Santa Claus Not Coming To Town

In this file photo from December 2018, Santa Claus and Norah LaValley meet in the Darling Inn during the Santa Claus Comes to Lyndonville celebration. The event has been canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. (File Photo by Stephen Garfield)

Santa’s worldwide travel plans for Christmas Eve are a go, but he won’t be making his annual early December visit to the Darling Inn in Lyndonville.

The Lyndon Area Chamber of Commerce was forced to cancel the Santa Comes to Lyndon event because of concerns and restrictions related to COVID-19.

“We don’t ever like to disappoint the community as far as [canceling] traditions that we’ve had, but we have to go along with the state guidance and keep everybody safe,” said Cheryl McMahon, chamber secretary. The chamber also had to cancel its annual downtown Trunk or Treat Halloween celebration because of the coronavirus.

McMahon said bringing big crowds of people together for any event can’t happen these days. “It just doesn’t seem like this is going to be the year to be able to set up and do things the way we’ve always done,” she said.

During a meeting held by Chamber officials via online video conference on Tuesday, McMahon mentioned the Snowflake Festival, a significant wintertime celebration held in February, but officials couldn’t bring themselves to consider the fate of that event just yet.

Santa’s usual trip to Lyndonville is a happy holiday celebration that involves activities at the Cobleigh Library, horse-drawn wagon rides, the North Pole Express Train, and the arrival of Santa Claus, who receives children in the Darling Inn.

McMahon said the crowd Santa draws to the Darling Inn is too big to allow during a pandemic.

Serving as Santa for more than a decade at the Lyndonville event, Bob Bigelow said the line of children waiting to meet him is normally through the building, out the door, and down the sidewalk. His trip to the Inn has been extra special in recent years as he has arrived in a fire truck driven by his son, Lyndonville Fire Dept. Capt. Dan Bigelow.

“That’s a thrill for me right there, to get out on Main Street with my son driving the rig,” said Bigelow.

He said he is disappointed that he can’t make his yearly trip to the Lyndonville event.

“We’ve shut down the world, but you’ve got to live with what the COVID does,” he said. “I will miss the opportunity this year.”

McMahon said the chamber events are important, appreciated, and they’ll be back.

“Our whole thinking is that we will bring the events back as soon as we possibly can,” she said.


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