JONESBORO — The annual Jonesboro Christmas parade has been canceled, but city officials didn’t want to let the holiday pass without some kind of celebration.

In an effort to follow social distancing guidelines, the city has created the Hometown Christmas Festival and Market.

“It will be outside, and we’re following all safety guidelines and taking precautions,” said Jonesboro City Councilwoman Pat Sebo-Hand.

The event will be held on Dec. 5 from 3-8 p.m. at Lee Street Park and will feature pictures with Santa, Christmas carols, hot cocoa, fire pits and the tree lighting at 7 p.m.

Throughout the afternoon, the market will offer shoppers handmade one-of-a-kind items like jewelry, essential oils, soaps, cards, ornaments and canned and baked goods.

Sebo-Hand said the city has created a designated spot for children to stand for pictures with Santa, as well as a station to allow them to write letters to St. Nick.

“They’ll be able to write to Santa and send their letter right there in a special mailbox,” she said.

The kids will also receive holiday-decorated masks.

“We want everyone to have a nice time while staying safe. That’s our first priority,” Sebo-Hand said. “It’s going to be a really nice event and we hope everyone enjoys themselves.”

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