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Safety Cited As ‘Downplayed’ Findley Lake Christmas Is Planned

Features of Findley Lake’s Christmas Through the Village such as horse-drawn wagon rides and Santa’s Workshop will not appear in this year’s event due to the pandemic.

FINDLEY LAKE — Yes, Virginia, there will be Christmas in the village in Findley Lake this year.

No, it won’t be like other years.

The annual event which so many people from around the area look forward to every year will be greatly reduced this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, event organizers said. It will take place, as usual, on the first weekend in December.

“It’s gong to be very downplayed,” said Nancy Sonney, owner of the Secret Cubby of Antiques. “There will be no Santa’s Workshop, no wagon rides or anything extra. It will pretty much just be specials in the store.”

Co-organizer Larry Gross, Owner of Our Own Candle Company, said that the risks of gathering people together were just too great.

“Anything we would have done in a normal year we won’t be doing this year,” he said. “We are not even promoting it like we usually do.”

In the end, it all comes down to safety, Gross said.

“We’re going to do as we have been doing, which is the best we can do to keep social distancing,” he said.

Christmas through the Village in Findley Lake has been a popular event for many years, with visitors from all around Chautauqua County as well as Erie, Meadville, Ohio and even Buffalo.

Former years have featured attractions such as a town crier, horse-drawn wagon rides, model train sets, more than 30 vendors and, of course, Santa complete with workshop and elves.

But not this year.

According to Sonney, this year’s Christmas Through the Village will consist mainly of specials in the stores.

“We’re just playing it by ear right now,” she said. “We’re just going to keep it very low key.”

Even the village tradition of each store have a drawing for a basket of goodies will not be present this year.

“I don’t know if we can come up with a safe way to do it, “ Gross said, noting that the area around the baskets always got congested. “It’s too many potential issues.

The stores will be decorated and there will be Christmas music playing for the event, Gross said.

Gross said the pandemic has actually helped business in the village somewhat. This could be a result of people shying away from the larger stores, he said.

“I think people feel safer here than in the big stores,” he said. He added that he feels people are returning to a pattern of shopping for Christmas in small stores rather than larger stores. “I see that coming back a little bit,” he said.

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