Ronna Faaborg
 
| Ames Tribune

It’s soon going to look a lot like Christmas in Story City, but this year’s tree-lighting event is going virtual for Yulefest fans on Facebook Live on Friday at 6 p.m.

Officials in Story City decided to cancel the in-person portion of Yulefest, the annual celebration the community holds the Friday after Thanksgiving, after Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent update to COVID-19 safety protocols.

“In consideration of our traditional tree lighting it is with heavy hearts the Story City Greater Chamber Connection announces the cancellation of in-person tree lighting and Friday night movie,” said Jay Wilson, director of the GCC.

Wilson said it was in the best interest of the community to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“As much as we want a fun-filled holiday event, we do not feel we can do it in a way that keeps our staff, volunteers and event attendees safe, nor can we execute in-person events while complying with the state’s current restrictions,” he said. “Additionally, we need to work together to keep our community open and the health care system from being overwhelmed.”

The Story City Fire Department is hosting its annual soup supper at the fire station on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., but the event is a drive-thru meal this year.

As in years past, the big Christmas tree in the middle of Broad Street was donated by a local resident.

“Shirley Knous was pleased to donate her pine tree for this year’s downtown Christmas tree,” said Mayor Mike Jensen. “The City of Story City is very grateful to Shirley for her generous donation that will grace the center of downtown for the Christmas season, bringing joy to all through the holidays.”

Shop Small Saturday

The GCC will be giving out Shop Small bags stuffed with promotional items from local retailers and restaurants starting Saturday at 9 a.m.

The bags will be available at the GCC office, 524 Broad St., until the bags are gone.

“Our theme for Yulefest this year is ‘I’ll be Gnome for the Holidays,’ so many shops and business windows will have some gnome-related decoration or display — even gnomes available to purchase,” Wilson said.

There will be a promotion on Story City Cash from 9 a.m. until it’s sold out. With the purchase of $20 in Story City Cash, the buyer will receive an extra $10 of the local cash.

Instead of in-person crafts for the kids, this year parents can pick up take-and-make crafts from the GCC office from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.

As part of the Yulefest celebration, the GCC is hosting the Christmas movie classic “Home Alone” at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Story Theater on Broad Street. For ticket details visit the GCC’s Facebook page; seats are limited to 100 people.

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