A COVID Holiday Season: Places to Visit
Looking for places to visit this holiday season? Look no further!
This holiday season is like no other. Many activities that occur during the winter season aren’t happening due to the pandemic. There may be no ice skating at Canalside and no tubing in Ellicottville, but there are still ways to make this holiday season fun!
Stony Brook Shines For Others
A 20 minute drive from many Sweet Home families, the Stony Brook neighborhood in Lancaster is known for its large amounts of decorated houses where you can drive or walk through and see all different kinds of lights. Up for display daily from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Stony Brook provides a great socially distanced light show. I went there with my family and friends and the houses are so cool! You can get out and take pictures by the houses, and no one is around you so you’re socially distanced. All the houses have lights, and any donations made at the event this year supports WNY Heroes, a local veterans organization.
You can learn more about Stony Brook Shines For Others on their website or Facebook page.
Vidler’s 5 & 10
A local staple located on Main Street in East Aurora, Vidler’s presents a unique shopping experience. Open daily, Vidler’s is an inexpensive store with all sorts of things to purchase including candy, jewelry, toys, games, household appliances, gifts for others, holiday decorations, and lots of other cool things! There’s also other local shops within walking distance of Vidler’s. It’s a great place to get out and shop local this holiday season!
You can learn more about Vidler’s 5 & 10 on their website.
Hamburg Fairgrounds Festival of Lights
Home to the Erie County fair, the Hamburg Fairgrounds is holding its annual Festival of Lights event daily from 5pm-9pm through the month of December. Typically the festival has a light show, visits with Santa, cookie making, and crafts. This year, it’s still open, although it’s just the light show as to adhere to COVID safety rules. This means the ticket price of $40 per car has been reduced to $15 per car. You drive through the lights just like you would do all other times, but you can’t get out of your car this time. It’s really awesome that they’re still doing this, and allowing us to see the lights!!
Tickets for the Festival of Lights must be purchased in advance. To learn more about the Festival, visit their website.
The Hertel Marketplace
The 2 mile stretch of Hertel Ave between Delaware and Main St is often referred to as the Hertel Marketplace and provides a great experience to grab a bite to eat while shopping local. Similar to Main St in East Aurora and parts of Delaware Ave, the Hertel Marketplace has a bunch of locally made shops and stores. It offers many varying food choices, as well as shops to get gifts for everyone on your list! It’s a good way to get out and do something fun with your family and friends!
Located minutes from Canalside in Downtown Buffalo, RiverWorks is home to the Buffalo Winter Village. Happening on weekends from noon to 6pm, the Winter Village is fun for all ages! Here, there is ice skating, arts and crafts, a bunch of local vendors, and music! All patrons are socially distanced and required to wear masks. It is safe, fun, and gets you in the holiday spirit!
To learn more about the Buffalo Winter Village, visit Buffalo RiverWorks website, Facebook page or Step Out Buffalo listing.
Kelly’s Country Store
Just 15 minutes away from most Sweet Home families, Kelly’s Country Store is located on Grand Island. The main holiday attraction at the store is a small village where kids can go in and see Santa. They can’t sit in his lab, but they can talk to him and are socially distant while doing so. The shop also has Christmas trees available to purchase as well as chocolates, candies, house decorations, holiday decorations, cooking appliances, jewelry, toys, and many other things! It’s a local business, and the candy is so good!!
To learn more about Kelly’s Country Store, visit their website or Facebook page.
Other Holiday Activities
If you don’t want to leave home, there are always ways to have some holiday fun! You could watch holiday classics (a tv schedule can be found here) or have a gingerbread house building competition. You can make cookies, or walk around your neighborhood and view the lights yourr neighbors have put up.
I would definitely recommend visiting all of these places with your family, friends, or just by yourself!! It’s all so fun and gets you into the Christmas spirit!!
Lexi is a senior at Sweet Home High School and previously wrote for the Panther Press where she was the editor for the News section for two years. Lexi is now the Opinion section editor of The Panther Eye. She plays volleyball for the Varsity team at Sweet Home.