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Downtown Hershey's annual tree-lighting switches to virtual format due to COVID-19 concerns

Families can watch the tree lighting on Facebook Live, then have a Drive-Thru visit with Santa Claus, organizers said. The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 5.
Credit: FOX43

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Downtown Hershey Association announced it will kick off the holiday celebration with a virtual tree lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus in ChocolateTown Square on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The event, which begins at 5 p.m., will be shared via Facebook Live due to COVID-19 health concerns, the DHA said.

Those who tune in will see a five-piece brass band from the Hershey Symphony Orchestra as they play holiday favorites, the DHA said. Santa will arrive downtown onboard a Hershey Volunteer Fire Company truck, and will light the tree at approximately 5:15 p.m. 

Members of the Hershey High School Marching Band are also tentatively scheduled to play, the DHA said.

Families can then have a Drive-Thru visit with Santa in the parking lot next to ChocolateTown Square from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the DHA said.

Guests may enter in their vehicles from Cocoa Avenue onto Caracas Avenue and proceed in the queue to wave to Santa. Children may hand their letters to Santa to Downtown Hershey Association volunteers and receive a special candy treat, donated by The Hershey Company. 

Vehicles will then exit the parking lot on Caracas Avenue, closest to First United Methodist Church. Santa’s Drive-Thru will also feature festive pre-recorded holiday music, the DHA said.

“This year’s celebration will be a little different but it will be a wonderful way for families to keep this annual event as part of their holiday tradition,” said Susan Cort, Derry Township Supervisor and event co-chair. 

The event is being organized by The Downtown Hershey Association in cooperation with the Derry Township Parks & Recreation and Derry Township Police Department and sponsored in part by The Hershey Company. Holiday decorations will be donated by Davis Landscaping. 

“We are looking forward to providing a little holiday fun for families in our community,” said event co-chair Michelle Emerick. “We couldn’t imagine a holiday season in downtown Hershey without the arrival of Santa.” 

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