Spencer planning Christmas festivities for Dec. 12

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 30, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SPENCER — In a normal year, Spencer would participate in a joint parade with Salisbury, but this year it’s working to create its own holiday cheer.

Spencer Assistant Town Manager Peter Franzese said there will likely be more information soon as plans are being fine-tuned, but the event would be held on Dec. 12 and hopefully culminate in a tree lighting ceremony at park plaza.

“We want to make sure whatever we plan, we want to plan something that is safe,” Franzese said, adding he thinks by the end of next week there may be another announcement from Gov. Roy Cooper about gathering limits.

Franzese said the nonprofit that organizes the town’s holiday, Spencer Hometown Holidays, has arranged for the Christmas lights downtown to be inspected by an electrician so the town can have its usual display.

Exactly what else the town will be able to do is still uncertain. Cooper extended current pandemic-related restrictions as the state, following the trend across the country, is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“COVID shot a big hole in everybody’s plans,” said Spencer Alderman and organizing committee member Sam Morgan, adding the town is hesitant to plan a big event knowing it could be canceled.

Morgan said the town is not expecting a large crowd and is planning for a two-hour program with Christmas music and a folk band in addition to the tree lighting. The artificial tree itself will be new, about 15 to 20 feet high and is being built by the town’s public works department. The downtown lighting and the tree will go up whether there are gathering restrictions, rain, or not.

Morgan said there was talk initially about getting a live tree and planting it on site, but the logistics would be too difficult.

The town was also exploring having food trucks come in for the event, but decided to encourage nearby restaurants Belly’s Diner and Roger Dogs to stay open to potentially get some business from hungry attendees.

Franzese said the town may need to provide signage and hand sanitizing stations.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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