Dalton Christmas Fest determined to continue despite pandemic
A local Christmas festival isn't letting the pandemic slow down their celebrating.
DALTON, Minn. — While the holiday season is here, some festivities aren't happening because of the pandemic. But the “bright lights” of Dalton, Minnesota, are still drawing in people from all over the region for their holiday festival.
The small town is living large for its second-annual Christmas event.
There are 40 different displays, all with a "go big or go home" outlook on decorative lights.
"Let’s really do this big, let’s not just put up a few lights, let’s put up lights!" said Rebecca Sonmor of the Christmas Fest committee.
Sonmor and Jennifer Johnson, sisters who were born and raised in Dalton, are on the Christmas fest committee, and helped spearhead the festivities. Their grandfather helped to found the threshing grounds where the festival takes place.
"It does our heart good because it’s kind of always been in the family, and our Grandpa loved Christmas, so it was kind of a way to incorporate what he loved and what we love," Sonmor said.
More than 50 volunteers from the surrounding area have pitched in since early October for the festival to be ready. There were some who came from nearly an hour away to see the bright lights.
A family from Fergus Falls was grateful for the chance to get into the holiday spirit.
"It’s really nice considering a lot of holiday festivals are canceled because of COVID," said Fergus Falls resident Gail Gudim.
"It’s pretty cool because with COVID going around, not everything is open and this is open," said Fergus Falls resident Evan Bond.
While the social activities of the festival aren’t happening due to the pandemic, this year's edition is still a reminder that there’s plenty of good out there.
"I think people are looking for something positive in their lives right now, and Christmas is a good way to do that," Sonmor said.
Dalton’s Christmas event runs from 5-11 p.m. every night until Jan. 3 and is free of charge.