This is the season for miracles.
Santa Claus will be making one this weekend as Ketchikan begins its traditional Christmas season celebrations.
Although, it’s not completely customary.
It will be adjusted to accommodate the novel coronavirus and the response to it — just as First City citizens modified Halloween and Thanksgiving Day events according to official recommendations.
The long-time tradition of Santa making an early December visit to downtown during the tree-lighting ceremony will be replaced. Instead of arriving at the Ketchikan Fire Department’s station this year, Old St. Nick will be commandeering fire trucks — he saves the sleigh for delivering gifts — and riding through the community’s neighborhoods.
He starts out at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at North Point Higgins Elementary School parking lot, Walmart, AND Forest Park. Yes, you guessed it; therein is the miracle.
On the north side, he and his helpers will travel from North Points Higgins school parking lot to Clover Pass Community Church’s parking lot, the Crowley gas station, Lighthouse Grocery parking lot, Totem Bight State Park parking lot, the Alaska Marine Highway Administration parking lot, Mile 8.3 and proceed north, and end at Whipple Creek at 6 p.m.
Also at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Santa and his helpers will launch from Walmart to Cambria Subdivision, and then to Jackson Street and points west, Ketchikan High School area, drive down to Tongass Avenue and then up First Avenue before cruising downtown to Stedman and Deermount streets through Bear Valley, down Pine and Bawden streets and wind up at Park and Woodland avenues at 6:30 p.m..
For the South, they begin at Forest Park, drive through Saxman and up to Fawn Mountain Elementary School before proceeding along South Tongass Highway to Herring Cove and Roosevelt Drive, completing the swing at 6 p.m.
The Christmas season — like the other holidays — won’t be exactly as it has been before. COVID-19 requires tweaking the usual schedule. But, it won’t stop Santa.
Nor will it stop the reason for the season and the potential for new and improved Christmas traditions.