FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): COVID-19 won’t keep Christmas away if the organizers of the annual Christmas on Broadway event have anything to say about it.
Organizers Steve Shine and Tom Hardin say the 16th annual Christmas on Broadway celebration will take place on Friday, November 20th in front of the Shine & Hardin Law Offices at Broadway Plaza.
“Keeping Fort Wayne’s spirit bolstered and bright is why, this year, more than ever, ‘Christmas On Broadway’ will be a beacon of hope for our community,” a joint statement from the two says.
Unlike in previous years, however, social distancing guidelines mean that attendees are being asked not to gather at Broadway Plaza itself, but instead to line the sidewalks on both sides of Broadway from Creighton to Park from 5:30pm to 6:30pm on the night of the event.
“We are fortunate that there is a straight line of sight from Broadway and Creighton looking south to the Broadway Plaza, allowing all of the spectators to have a full view of the Christmas Tree and fireworks lighting all along the five-block route,” Shine said.
He adds that while initial approval for the event has tentatively been authorized by both the Fort Wayne Allen County Department of Health and the city’s Traffic Engineering department, final approval will be subject to any further public health directives.
“If the community spread of COVID-19 and the positivity rates increase, we will adapt our event to comply with all safety recommendations. We will be able to ‘pivot’ quite readily, given that this is an outdoor event. No matter what, the tree and the fireworks will be lit. Should the restrictions be lessened by the time of the event, however, we still will be asking attendees to engage in social distancing, wear a mask and, if anyone is not feeling well, they should not attend the event,” Shine said.
This year’s event is entitled “We Need a Little Christmas, Right This Very Minute,” and will feature a 40-foot Colorado Blue Spruce tree lit with 40,000 lights. Event sponsors include the Fort Wayne Komets, Lake City Bank, Sweetwater, Umi Fort Wayne, Prairie Farms, and Trinity English Lutheran Church.
This year’s tree lighting and fireworks display will be telecast live on ABC21, beginning at 5pm on November 20th.
WOWO’s annual Penny Pitch effort will have a presence at the event. More details will be released at a later date.