Winterland In Wilkesboro, a holiday event with children’s activities, Santa Claus and longer retail business hours, is from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in the downtown area.

It’s presented by Cohn Enterprises Inc., with Seth and Grayson Cohn, who own and operate Dooley’s, TwoBoros Brewery and Wilkes Shaved Ice, and Mark Cook of Cooks Sports and Outfitters, as co-sponsors.

“This is should be a joyous time of year for everyone, especially the children, and with the pandemic on everyone’s minds this season, this will be a great way to enjoy the season safely,” said Dr. R. Ernest Cohn, who owns and operates Cohn Enterprises Inc.

“We intend to bring some smiles and joy back and show off our town,” said Cohn, who has done much of the restoration of historic buildings in downtown Wilkesboro. Seth and Grayson Cohn are his sons.

All activities are free and downtown Wilkesboro merchants will be open until 7 p.m. that day. Cohn said there are plans to have fire trucks and other emergency vehicles on display.

Seth Cohn said there will be games and other activities for children, all spread out well to allow social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions. He said there will be a scavenger hunt for children in the downtown area.

Cook said he wants everyone to come enjoy the day and as part of the downtown merchants’ association, “we will be giving away hundreds of gift bags to the children and each family can enter the downtown scavenger hunt to win one of 200 custom made Teddy Bears.” A “Nintendo Switch” will be given as a grand prize at the end.

Parents of children wanting to see Santa can get tickets for this at the event. To avoid having people standing near each other in line, each parent with a ticket will receive a text when it is his or her child’s turn to visit Santa and have a photo made.

The Wilkes Heritage Museum’s annual Christmas Open House, also with COVID-19 precautions, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day. There is no admission charge for the open house, but donations will be accepted. Cookies and Christmas cards kits will be available then.

Museum Director Jennifer Furr said, “We want everyone to come and enjoy the Wilkes Heritage Museum as we celebrate the Christmas season. Patrons of the museum are asked to wear face masks and maintain social distancing while touring our historic buildings.”

Wilkesboro government officials, like those in other communities, scaled back holiday activities because of COVID-19. The town’s Christmas in the Commons was scheduled in the downtown on Dec. 5 but was canceled due to the virus.

Downtown is again adorned with holiday lights and other decorations. Bathrooms, sanitation stations and more will be provided for Winterland in Wilkesboro.

Cohn said people with immediate health concerns should use appropriate caution, but the event’s large outside area should help make it a great day. Dec. 12 is planned as the rain date.

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