Lights of the Ozarks parade canceled, annual lighting ceremony goes virtual

File photo

The Lights of the Ozarks parade scheduled for Friday, Nov. 20 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials with Experience Fayetteville.

The hanging of holiday lights on the downtown square will still occur, but a virtual lighting ceremony is planned instead of the annual in-person event.

Carriage rides, pony rides and pictures with Santa will not take place this year, but letters to Santa are encouraged and can be dropped off in the Santa mailbox in front of the Experience Fayetteville Visitors Center.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Experience Fayetteville CEO Molly Rawn said. “Our primary concern is always public health and safety, and we have to do what’s best for our community. I’m encouraged by the work our team is doing to make this a cheerful and safe event moving forward.”

Experience Fayetteville is preparing ways to offer socially distant programming throughout the season, including reducing the number of food and beverage vendors around the square.

Each year, Fayetteville Parks and Recreation crews spend more than 3,300 hours decorating the square with holiday lights. The display consists of more than 400,000 lights and can be enjoyed nightly through Dec. 31.