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Langley Christmas lights event delayed but undeterred by COVID-19

The popular Glow Gardens event in Langley has been delayed, but organizers are holding out hope it can still eventually go ahead. Glow Gardens

Construction and preparations are continuing apace at the site of a popular Fraser Valley Christmas lights experience, despite a provincial order shuttering all events due to COVID-19.

Daryl Driegen, director of operations for Glow Gardens in Langley, B.C., said the event had initially hoped it would be exempted from the regulations because it is a 100 per cent contactless drive-thru experience.

The event was originally slated to kick off on Thursday.

Read more: Festival of Lights, Christmas train: B.C. events suspended until Dec. 7 under COVID-19 order

But Fraser Health says under the provincial health officer’s order, drive-thru events are considered equivalent to drive-in events, and the organizers have been advised they must put their event on hold until at least December 7.

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“We’re still building, as you can see behind me, everything is still being put up this event is not going to not happen,” Driegen said.

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“Whether it ends up having to be a week, two weeks or more we’re going to continue to prepare.”

Click to play video 'Impact on organizers after major holiday events suspended in B.C.' Impact on organizers after major holiday events suspended in B.C.
Impact on organizers after major holiday events suspended in B.C – Nov 23, 2020

Driegen said he understands the tough choices that provincial health officials are faced with, but said pivoting with little notice has been difficult for businesses.

But he doesn’t understand how a drive-thru event with families enclosed in their vehicles is any different from driving down the street, he said.

READ MORE: Vancouver holiday events face uncertainty amid new COVID-19 restrictions

Despite the setback, he’s hoping the event can proceed and add a little holiday cheer into an otherwise dreary year.

“I think a lot of us have looked at a lot of dark days and a lot of uncertainty, and Christmas is something every kid, every person looks forward to all year round,” he said.

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“Especially kids. It’s important to us to make sure that magic is still there for the kids, that it doesn’t feel like a skip year.”