Thursday, 19 November 2020 18:08

Rockingham, other towns cancel tree-lighting ceremonies

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ROCKINGHAM — Yet another holiday tradition has fallen victim to the coronavirus.


City Events Coordinator Kim Williams announced Thursday that Rockingham is cancelling its annual tree-lighting ceremony for 2020.

“In doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city of Rockingham will not have a tree-lighting ceremony on Cole Plaza this year,” Williams said in an email. “The tree will be lit with all the other Christmas lights and decorations downtown on Wednesday, November 25. We hope you all stay safe and healthy this holiday season.”

The event usually draws a crowd of at least 100 Rockingham and other Richmond County residents to watch the large tree light up and features Christmas songs from local elementary school students.

Rockingham has canceled every city-sponsored event since the pandemic began, including the entire installment of the Plaza Jam summer concert series and its Trunk or Treat at Browder Park.

In addition, the Veterans Day Parade, Hamlet Christmas Parade and Seaboard Festival were also canceled.

The Hamlet City council mentioned plans in October to hold its tree-lighting ceremony virtually.

Ellerbe town leaders decided at their November meeting to cancel the annual Hometown Christmas celebration, Mayor Fred Cloninger said, but, he added, the town is still planning to put up a tree and decorations.

Likewise, Mayor Antonio Blue said the Dobbins Heights tree-lighting event would be canceled, although a lit tree will be on display in the town.

Norman Mayor Tonia Collins said her town plans on hanging lights, but is not planning a tree-lighting.

Hoffman Mayor Tommy Hart could not be reached in time for this story.