Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival canceled this year, but lights will still shine

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. — The annual Christmas Lighting Festival that draws visitors over the mountains every year was postponed for 2020, but the lights will still shine.

Each year more than 500,000 Christmas lights transform the town for the holiday season.

The main difference this year will be the lack of the weekend lighting ceremony and countdown at 4:45 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, including the holiday character welcome that kicks off the ceremony.

Ceremonies were canceled to help decrease the number of people in the downtown area, which draws tens of thousands of people every year. Lowering the density of people in the downtown core is important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the lights that transform the Bavarian village into a winter wonderland will be turned on Thanksgiving Day and remain on through Valentine's Day.

For those who cannot come to the Leavenworth to see the lights in person, the lights will be delivered virtually.

"Our hope is that this will encourage visitors to enjoy Leavenworth and the Village of Lights display throughout the week and the season, and online as opposed to drawing large groups together around festival events on those few weekends," said Troy Campbell, executive director of the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.

Other festival activities canceled for 2020 including strolling carolers, chestnut roasting, live entertainment at the gazebo, the traditional Gluhwein tent, and the yearly children's Cookie Crawl.

Front Street -- the main street in downtown Leavenworth -- has been closed to vehicle traffic since July to allow for additional social distancing. Masks and sanitizing stations are also being made available throughout downtown.

To find out more about Leavenworth and the Village of Lights, please visit www.leavenworth.org