Due to rising infection numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Santa’s Sleigh Ride and “Lights Up” gathering in downtown Bowling Green will look a lot different this holiday season.

There will be no “Lights Up” gathering to watch the Christmas lights come on, and bystanders will be asked to stay in their cars along the sleigh ride route to see Santa Claus.

Also, there will be no event after the sleigh ride this year where families can meet Santa.

The Downtown Redevelopment Authority and city of Bowling Green said these changes will be implemented in an effort to deter large crowds from gathering in the area.

“Everything we are doing this year is geared toward being a COVID-safe event,” city Public Information Officer Kim Lancaster said. “We are trying to still have Christmas spirit for the community while still being safe.”

Despite adjustments to the holiday events, plans are still laid out to provide a safe environment for the community.

Santa’s Sleigh Ride will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 as a police escort will lead Santa throughout the downtown area.

The caravan will travel up College Street starting at East Seventh Avenue and then turn left onto East 13th Avenue. It will then take a left down State Street and circle Fountain Square Park before continuing past Circus Square Park. The caravan will then go left onto East Sixth Avenue and cross College Street before ending at the SoKY Marketplace for more fun and drive-thru festivities. Lancaster said the ride will make “a couple of rounds” before ending.

Christmas lights at Fountain Square and Circus Square Park will be lit up and on display for the public to see as well.

Lancaster encouraged the community to drive around the downtown area that night to safely see the lights.

Tents and booths will be set up in front of City Hall on College Street where elected officials and city staff will give out holiday goody-bags to the public.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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