Oak Bay’s Trick-or-Treating on the Avenue, and evening bonfire at Fireman’s Park have been cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Oak Bay’s Trick-or-Treating on the Avenue, and evening bonfire at Fireman’s Park have been cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic. (Black Press Media File Photo)

No Halloween, Christmas events in Oak Bay Village

Oak Bay to host series of Winter Markets

It’s not the announcement the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association wanted to make.

But in a pandemic, there is little choice.

There will be no Trick or Treat on the Avenue or Oak Bay Light Up (Christmas) this year. Also cancelled for this year are the Pumpkin Art on the Avenue event and the Oak Bay Halloween bonfire partnership by the Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay and Oak Bay firefighters.

It won’t placate the kids, but there is some good news. In lieu of the canceled Oak Bay Summer Markets, the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association ran four Sunday Markets in the parking area and green space behind municipal hall.

However, on Oct. 13, Oak Bay council approved a Winter Market extension that will likely run Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

READ ALSO: Saanich’s Halloween fireworks, bonfire permitting process moves online

The key to the market’s success was shrinking it while keeping it distanced, said Heather Leary, marketing and events manager of the Business Improvement Association.

“The market drove a trickle of traffic into the village, not overwhelming, and it had a steady vibrancy,” Leary said.

In the meantime, the focus in Oak Bay is enjoying a safe and fun Halloween without gathering in the Village.

“We are hoping that this year people will enjoy Halloween in their local neighbourhood safely in small groups,” Leary said. “As soon as it’s safe to do so these events will be back. Unfortunately, this isn’t the year to hold large-scale events. We are continuing to work to bring the community together in other ways.”

Oak Bay Avenue is already decorated with Halloween pumpkins on the street poles and many of the shops will have spooky window displays.

READ MORE: Yes, Halloween trick-or-treating can be done during COVID-19

The Village will of course be decorated for Christmas with the buildings, trees and lampposts lit up for the season. Shop windows will be decorated and plans are in development for other festive aspects, Leary said.

“We want to ensure the Village is festive and that people have a wonderful experience when they visit,” said Martin Cownden, president of the Business Improvement Association. “We have a few things in process that will add to the festive spirit in the Village while not drawing a large crowd. We will have more details soon.”

Updates will be posted at facebook.com/oakbaybia and at visitoakbayvillage.ca.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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