covid-19 Christmas

Lincoln City’s small-town celebration gets a little smaller

COVID has put the kibosh on ornament crafts and the popular reindeer room, but the community still has plans to mark the holidays

Niki Price and the crew at the Lincoln City Cultural Center were all ready for this year’s ninth annual Christmas tree lighting. It would be different, of course, social distancing and all, but it was doable. Then last week, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called for the two-week freeze aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, and for a time it wasn’t clear if there would be even be a tree lighting.

The tradition began in 2012, one year after Price became executive director of the center. There had been other tree lightings in other neighborhoods, but they weren’t consistent. Price noted the center had everything necessary — a location in the middle of town, a lawn, the facilities — to create a tradition. Off she went into the community to seek some help, and she found it.

Belle Kea has a heart-to-heart with Santa during last year’s holiday celebration at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center
Belle Kea has a heart-to-heart with Santa during last year’s holiday celebration at the Lincoln City Cultural Center. This year, the center will collect letters to Santa instead of hosting visits with the jolly old elf. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center

Price said the Delake School, home of the cultural center, has been part of the community since 1929, before U.S. 101 was built. “It’s always been a place where people gather, and we wanted to continue with that tradition. I talked with friends at the fire department, Kenny’s IGA, etc., hoping to get it accomplished inexpensively. The key is always Pacific Power — without them, we wouldn’t have the equipment to erect a big tree.”

This is not the first time fate delivered the cultural center a bucket of coal. Nor the first time Price was called on to improvise at the last minute.

There was the fire-not-fire of 2015.

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