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Northeast Indiana prepares for holiday season with hopes of more “normal” celebrations

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 11:00 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - Holiday celebrations are kicking off around Fort Wayne as people hope for celebrations with fewer COVID-19 restrictions.

At the Embassy Theatre on Thursday night, folks got into the holiday spirit with the Festival of Trees. For some, it’s a yearly tradition and for others it was their first time there.

LeAnne Gump and her family comes to the Festival of Trees every year.

“It means everything, it’s so much fun,” Gump said. “We started coming on Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, but we’ve been doing this ever since I was little.”

It’s a tradition she’s now passing down to her children. Last year, Gump still came with her family, but the celebration was scaled down. There were fewer trees and masking up was required.

“In 2019 we had over 22,000 people walk through the doors and last year everything changed,” Festival of Trees Organizer Carly Myers said. “We were open quite a bit, but we only saw 8,000 people come through last year. We’re expecting record numbers this year.”

This year masks are not required. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s okay to relax COVID-19 precautions this year. However, they still recommend outdoor celebrations when possible and they suggest you wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status in areas with high spread.

“If you’re comfortable wearing a mask, we recommend it, but otherwise we’re happy to see everyone’s faces again,” Myers said.

Staff at the Embassy say they will adjust protocols as needed.

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