It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 2020 — one year later — in Fort Worth's Sundance Square.
Although the world is clamoring to get back to normal, officials at the downtown Fort Worth entertainment district are building holiday plans around the fact that we're still in a pandemic, and that includes Santa, too. While the grand Christmas tree will go up in Sundance Square Plaza this season, St. Nick is skipping his visit from the North Pole for another year.
"Due to the Tarrant County Public Health Department’s rating of COVID-19 spread currently being at the HIGHEST TRANSMISSION Level — Santa will not be here this year to protect both our kids, Santa and community," says Sundance Square spokesman Bryan Eppstein by email.
A 55-foot Norway Spruce Christmas Tree will be be decorated and lighted in Sundance Square Plaza by Sunday, November 21 — the same day as the GM Financial Parade of Lights — but there will be no tree lighting ceremony, Eppstein says. The tree will stay up through January 5.
In pre-corona times, Sundance Square has made a big deal of the delivery of the tree, inviting local dignitaries and media for its official "standing up." Not this year.
"Due to safety reasons, we are not publicizing the specific date(s) the tree will be set up — lots of cranes, trucks, and big equipment involved," Eppstein says.
Sundance Square will continue its live weekend music series, held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening since June. These will continue through the year’s end with a holiday theme post-Thanksgiving, Eppstein says.
But there'll be no frolicking in the fountains.
"They are indefinitely closed for 'splash' activities due to public health reasons," Eppstein says.
Public health officials say the only way out of this COVID slog is for enough of the public to get vaccinated, and those who need them can get them at a free and quick vaccination clinic every Friday (11 am to 7 pm). They offer all three vaccines — including boosters for adults and vaccinations for kids 5 years of age and older.
Parking in select downtown garages is free on weeknights and weekends including at the Sundance Square Garage at 345 W. Third St. More information about parking is here.