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Santa Clause will be practicing social distancing this year at Good Will Hose Company’s Christmas at the Playground, in Sunbury.

SUNBURY – The Christmas party normally hosted at this time of year had to be cancelled due to pandemic social distancing restrictions, but a group of firefighters hope they’ve found a new way to give back to the community.

  Good Will Hose Company presents the first annual Christmas at the Playground, this weekend at the company’s playground on Sixth and Line streets. Food vendors, craft vendors, music, a tree decorating contest, Santa Claus and more will turn the corner playground into a winter festival on Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  “We normally have a Christmas party in our building for the children,” said Shannon Hare, firefighter. “We’re trying to do something for the children amidst all the COVID restrictions this past year. We wanted to do something good for the kids in the community.”

  Along with craft and food vendors and a Christmas tree decorating contest, the festival will feature a DJ playing Christmas music and a small parade.

  “Santa Claus is coming on a firetruck on Friday to start the festival,” said Matthew Liddick, chairman of Christmas at the Playground. “It will be a very small parade. It will start at the Good Will Hose Company (on Reagan Street) and loop around to the playground so the kids can see Santa.”

  Kids can enjoy Breakfast with Santa on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., with eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and juice, all compliments of the fire company.

  “There’s no charge,” Hare said. “Kids can visit with Santa and talk to him and get a gift.”

  Liddick emphasized the need to wear a mask at the festival and encouraged people who feel comfortable to come out and enjoy the event, with proper social distance ng measures.

  “It’s kind of to get the people out a little bit to enjoy a Christmas festival,” he said. “If you feel comfortable, come out and see Santa Claus. Please keep your mask on.”

  With the food, vendors, contest and lights, organizers hope Christmas at the Playground will give the community a chance to enjoy the holidays while helping the fire company.

  “We’re just doing it to benefit the fire company and the volunteer firefighters,” Liddick said. “We’re trying to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.”

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