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The SNOW goes on: Stillwater holiday festivities continue on amid pandemic

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Family and friends of the Stillwater community join together in downtown Stillwater in order to watch the Stillwater's Parade of lights on December, 6 2018.

The global pandemic won’t stop the holidays from coming to Stillwater.

Events will look different this year due to COVID-19, although the merry spirit will still be in the air. The city is altering some events in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Although some events have been canceled, the events still planned by the city this holiday season can be found on their website, VisitStillwater.org.

The Stillwater Parade of Lights opened the festivities weeks ago. Merry Main Street, a show of over 150,000 lights set to music, is a traditional Stillwater event which has also returned, running now through Jan. 10. The show this year will span from 4th Street,beyond the roundabout, to 14th Street, instead of being in the geometric domes that were unveiled this past year. The change was made in order to still be able to safely social distance.

Although the event will not feature the usual light show inside the domes this year, there will be vendors set up inside them, including Iron Monk, Twisted Horn Boutique, Honey & Co., Oklahoma State University Store, Bella Marie’s, Hey Sister Boutique, Wild Honey Wedding and more. Vendors vary depending on the weekend. 

“I am glad that Merry Main Street is still going on this year,” said Trevor Gum, a Stillwater native. “My family has always enjoyed it.”

Another event that might help with Christmas shopping is the Holiday Craft Show at Payne County Expo Center, set for Dec. 5. This event features festive holiday shopping geared toward unique gifts from over 120 booths. 

Holiday Pop Up Shops is another holiday shopping attraction, one that is usually held inside, but has been moved outside to ensure social distancing. The Holiday Pop Up Shops appear at the Prairie Arts Center only on Dec. 5. There will be on-site hot chocolate and treats, along with 20 local artists from all media types.

Laura Connor, a Stillwater native and mother, said she looks forward to these shopping and holiday shows.

“They are so nice to get last-minute presents for family and friends,” Connor said. “They can also help if you’re looking for Dirty Santa gifts, or just gifts in general that nobody else is going to have.”

The last event listed on the Stillwater tourism website is hosted by the McKnight Center on OSU’s campus. The center has held multiple movie nights both indoors and outdoors recently for students and Stillwater residents.

The movies are now inside due to the colder temperatures. “Elf” will be featured at 3 p.m. Dec. 5. The following week, on Dec. 13, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be shown at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 and are limited, with social distancing in place. Tickets can be purchased in pods of one, two, three, or four seats. The larger seating pods are only for families and groups who have been sheltering together. At every event masks will be required.

For students seeking a special meal for Thanksgiving, The Ranchers Club will be open and accepting meal plans to go, either to take home to family, or to enjoy locally.

“I got the Thanksgiving meal last year and took it back home so I could help contribute to our Thanksgiving dinner and my family loved it,” OSU student Chloe Walton said.

The pandemic may have taken multiple events away from the OSU campus and the community of Stillwater, but it is clear that it will not be taking away the holiday spirit. 

“I am most looking forward to Merry Main Street,” said OSU student Madison Evans. “I have not been before, but I do think it would be a fun activity to attend with my friends and sorority sisters this holiday season.”

news.ed@ocolly.com