NORTH SMITHFIELD – As towns across Rhode Island are challenged to organize and create new holiday traditions in accordance with the state’s newest COVID-19 mandates, North Smithfield will host a new, socially distant event in place of its annual tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Although the ceremony looks a bit different than in years’ past, the town’s Parks and Recreation program coordinator, Kate Pasquariello, looks forward to bringing some holiday cheer to families this weekend alongside Parks and Recreation Commission chairman Tony Guertin. “It’s just thinking out of the box,” she said. “You still want to have something for the residents to look forward to.”

From 3:30 to 5 p.m., families are invited to visit the town gazebo, located behind the newly opened Town Hall building, by driving down School Street for a drive-thru style meet and greet with Santa Claus.

“The tree lighting is going to be in the gazebo…[and] Santa is going to be sitting on the pathway up to the gazebo,” says Pasquariello. “People are welcome to drive by slowly and wave to Santa.”

Expected to be there are newly inaugurated town officials, including Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski and members of the Town Council.

Despite many people rearranging their plans this year, Pasquariello remains positive for the future.

“Better things are coming our way,” she said. “Next year will, hopefully, be a better year and we can expand upon our new town hall events. Things are really looking up in North Smithfield.”

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