Milan kicks off holidays with virtual Christmas tree lighting

MILAN, Tenn. — A West Tennessee town lights up with the Christmas spirit.

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With everything we’ve experienced in 2020, it may seem like COVID-19 is the Grinch, but people in Milan didn’t let that stop them from kicking off the holiday season.

“We had a special guest, and our special guest was… Mr. Santa Claus!” Milan Mayor B.W. Beasley exclaimed.

Santa made a stop in West Tennessee as Milan city officials got into the Christmas spirit by lighting the tree downtown.

It’s a yearly tradition, but like many, modified because of the pandemic.

“We wanted to be COVID-19 safe tonight, so we decided to take that virtually. I still think it gets us into the Christmas spirit,” Milan’s community development director, Allyson Harris, said.

City officials live streamed the lighting on their Facebook page, and say over 100 people tuned in to watch.

“It’s really a shame we had to do it this way because, normally, we have the band out here, a big part of our population come out, we have hot chocolate and cookies for the kids,” Mayor Beasley said.

Even though it’s nothing like people pictured for Christmas in 2020, they’re still glad to at least do something to start the holiday season.

“We felt it was important to the community to figure out a way to do things safely so we don’t lose the entire holiday season,” Mayor Beasley said.

Before Santa headed out, he wanted to remind the kids to get ready for the holiday, saying “See you soon, pick up your room, pick up your toys, be good, love you guys. Merry Christmas, ho ho ho!”

Wednesday, the city is doing their Christmas parade, also a bit differently.

It will be at 6:30 at Milan City Park, and Mayor Beasley encourages spectators to practice the COVID-19 safety measures.

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