Grand Strand events will go on, bring holiday cheer despite pandemic

Holiday events still taking place along Grand Strand despite COVID-19

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The lights are strung, the tree is decorated and the hand-washing stations are put in place.

Christmas 2020 style has come to The Market Common, just in time for Santa’s arrival Saturday night.

“Santa will arrive on the big red bus at 6 p.m. and light the tree at 6:15 p.m.,” said the market coordinator for The Market Common, Caitlen Buffkin.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce granted approval for the annual tree lighting ceremony to host more than 250 people Saturday night. But Buffkin said they’re planning a more laid back event.

“In years past we’ve had a much larger event with complimentary photos with Santa and kids games and train rides and all of that but we just felt that a scaled-back event would be more down home,” she added.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring your mask and a chair to social distance and listen to music while kicking off the holiday season.

Up the road in North Myrtle Beach, Main Street is decked out with decor. But the parade and tree lighting won’t be taking place.

“Tight quarters - no way to really control it for masking and social distancing,” said North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling.

But at the North Myrtle Beach Parks and Sports Complex, the Great Christmas Lights Show starts on Monday. It’s a drive-thru light show featuring over two million holiday lights.

“And it’s largely a car event. They travel through the two miles of lights in their cars most of them then leave, most of them are family units,” Dowling said.

Back in Myrtle Beach, Buffkin said she knows the event will look different this year. But she said the way Christmas feels is what’s most important.

“We’re excited to be able to help with that and still have our holiday tradition and even though so many things are different we can keep a little the same,” Buffkin said.

The tree lighting event in Conway also won’t take place this year, but the tree will still be put up.

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