Holiday plans amid COVID


By Jim Poole

Plans moved ahead for a holiday celebration at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds, and while it’s not very Christmasy, COVID was a central topic at Thursday’s meeting.
Gathering at the Fairgrounds, the committee for A December to Remember agreed that safe practices would be essential for the December 5 event.
The celebration includes a parade that starts and ends at the Fairgrounds, vendors, music, carolers, a Christmas village, carriage rides, crafts and more.
But recognizing that some fall events––and even holiday events––have been cancelled by the pandemic, the committee sought safety policies.
“I think we have to think COVID and make COVID safety a top concern,” said Anna Marie Collins, committee chair.
She said the committee should develop a virus plan, and committee member Bruce Wright recommended that the plan be submitted to the Health Department in September or October.
Even though there’s no telling what the pandemic would be like in December––or even next week––Ms. Collins suggested that masks be mandated and hand sanitizer be “available everywhere.”
A monitor at each activity, such as caroling or a reading of “The Night before Christmas,” should make sure all spectators have masks and use sanitizer, Ms. Collins said.
Committee members doubted that kids would be allowed to sit on Santa’s lap; Mr. Claus may do something like a drive-by in a sleigh.
In other planning developments last Thursday, the committee decided to scrap the fireworks idea as too expensive and replace them with a bonfire.
“A bonfire will keep people here longer,” said Cobleskill Mayor Becky Terk. “Fireworks are over in 20 minutes.”
The committee chose to go with many smaller Christmas trees rather than one large one for a tree-lighting.
Concerns about stabilizing a large tree and making it safe led to the small-tree theme.
Ms. Collins suggested that organizations and church congregations could decorate the trees, which may be donated afterwards.
Mr. Wright said the sheds for the Christmas village should be near the Fairgrounds entrance and that parking should be behind the grandstand.
The parade would enter the Fairgrounds from East McArthur Avenue and probably march around the outside of the track.
As for funding for A December to Remember, Ms. Collins and committee member Anne Rogan will seek corporate sponsors.