the 2020 Munchkin Masquerade.

We understand that trick or treating is a time honored tradition and while we are not cancelling this activity we do ask that should you decide to participate, you do so in the safest way possible. Public health officials advise limiting trick-or-treating to three or four kids. Before heading out, parents should ask if the family they are joining has been taking precautions and wearing masks. Parents can wipe down candy or let it sit for a couple of days if they are worried about surface transmission of the virus.

As we enter the holiday season, we do so with the knowledge that this year the season will be a little different but no less joyous or fun. We will still have events, they will just look and feel a bit different as we adhere to public health standards and maintain social distancing.

Our annual Holiday Open House will be held November 21. Shoppers are invited to come downtown to jump start their local holiday gift buying. The Downtown Station will be open for handwashing as well as several handwashing stations located throughout downtown. Our Downtown Bainbridge office will be open where you can pick up complimentary hand sanitizer and purchase this year’s Ashley Long Christmas ornament.

On December 1, we will officially open our Lights Along the River Drive Though Lights Display. While remaining in your vehicle, enter in the Earle May Boat Basin and turn right onto Hatcher Rd, tune into some Christmas music and drive through close to a mile of lit displays celebrating the season.

This year, we have added another socially distanced holiday event! When you exit Lights Along the River at Cheney Griffin Park, follow the signs making your way up Water Street into downtown. There you can park your car and enjoy our Christmas Canvas Mural Walking Tour. With more than 25 stops on the self-guided tour, you can enjoy strolling through the holiday murals painted on business fronts. Maps of mural stops can be picked up from many downtown businesses, the Downtown Station or be found online at www.downtownbainbridgega.com.

On December 3rd, we will light the Christmas tree in Willis Park and enjoy the sounds of the holidays with the singing of Christmas carols. You will be able to watch from the comfort of your home via social media links that we will provide.

Unfortunately, the large gathering ban does prevent us from holding our Annual Christmas Parade. In its place, we invite you to join us at the Bill Reynolds Sports Complex on December 11 to watch an outdoor holiday movie with your family. You can choose to remain in your vehicle for the movie or we will offer marked spaces where a 6 foot distance can be safely maintained. We will choose which movie we watch via online poll beginning December 1!

We have been close contact with the North Pole and have managed to get on the Big Guy’s schedule. On December 19, he has penciled in an hour or so for the children of Bainbridge and we have set up a Zoom call with him. Kids (and parents) will be able to call in, talk to the man himself and make sure he knows any last minute toys he needs the elves to work on. Only a week before Christmas, we know he’s busy so we were lucky to get on his calendar!

In a year that has been anything but routine, we want to encourage everyone to take full advantage of the events being put on in our community while keeping safety a top priority.