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42nd annual Chico tree lighting goes fully virtual; community reacts

The 42nd annual Christmas tree lighting in Chico is yet another annual ceremony drastically changed by the pandemic.

Posted: Dec 5, 2020 9:57 AM
Updated: Dec 5, 2020 12:12 PM

CHICO, Calif. - the 42nd annual Christmas tree lighting is another annual ceremony drastically changed by the pandemic.

You can see one of the biggest changes right away. Chico's city plaza was empty during the virtual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, with the already lit Christmas tree the only thing standing.

There was no big ceremony. The event was fully virtual.

Chico spokesperson Lynda Gizzi said, "It's a Chico tradition. Everyone wants to come out here and see the tree lit up and spend some time downtown, but we can't do that this year. We still wanted to be able to bring some chico cheer to our residents. So this year we're having a virtual tree lighting."

The tree lighting event and the ceremony were all prerecorded for 2020 because of the pandemic, to stop people from gathering in the city plaza.

By prerecording this the city of Chico was able to add more production elements. Gizzi described drone footage that shows Santa arriving downtown on an antique fire engine.

Still, some people feel they missed out on an important Chico holiday this year.

"It's disappointing, very much," said one person who loves Chico's traditions. "We do the tree lighting and we go to Stansbury, but with all this closed down. We can't do 'em," she said. "It's like tradition is not the same at all. That's a tradition for us, that means Christmas time."

"I love Christmas! We have our decorations out, we put up the tree on Thanksgiving. I plan on sending our Christmas cards, I'm going to spread as much cheer as possible. Christmas is what we can make of it," one Chico person shared with Action News Now.

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Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather tonight! If you do head out and plan to stay out late, probably bring an extra later to throw on for when the sun sets as temperatures will be cooling off into the low to mid 60s for the valley by midnight and low to mid 40s by tomorrow morning.
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