Enchanted Forest in Saskatoon to continue tradition through COVID-19 pandemic

While the weather in Saskatoon might be frightful, people can still enjoy a drive-thru at the Enchanted Forest this holiday season that is delightful. File / Global News

The Enchanted Forest will proceed to shine through uncertain times during its 22nd season.

Spokesperson Hugh Vassos said on Wednesday that organizers are really happy to be continuing the tradition of the drive-thru holiday light tour in Saskatoon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus: 2020 CP Holiday Train cancelled, to be replaced by virtual benefit concert

“We’re expecting that people have been cooped up for a long time. We know that there are a lot of people who will be excited about the possibility of getting out to something, some special event, and we’re providing that opportunity,” Vassos said.

“We’ve averaged between 75,000 and 80,000 visitors over the last few years … We think we’re going to equal those marks for sure and possibly pass [them].”
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Organizers previously announced the cancellation of two walking events scheduled for Nov. 20 and 21 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“In the interest of safety and following COVID protocol, we did make the decision, which was a difficult one, to cancel the light walk,” Vassos said.

“We want this to be a safe event and we just felt so with our sponsors that we’re better off to not run a light walk this year and let’s bring it back next year, hopefully, when things are better for us and for everyone.”

Read more: Saskatchewan brings in province-wide mask mandate, limits gatherings to 5

Despite the cancellation of the on-foot events, the Enchanted Forest is expected to keep on rolling.

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“Since it’s a drive-thru event, everybody can continue to enjoy the light show from the comfort and safety of their own vehicles,” Vassos said.

“We’ve crossed all the t’s and dotted the i’s to make sure that we are presenting a safe show.”

Commonly with every new season, there’ll be a brand new display — this year it’s called the “Tunnel of Lights Tribute.”

“It is set to pay tribute, to honour those essential service providers that are doing their great, great work trying to keep everyone safe (through the pandemic),” Vassos said.

“We’re very proud of the forest … it should be a great show and we’re looking forward to it.” 

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According to organizers, it’s one of Canada’s longest-running Christmas light shows and has raised more than  $4,300,000.

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“The proceeds for the event go to the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation and the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation — partners in this event for the past 22 years,” Vassos said.

“So (it) goes to a good cause and, hopefully, there’s a fair amount of money that will be divided by those two organizations and worthwhile projects that they’re endeavouring to carry out.”

The Enchanted Forest, presented by BHP Billiton, is scheduled to take place Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, to Jan. 8, 2021, at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park. Gates are set to open from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Admission is $10 per person or $35 per vehicle, however, discounted passes are being sold at participating stores.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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