In lieu of traditional ‘Santa Comes to Town’ event, Orange Merchants Group organizing QR code tour

  • Caden Nutter, then 5, poses for a photo with Santa during the annual “Santa Comes to Orange” event, also called “Santa in the Park,” at Memorial Park in 2019. In light of the pandemic, this year, people are invited on a driving tour of Orange, where 12 spots have been designated for QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone camera app to reveal YouTube links of Santa Claus reading parts of “The Night Before Christmas.” Santa will also be at a socially distanced, drive-thru-style event at the Orange Municipal Airport on Friday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The White Cloud Diner at 627 East River St. in Orange, across the street from the Orange Municipal Airport, is slated to be the final stop on a driving tour of Orange, where 12 spots have been designated for QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone camera app to reveal YouTube links of Santa Claus reading parts of “The Night Before Christmas.” The diner will also be the site of a special mailbox for children to drop off letters to Santa. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • As part of the “Santa Comes to Town” event this year, people are invited to don masks and drive the route of a 12-stop adventure throughout Orange, where special QR codes will be left for people to scan with a smartphone camera app to reveal YouTube links of Santa Claus reading parts of “The Night Before Christmas.” STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/25/2020 4:28:22 PM

ORANGE — ’Twas the month leading up to Christmas, and all through the town

COVID-19 was making folks frown;

But some business owners said, ‘What could we do?’

And had thought it’d be fun to incorporate YouTube.

Members of the Orange Merchants Group brainstormed ways to maintain Yuletide cheer in light of significant changes to the annual “Santa Comes to Orange” event, which will look different this year to adhere to safety protocols aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. People are invited to don masks and drive the route of a 12-stop adventure throughout Orange, where QR codes will be left for people to scan with a smartphone camera app to reveal YouTube links of Santa Claus reading parts of “The Night Before Christmas.”

The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, though people are welcome anytime between then and Christmas Eve. Blue Rock Dog Training at 525 Athol Road will be the first stop and the route will end at the White Cloud Diner at 627 East River St., where there will be a special mailbox for children to drop off letters to Santa.

“It’s meant to get people ... out of their houses, but it also gets them around town to see where the businesses are out there,” said Nicole Wetherby, a freelance graphic designer and Orange Merchants Group member, who was tasked with editing the Santa videos.

Additionally, Santa will be at a socially distanced drive-thru event at the Orange Municipal Airport, across from the diner, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday.

The Orange Merchants Group typically holds “Santa Comes to Orange,” also called “Santa in the Park,” around Thanksgiving in Memorial Park. A tradition in the town since at least the 1940s, it is an opportunity for youngsters to meet Kris Kringle. In 2019, he arrived in a firetruck.

In light of the pandemic, Faith Hamberg, owner of Focused Moments Photography and a member of the merchants group, said she thought up this year’s QR code tour idea and was encouraged to bring it to fruition.

“I love Christmas. I’ve always loved Christmas,” she said. “It was actually brought up not to have Santa at all, and we knew we couldn’t do that.”

When it was pointed out to Wetherby that there are 12 stops on the QR code tour and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is one of the most famous Christmas carols, she said that is likely just a coincidence.

“It is fun. I can’t wait for everybody to see these videos. I think it came out really good,” she said. “I can’t wait for the kids to see them.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy