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Pandemic forces holiday lights events to adjust, but many are still happening with COVID restrictions



PLANO, TX — Holiday light events throughout North Texas will see some adjustments this year to allow for social distancing.

“People are just looking to connect. People are missing that social connection,” said Gary Sobolewski who is the President of the Deerfield Homeowners Association.

The Deerfield community in Plano has done holiday lights since 1987, and even the pandemic can’t stop that. Drive-thru holiday light events will be a major draw this season, as seen by the long lines at a Lights at Legacy event Sunday where residents commented on social media that they waited up to two-and-a-half hours to see the lights.

WFAA reached out to the Shops at Legacy for comment but our messages were not returned. Plano police said they were prepared for a big crowd, but nothing like the numbers that showed up on Sunday.

Sobolewski says he has a gut feeling that the grassroots Plano neighborhood will have even higher numbers when the drive-thrus start in early December.

“People are going to be looking for things to do with their immediate family that are safe,” he said.

Many of the neighborhood holiday light events have adjusted in the pandemic. Sundance Square in Fort Worth canceled its tree lighting and parade. Vitruvian Park in Addison canceled its weekend events, but walk-throughs can still happen with self-guided, socially distant rules. Interlochen Lights in Arlington has been downsized to one week, according to the Arlington Police Department.

“In the interest of everyone’s safety that while we’ll decorate the clubhouse and light the tree there won’t be any activities, the clubhouse won’t be open, etc.,” Sobolewski said about the Deerfield event. Sobolewski says there will be extra security as always and traffic patterns will be laid out to help drivers navigate the Plano neighborhood.

In a nutshell, most all of the drive-thrus and walk-throughs are still happening across North Texas, but the gatherings are not. Many of these holiday events will be forgoing lighting events and concerts this holiday season, but the lights themselves are a bright spot during a tough year.