Canton continues with Victorian Christmas Festival but requires COVID-19 prevention policies

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CANTON, Miss. (WJTV) – The City of Canton is moving forward with hosting its 31st annual Victorian Christmas Celebration. But if you want to go the city plans to have Coronavirus prevention policies in place that must be followed.

All the decorations have lit up the Canton Town Square Friday evening, so despite the Grinch themed weather the holiday spirit is taking over downtown. But so could the threat of COVID-19 if people are not careful.

Officially opening at 5:00 p.m. several families and friends took a stroll around the Victorian Christmas Celebration to keep Christmas cheer higher than the stresses of 2020.

“I wanted to see the lights; it looks beautiful,” 4-Year-Old Maribelle Burns of Canton told us.

“I think that people are decorating a little earlier than we might have decorated at any other time,” Dana Jones who visited from Hattiesburg said. “Because we are trying to just add a little bit of cheer so it was nice to see places are still keeping the traditions that they keep each year and we’re not letting COVID ruin everything.”

But if you want to enjoy the festivities Canton Mayor William Truely Jr. laid out new policies, beginning at the gates requiring everyone to wear a mask to get in the town square.

“Once you enter the square, your mask must remain on,” Mayor Truly Jr. stated. “You cannot remove your mask; it must remain on except for the fact if you purchase food.”

If you forget to bring a mask, staff members at the gate will provide you with one. The entire festival is being held outdoors this year and everyone will have to use hand sanitizer before and after they get on rides.

“There will be no indoor activities, there will be no horse and carriage, all rides for public protection will be sanitized after each ride,” Mayor Truly Jr. added. “Hands will be sanitized before and after each ride.”

The crowd sizes were small making it easy to social distance the first night. But as we walked around the square no one was at the gates enforcing these new rules.

“We kind of didn’t expect to see anybody, I’m sure when the rides are open and stuff there would be people there,” Jones said. “I definitely wouldn’t fault the city for the fact that there wasn’t a bouncer at the gate I also would not have been bothered if there was somebody there saying hey ladies, we need you to put your mask on. I would have said ok I’m a rule follower.”

The fair rides and most food vendors did shut down because of the rainy weather but will reopen on Saturday. The Victorian Christmas Celebration will continue until Dec. 23.

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