CHIPLEY – The holiday season is upon us and the Chipley Christmas Fest is excited to be able to bring a few of our beloved activities to you despite the pandemic. This year’s schedule of events is presented by Tobacco Free Florida, Community South Credit Union and Florida Farm Bureau and activities will kick off on our festival day on Friday, December 4, 2020.

Our Annual Downtown Lighted Christmas Parade will begin at 5:30 pm (line-up is at 4:30 pm at the old CHS Track on North Railroad Avenue). This year’s parade will not have a float contest. Parade applications may be obtained at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce (672 5th Street) or on Chipley Christmas Facebook Page or on the Washington County Tourist Development page. Additionally, since the Parade is in the evening, we strongly urge participants on all the Floats not to throw candy to the audience as a safety measure to keep our children out of harm’s way.

We know not all our usual activities will be available this year: The Festival will NOT have Food Vendors, Pony or Carriage Rides, Inflatables, children’s craft projects, nor Craft Vendors.

We will continue our tradition of the Kate M. Smith Elementary School 5th Grade Christmas Card Contest. Each 5th grade classroom will receive a half sheet of plywood, courtesy of Surplus & Salvage, to design a holiday card of their choosing. The cards will be critiqued by our chosen panel of judges on the afternoon of December 4th and a winning classroom will be decided. First place will receive a pizza party for their classroom courtesy of Hungry Howie’s. Second and third place winners will receive trophies. All cards will be displayed at the Washington County Farmer’s Market Complex the night of the event.

Free Santa photos will also be offered on the green of the Washington County Farmer’s Market Complex, December 4, 2020 from 5-8 pm. Parents will register their child at the registration table and be given a number. There will be no line for the photos, instead you and your child will approach the gazebo to have your photo taken once your assigned number is called. While you wait, Free popcorn that will be handed out by our local SWAT group from the Tobacco Free Florida mobile food unit, along with bottled water provided by Community South Credit Union.

The Holiday Stroll will also be back again this year and we encourage our downtown merchants to celebrate the season from Dec. 4 thru Dec. 24. . We will be showcasing all of our wonderful downtown businesses and what they will be offering for the holiday shopping season on our Facebook page so you won’t miss a single great deal! The Christmas Fest of Chipley encourages all residents of Washington County to support our locally-owned businesses this year by shopping locally for all your holiday gifts.

We would strongly encourage all participants to practice social distancing and highly recommend that you wear your mask during all activities to ensure that our community remains safe. All volunteers with the festival will be wearing masks and gloves.

This article originally appeared on Washington County News: Chipley’s Holiday Fest begins next week