FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Downtown Fayetteville will soon light up for the holiday season. Every year, families make their way to the square for some holiday cheers and to see all of the lights brighten the area. This year there will be some safety changes and families will be able to enjoy the official lighting ceremony behind a screen.
For weeks the Fayetteville Parks and Rec. crews worked to decorate the downtown square with over 400,000 colorful lights.
Friday at 6 p.m. the square will come to life as Mayor Lioneld Jordan flips the switch.
CEO of Experience Fayetteville, Molly Rawn said they will live stream the lighting ceremony and Saturday is the official kickoff of the festivities where you will see vendors at the square.
“Our hope is this year that Lights of the Ozarks is able to bring a little joy to people in a year that has been challenging and that has been difficult for almost everybody in the community. I do hope that people are able to enjoy the lights and do so safely.”
The festivities take place outside, face coverings are required and there will be social distancing markers throughout the square to remind people to keep 6 feet away from other groups. She said all of these measures combined will drastically reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Friday and Saturday nights are our most popular on the square. We certainly understand why but I want to remind everyone that the lights are one from 5 p.m. and on seven days a week. So it’s great to consider this year coming out on a Monday or Tuesday and having that experience when it’s not so crowded,” said Rawn.
She also recommends coming in smaller groups.
Visitors can expect to see fewer vendors than usual to leave room for social distancing.
The parade, ponies, horse and carriage rides will not take place this year out of extreme precautions but Rawn said there will still be plenty of hot cocoa, kettle corn, festive music and of course the winter wonderland of lights for families to enjoy.
The Lights of the Ozarks runs from November 20 to January 1st. The lights will be on seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Rawn reminds people coming out to not forget about the small businesses in the square hit hard during this pandemic. “If you’re down here show them some love and support this holiday season.”
Rawn said although there will be some differences, the Lights of the Ozarks is a safe way to create some memories with loved ones this holiday season.