Traditional holiday events change amid pandemic

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:04 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “At this time right now, we could not endorse having the parade,” said Loves Park Mayor, Greg Jury.

Like many in the community, Loves Park Mayor, Greg Jury, looks forward to celebrating the holidays at the annual “Light Up the Parks” parade, but this year COVID-19 forced city leaders to cancel the event.

“We’ve had the parade almost every year and it’s been a highlight. I understand their disappointment but I think that’s probably the best decision for the safety of all of our citizens,” said Jury.

While Loves Park city officials made the decision to postpone their holiday festivities, other organizations are able to continue, despite COVID-19.

“We are very happy to say that Santa is coming to town. He will be at Cherryvale,” said Cherryvale Mall Marketing Director, Melissa Cavanagh.

Children can make their lists and drop them off with Santa at the mall starting on Black Friday through Christmas Eve, according to Cherryvale Mall Marketing Director, Melissa Cavanagh. However, visits will be different, as Santa requires online reservations.

“Vistors will arrange a time and then pay for their photos, get everything done and then come for a very simple visit with Santa. The visits are contactless and families and children will be kept 6 feet away from Santa.”

Cavanagh said that staff members know the importance of community traditions. That’s why they intend to provide a magical, holiday experience for everyone, despite the changes.

“With all of the challenges the community has faced, now more than ever, we want to provide that environment and that holiday feeling," said Cavanagh.

The mall will also provide a digital experience with Santa. For more information, visit

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