Edgebrook keeps Santa visit tradition alive despite COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced events to cancel left and right, but that wasn’t the case for some residents visiting Santa on Saturday.

We caught up with Edgebrook’s marketing coordinator on how they kept the tradition alive for Rockford residents.

“Having Santa here at Edgebrook and the kids being able to talk with him has become a holiday tradition for families,” said Sandy Dingus, the marketing and special events coordinator for Edgebrook.

With Christmas just around the corner, Edgebrook’s tradition of photos with Santa Claus continues at the 3 R’s learning center.

While COVID-19 restrictions have caused many events to cancel or pivot, Dingus says they didn’t want that to be the case. So they came up with ways to keep families safe.

“There’s something so magical and uplifting about a child talking with Santa and we knew that we still wanted to bring this experience not only to them but to their parents as well,” she explained.

Photos with Santa typically draws between 60 and 70 families. With Tier 3 mitigations in effect, sales coordinator Renee Miller says if they can get half of the turnout they usually get–she’ll be happy.

“In years past we’ve seen anywhere from 60 to 70 families on this day at Edgebrook. So far we’ve only seen 16 families,” Miller said.

Regardless of the turnout, Miller says the event symbolizes exactly what the holiday season is about.

“To me, it just feels like it’s just what Christmas time is. Bringing families together, seeing Santa, sharing your list, and then also, supporting the small businesses in Edgebrook,” Miller added.

While the turnout wasn’t what it was in year’s past, for families that attended the event–their Christmas spirit was alive and well.


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