A Williams Lake organization is hoping to spread some Christmas cheer by hosting an outdoor winter wonderland in the city’s downtown.
When the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District (BGCWLD) learned Signal Point Gaming’s annual Festival of Trees could not go ahead, staff began planning a similar alternative with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
“We hope to see 75 to 100 trees to create a bright and beautiful forest,” said executive director Deana Conde Garza.
The outside area will host real or artificial trees decorated by families, organizations, businesses and groups — and a few trees will be provided if needed.
“Already we have heard from the chamber and Interior Health Authority wanting to participate,” said Conde Garza, adding some people have said they are inspired to put trees up outside their workplaces as well.
Anyone wanting to add a tree is asked to register on the BGCWLD website through the contact form to receive an appointment time to bring a tree in and decorate it between Dec. 1 and Dec. 14, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On Dec. 15, the trees will be lit up and the lights will be on Mondays to Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Then on Friday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 19, from noon to 8 p.m., the area will be opened up for people to walk through one household at a time.
“We will have a pathway with straw bales and some North Pole decorations, ” Conde Garza said, noting the walk through will also be wheelchair accessible.
Included will be a Santa Claus made of plywood people can use in their photographs.
“We just want the families to come through on their own, someone will be here to make sure they are only one family in the cage at a time that is all,” Conde Garza said.
Families visiting the area will be asked to wait from a distance or remain in their cars until they see the family inside the area leave.
Conde Garza said they are asking anyone who wishes to enjoy the walk to be respectful of COVID-19 restrictions and wear masks.
There won’t be a charge to go through the tree forest, but donations to the youth food bank are encouraged.
For Christmas Eve and Day the lights will be turned on continuously, she said.
Members of the public can vote for the trees and the winners of the most votes, brightest or most unique will be announced on New Year’s Eve.
Votes can be cast on the BGCWLD website or through its Facebook messenger.
Youth and children’s stocking drive
Donations are also accepted to fill stockings for youth with oranges, candies and small items.
There will also be a take-out Christmas dinner for youth on Saturday, Dec. 16 with plates of a turkey dinner prepared by the staff.
In the morning of Dec. 21, 22 and 23, staff will also be cooking and serving breakfast from the club.
Letters to Santa
With the inability for locals to talk with Santa Claus in person this year, the club is also committed to receiving letters addressed to the jolly elf.
“They can drop the letters in our North Pole mailbox and expect a reply,” Conde Garza said.