Holiday festivals follow pandemic protocols

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A number of holiday events have been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are a few you can still enjoy.

Inside the Embassy Theatre at 125 West Jefferson Boulevard, the Festival of Trees will take place from Wednesday, November 25 through Wednesday, December 6. This is the 36th year for the event. There are strict safety guidelines in place due to the pandemic. Masks are required and guests must practice social distancing. “We’re capping capacity at 100 which means we’re not going to have stage performances which we’re really sad about,” said Embassy Marketing Officer Carly Myers.

All of the trees will be located on the first floor only this year. Santa won’t be there in person, but he will offer virtual visits instead. “We are also adding days to the end of the event,” said Myers. “We were supposed to end on December 2 now we’re taking it through the 6. We also have one way traffic patterns this year.”

Those who can’t make it out in person to do a little tree gazing, can purchase a virtual ticket. They’re on sale now. The online tour will be available for viewing December 3 through January 1. Click here for ticket information.

A new event that is still being recorded at the Embassy this year is the Virtual Holiday Spectacular. It will showcase various artists from around the area all performing holiday classics. Each performance was recorded separately and with detailed COVID-19 precautions to keep everyone involved safe.

Singing sensation Addison Agen, who rose to fame from the television show The Voice, will headline the event. The Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, The Fort Wayne Dance Collective, The Philharmonic Players Association and the Indianapolis Ballet are also some of the performers. WANE 15’s Terra Brantley will serve as the emcee.

Proceeds will go to the Artist Relief Fund, The Community Harvest Food Bank and to those directly involved in the show, many of whom lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “Our country is hurting and the holidays are not going to look the same for anybody,” said Andy Lott, Executive Producer of the Virtual Holiday Spectacular. ” So we wanted to get as many artists together to put on this concert and hopefully give people something familiar and give them access to it all over the country.”

Viewers can watch the show and help the cause by going to fwspectacular.com. The show can be seen Sunday, December 20 at 8 p.m.

As for one of the more tastier festivals, don’t forget about gingerbread. Since 1985, the Festival of gingerbread has become one of Fort Wayne’s most cherished holiday traditions, and one of downtown’s most popular events. Each year, local artists put their talents to the test and bake wonderful creations that are set up in the historic Shields Room at the Fort Wayne History Center at 302 Berry Street.

This year’s display will also follow COVID-19 safety precautions. It runs Friday, November 27 through Sunday, December 13. To accommodate as many people as possible, the History Center is launching its first-ever virtual gingerbread tour. For tickets, hours and other information click here to go to their website.

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