What local holiday events are happening this year?

Local News
BRIDGE STREET: Syracuse's "Home For The Holidays." 11-25-16

(WSYR-TV) — With the pandemic this year, a lot of events have been canceled, postponed, or switched to online only. How have your favorite holiday events been affected?


Macy’s Santa Claus

According to Macy’s, Santa Claus will not be greeting children at its New York City store this year due to the pandemic.

Usually, more than a quarter of a million people visit Macy’s in Manhattan, and the company said that it would be difficult for them to create a safe environment.

Santa Claus will appear at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will be virtual this year.


Santa Claus at Destiny USA

Destiny USA will be hosting Santa Claus this year, just not in the same fashion.

In coordination with Cherry Hill Programs, Santa arrived at Destiny USA on Nov. 27.

Guests are encouraged to plan their visit ahead of time and review the safety measures being taken based on guidance from the CDC. You can find more information on the guidance by clicking here.

You can make a reservation with Santa by clicking here.

Reservations are strongly encouraged with walk-up visits available as space allows throughout the day.

Social distancing and face masks will be required throughout the entire visit. There will also be enhanced cleaning between each visit.

It’s important to keep as much of the beloved holiday tradition alive, now, more than ever. We could all use a dose of Santa’s merry disposition, but we also have to evolve with the times and do it safely. We’ve been strategizing with Cherry Hill to accomplish that goal.

Destiny USA Director of Marketing Nikita Jankowski

Santa also had a special message for kids:

“Ho, ho, ho! I’m looking forward to seeing all of the good boys and girls in Syracuse this year! I know this will be a very different season for us all, but it will be a very special one because we all get to keep the magic of the season alive in a way that’s safe and memorable for everyone!

For more information on the Destiny USA and Pyramid Management Group protocols, click here.

Read below for Santa’s hours and Destiny USA’s holiday hours:


Clinton Square Ice Rink

The Clinton Square Ice Rink opened on Friday, Nov. 27.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 25, rink occupancy will not exceed nine skaters at one time. Advanced registration is required and admission payment for each skater will be required to be done by credit card only. Click here to register and pay.

Reservations will open on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 8 a.m. and will open one week in advance at 8 a.m. prior to each reservation. Walk-up admissions will not be allowed. All children ages 12 and under have to be accompanied with a parent or guardian.

Skating sessions will be available in hour and a half increments, starting at:

  • 11 a.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 3 p.m.
  • 5 p.m.
  • 7 p.m.

The facility will close between sessions for cleaning. The ice rink hours will be from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week until the end of the year. New hours will be posted for the 2021 dates.

Skate admission fees are as followed:

  • $5 for adults
  • $3 for those 12 and under
  • $3 for those 55 and older
  • Skate rental will be $5 per person

All social distancing guidelines mandated by the city, county and state must be followed. Masks must be worn at all times and gloves or mittens must be worn on the ice.

Building access will be limited to changing in and out of skates only. Concessions will not be sold and an outdoor bathroom will be available. Indoor storage lockers will be available for 50 cents per session.

Promotions or group discounts will not be available during the 2020-21 skating season. Coupons will also not be accepted.

For more information, click here or contact Joe Burns at jburns@syrgov.net.


Lights on the Lake

COVID-19 can’t take away Lights on the Lake. The annual holiday attraction kicked off on Nov. 16, with a few changes.

This year, there will be no walk-throughs of the human or dog kind, because that would be considered a mass gathering. Instead, Lights on the Lake will be opening on Monday, Nov. 16 for spectators to drive through.

The attraction will be open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 10.

This year, tickets must be purchased in advance online, and there will only be a limited number of tickets available each day. This is to limit contact, money handling, and help establish capacity limits.

New this year, Lights on the Lake is offering up a foam lightsaber for purchase online, which allows you to be part of the light show.

“We love when we can still do things… it offers some hope, and that’s where we are with this,” said Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. “We should be hopeful, we’re in the third quarter of this pandemic and we’re going to get through it.”

NewsChannel 9 spoke with Carrie Wojtaszek, chief operating officer with Galaxy Media, on Thursday to learn more about Lights on the Lake:


Gingerbread Gallery

The Gingerbread Gallery at the Erie Canal Museum is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

This year, the Gingerbread Gallery is being offered in-person and virtually.

For in-person, you have to follow the protocols that the museum already has in place. They are also requiring timed-entry tickets to be purchased ahead of time.

They will not allow any walk-in visitors. You can reserve tickets by going to their website or calling 315-471-0593 ahead of time.

The museum will be at 25% capacity and face coverings over the mouth and nose will be required for all visitors over the age of two.

Ticket prices are as followed:

  • $10 for adults
  • $7 for anyone 65-years-old or older
  • $4 for children (2 to 17)
  • Free for children under the age of two

Museum members will receive a Family Pass that will be good for up to six guests.

The Gingerbread Gallery will also be virtual for those who can’t join in on the fun in person.

The museum will create a video displaying all the entries, which will make the gallery accessible to everyone. There will be a small fee for the video.

“If for any reason, the Museum is required to shut down again during the run of the Gingerbread Gallery, we will continue offering the virtual experience.”


CANCELLED: Bright Nights at Utica Zoo

UPDATE: Due to several reasons, the Utica Zoo has decided to cancel the remaining Bright Nights at the Utica Zoo dates starting Thursday, Dec. 3.

In a press release, they said that the rise in local COVID-19 numbers has helped them make the decision to cancel the rest of the dates.

We are extremely disappointed that we are forced to make this decision. We were so pleased to see how much our visitors enjoyed opening weekend, so having to cancel the rest of the dates is really a decision that was not made lightly. We saw great success the first 3 nights, and in a year where we are down over $1 million in revenue, it’s devastating to all of us who have worked so hard to provide this much needed dose of holiday spirit to our community to not be able to continue. It really is a shame; with the support of all of our amazing donors, including presenting sponsors Theresa Flemma and Jason Topi at Baird, Bright Nights was positioned to be a huge success.

Visitor Experience and Marketing Manager Mark Simon

Despite this cancellation, the Utica Zoo will remain open during the day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. They will only be closed on Christmas Day.

The Utica Zoo Gift Shop will also be open.

All advance ticket purchasers will be contacted directly with more information.


Annual Festival of Trees in Auburn

The Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural & Country Museum’s annual Festival of Trees starts on Saturday, Nov. 14 and runs through Jan. 31, 2021.

They currently have 115 trees on display and will add more daily. This event has free admission and parking.

They also have a miniature circus, toy trains, dollhouses, miniature buildings and a kids’ play area.

The museum is decorated inside and out for the holiday season. The museum is over 18,000 square feet and will allow for social distancing.

They will require that masks are worn at all times and that social distancing is practiced. Visitors will also need to check in and have their temperatures checked.

The event is open on weekdays from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. It is also open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The museum is located on 6880 East Lake Road, Route 38 A, in Auburn. For more information on the event, call 315-252-7466.

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