This year's Christmas tree lighting in Mardi Gras Park was quite a bit different than in years past.
The city of Mobile enforced masks and required social distancing throughout the majority of the event.
“Even as we go into the holiday spirit and holiday time, we still need to keep each other safe,” said Joanie Mallet, City of Mobile Parks and Rec. Special Event Coordinator.
It's an event that would normally be packed with tons of people and lots to do, but due to COVID-19 Mallet said things had to change.
“We got rid of all of our activities: face painters, balloon clowns, the rolling zoo, the library and all of our arts and crafts. Instead, we bag them up and got them in 'grab-and-go,' so kids can grab them and leave,” Mallet said.
She said the lack of activities left plenty of room in Mardi Gras Park for social distancing.
“I like the social distancing I see. I see a lot of people with masks, and so I think it’s a very good thing. And I’m glad that we can have the event and people are trying to cooperate and make sure that we can have it,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.
Mobile resident Shayria Catlin said she felt people did a good job keeping their distance.
“Everyone social distanced really well. I saw most people out with masks on, so that was cool. I think that the children stayed next to the parents and families kind of clustered together, so I felt safe,” Catlin said.
Catlin said this moment was extremely important to her daughter.
“This year we just need some kind of sense of hope, and so I think it’s fabulous that they’ve gotten this coordinated and organized just before Thanksgiving. So I’m excited,” Catlin said.