Can Low Turnout at Local Christmas Events during Covid Alter Future Events?

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Can Low Turnout at Local Christmas Events during Covid Alter Future Events?

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When the pandemic caused many local annual events to become canceled or adjust their presentation, I did not think of how it would affect the Christmas Holiday events in Virginia. The Norfolk Botanical Gardens, "Dominion Energy's Garden of Lights," has kicked off its holiday light display and events with a walkthrough known as the "Million Bulb Walk," tram rides, family events such as crafts, and readings of the Polar Express for over nine years. Due to local Covid-19 restrictions, many of these events are now canceled or offered with limited capacity. Generally, the week before Christmas until January 2 is reserved for drive-thru only. However, the garden has canceled the Million Bulb Walk and open the Garden of Lights as limited capacity tram rides or non-contact drive-thru only events. My family and I drove through the drive-thru event last month, and the garden was figuratively dead. Usually, traffic is backed up blocks away from residents anxious to get into the gardens, particularly on the weekends. Despite choosing a peak time on a Saturday, I only saw two vehicles. What usually is a 90 minute to 2-hour event was finished in less than 20 minutes. With so many events canceled and places shutting down permanently due to operation costs exceeding incoming cash, I have to wonder if low turn-out will forever alter the Garden of Lights. The NBG is a non-profit organization, and the Garden of Lights is one of their primary fundraising sources. An underwhelming turn-out could cause financial strain on the garden that could hinder future events.

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This item was submitted on December 9, 2020 by Angela Gates using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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