Yes, Woodstock, Santa Claus is coming to town.
At least that’s the plan for now. As of December 21, the Woodstock arrival of the old gent at around 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve is still on as scheduled. If that changes, we’ll let you know online at hudsonvalleyone.com.
“It’s a day-by-day thing,” said Deputy Town Clerk Lynn Sehwerert, who has been involved with organizing Santa’s arrival for many years.
With the COVID-19 infection rate on the rise in Ulster County amid fears of the Omicron variant and Delta still going strong, there’s a looming possibility county or state officials may ban mass gatherings.
But Christmas Eve Committee volunteers and Santa’s elves are making preparations as if his arrival will happen as planned. Kris Kringle did not make his usual grand entrance on the Village Green last year amid concerns of COVID spreading.
“We’re asking people to please wear masks. We’ll be having a lot of people help with crowd control,” said Sehwerert. “We’re trying to make it safe for everybody,” said Sehwerert of mitigation steps. “We don’t want an outbreak because of Christmas Eve.”
Instead of having children wait on line for Santa to hand them a stocking full of goodies, volunteers will hand them out, she said. But kids can come up and see Santa on the steps.
Thanks to security rivaling that of three-letter government agencies, those involved are mum on exactly how Santa plans to arrive or any details. The only things that are clear is the choir begins around 4 p.m. The streets around the Village Green close sometime after 5 p.m. after waiting for the Trailways buses, usually one in each direction.
The parade and Santa’s arrival is around 5:30 p.m. regardless of weather. After all, the Jolly Ol’ Elf has a busy night ahead of him.
Regardless of what may happen on the Green, the Christmas Eve Committee volunteers will continue their 80-plus year tradition of delivering cheer baskets and dinners to those who are homebound or have no local family. This year, they are only going to deliver items if they know the recipient will be home, so most have been contacted.
For more information, or to suggest a cheer or dinner basket recipient, contact Sehwerert in the Town Clerk’s office, 845-679-2113, ext. 14. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Christmas Eve Program through Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, 85 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock.