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Holiday Festivals Adapt During The Time Of Coronavirus

fountain square christmas tree
Courtesy of WCPO
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Hundreds gathered at Fountain Square in 2019 to watch the Macy's tree glow. This year, holiday-ready residents will have to watch from their homes.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed not only Thanksgiving traditions, but a number of post-holiday events as well.

The Fountain Square ice rink is open, and the Macy's holiday tree is up, fluffed out and decorated. Typically there's a big ceremony for the tree lighting, but this year, there will not be a party around the tree. Instead, 3CDC says Light Up Fountain Square will be televised and online.

At the Newport Aquarium, Scuba Santa starts Friday and swims through Dec. 24. Santa and elves swim with the sharks daily. There's limited capacity at the aquarium. Advance tickets or an annual pass are required.

The Cincinnati Museum Center's Holiday Junction also kicks in to high gear Nov. 27, with Santa visiting children from behind a plexiglass screen every Friday through Sunday. Cincinnati Black Santa makes an appearance Dec. 18.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains are back for the 74th year, and there's a scavenger hunt. Masks and timed tickets to manage attendance are required at the Museum Center.

There's a new pair of outdoor holiday art displays this year. FOUND, sponsored by 3CDC, starts Friday in the Central Business District. It stretches from The Banks to Findlay Market, with special window displays, trees decorated by and representing all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods, and a citywide scavenger hunt.

"Retold" starts next weekend at the Kennedy Heights Art Center. It features works from 10 diverse artists, all of whom are alum or staff of the Art Academy of Cincinnati. The two-dimensional pieces are the retelling of traditional holiday storys, fables or folktales.  You can drive through the exhibit, or park and walk through. The exhibits are lit up, so they'll look different at night.

Winter Market at Washington Park starts Nov. 27 and continues on the weekends until Dec. 20. 3CDC, the OTR Chamber, MORTAR and City Flea will each have a weekend to highlight local and regional businesses. The market is outdoors, but masks are required, and social distancing is encouraged. It opens at 3 p.m.