Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Buffalo residents can look forward to a holiday season filled with popular events and time-honored traditions.
The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce is planning several fun activities to help people get into the Christmas spirit, including the annual lighted Christmas parade, although coordinators say some events may be modified.
Jennifer Romanoski, a chamber board member, is submitting a proposal to Johnson County’s public health officer, Dr. Mark Schueler, for his input. She said she is optimistic the chamber will be allowed to put on most of its annual Christmas events, and that the parade will be able to continue with only a few restrictions related to COVID-19.
“We will try to keep it as traditional as possible and encourage people to shop local and support the community,” said Romanoski.
On Dec. 5, the chamber is scheduled to host the lighted Christmas parade, featuring brightly decorated floats and marching units, though it may impose some new restrictions, such as not giving out treats, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The theme of the parade this year is “Heritage Holiday,” so the chamber is encouraging participants to highlight the traditions that make the holiday special for them.
The annual free chili feed at Crazy Woman Square preceding the parade is at higher risk of being canceled, according to Romanoski. She is waiting on a response from Dr. Schueler to see if it can continue.
The chamber is still scheduled to hold reverse bingo. Tickets are $10 and will be available on Nov. 28, and participants will have their names entered in a weekly drawing for Buffalo Bucks, which can be redeemed at local businesses.
Children can also participate in a coloring contest and write letters to Santa.
On Nov. 28, the chamber is holding its annual Button Strut to encourage people to support local businesses. It is selling buttons for $5 at the chamber office and at local businesses, and people who wear them can shop in town and earn a discount at participating businesses. Each button also includes a number that will be entered into three separate drawings for Buffalo Bucks.
Businesses in the area can decorate their storefront windows to match the theme “Heritage Holiday” and enter to compete for a cash prize. If they want to participate, they can call the chamber, and residents can cast a vote for their favorite storefront at the chamber until Dec. 12.
Once again, the chamber is collaborating with the Buffalo Senior Center to offer stockings with small gifts to members of the center. In order to minimize physical contact this year, the chamber is asking residents to drop off donations of items from the wish list at the office, and it will then deliver the stuffed stockings to the center.
“It is one of my favorite things that (the chamber) does every year,” said Denica Shell, a chamber board member.
The organization will also hold the Care and Share program. Angel tree tags with information about a child’s gender, age and interests (no names) will be available at participating businesses. Individuals or groups who choose to sponsor are encouraged to buy new clothes, a new pair of shoes and a toy.
“We want to make sure every kid has a holiday to look forward to,” said Romanoski.