Blyth holiday celebration to move ahead virtually, distanced
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Blyth Community Betterment Group is moving ahead with a Hometown Holiday Weekend-like celebration, but without the Santa Claus parade residents have enjoyed in recent years.
The group will receive support from the Blyth Festival, local service clubs and the Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) to roll out a number of virtual events aimed at keeping the Christmas spirit high in the village, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with The Citizen, Annie Sparling of the Blyth Community Betterment Group said the group has undertaken the guidance of Huron Perth Public Health to carry out the event while following safety protocols to limit potential for the spread of the deadly virus.
The launch of the event will take place on Friday, Dec. 4 with the lighting of the lights, which will be broadcast on the Blyth Community Betterment Group’s Facebook page. It is set to begin at 7 p.m.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the group will also place a community Christmas tree, inviting members of the public to hang ornaments to honour their family in front of Memorial Hall. Whether you have made or shared the ornament, it will have to be picked up by Jan. 4 or it will not be returned.
Sparling said that, in keeping with tradition, the village will also receive a visit from Santa, though a date and time for that visit has yet to be determined. This year’s visit will run its course through the village, visiting residents from their front porches, ensuring that everyone stays safe, but is full of holiday cheer.
The final element of the project will be the Blyth Christmas Spectacular, which will be a virtual holiday talent show emceed by Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt.
Blyth Community Betterment is asking people to record themselves singing a song, performing a skit or a dance or reading a story and submitting it to the group for inclusion in the show.
Those interested can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to participate.
Entries need to be in by Dec. 12 and the video will be available by Dec. 19.
“This year is different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it special. We also encourage you to drive around the village and surrounding countryside and enjoy the beautiful lights, send cards, check in on your elderly neighbours or those who live alone and support a local food bank or a charity,” Sparling wrote in a press release from the Blyth Community Betterment Group. “We have so much to be thankful for, let that be our focus this Christmas season.”