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Thousands visited downtown Denton Nov. 30, 2018, for the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival. The festival this year is returning to in-person activities, though they will be spaced out to improve social distancing.

Returning to in-person activities for the first time since COVID-19 hit, the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival will take place Friday around the Denton County Courthouse lawn.

The festival is organized by an independent board of volunteers, with festivities including Who-ville Hollow, Peppermint Park and Winter Wonderland at Williams Square. The Lee Walker Tree will be lit between 6:05 p.m. and 6:10 p.m.

As part of COVID-19 precautions, event protocols will be in place, including spacing out the events to prevent excess numbers of people from congregating in one place.

Around the courthouse lawn, Santa will be available for photos along with a reindeer with longer horns known as a reinsteer. There will also be a stage with performances from the Denton Community Band, Denton Ballet Academy and High School Caesar.

Departing from the courthouse lawn, horse carriage rides will transport people to the event’s next location: Who-ville Hollow. Free crafts hosted by the Greater Denton Arts Council, holiday vendor booths, carolers and a trackless train ride will be present to entertain guests of all ages by the Bayless Selby House.

By Oak Street near East Side Denton will be Peppermint Park. Guests can find free activities for kids including bounce houses, live music and a balloon artist, accompanied by a special guest: Elf on the Shelf.

Winter Wonderland at Williams Square will become home to a line of food trucks and a 12-foot snow slide beyond the Wells Fargo building off the Square.

During the event, toy donations will be accepted through the Elves Shelves truck parked on the Square. Those who do not want to carry a toy around can also donate online at dentonholidaylighting.com/donate-a-virtual-toy.

Although most of the event’s festivities are free, wristbands are available for $5 on Eventbrite or at the event for individuals participating in the Who-Ville Hollow Trackless Train, Downtown Square Horse Carriage Ride, Winter Wonderland Snow Slide or a photo with Santa.

Next year, the event plans on returning to its traditional three-stage lineup with a casting call in early 2022.

The festival will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information about the event or other endeavors from the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival, individuals can visit dentonholidaylighting.com.

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