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Vacaville's Biggest Christmas Event Canceled Over COVID-19 Concerns

VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Fresh off the 4th of July holiday with many canceled fireworks shows, the city of Vacaville is already announcing its biggest Christmas event will be canceled because of COVID-19.

"I usually go 'ho ho ho, Merry Christmas, Vacaville,'" Vacaville's George Vasquez said.

George Vasquez has played Santa for years at the massive 'Merriment on Main Tree Lighting' event. He gets the crowd going and listens to children's Christmas wish lists.

"You know, I get to listen' to all their little stories stuff," Vasquez said.

This year Vasquez won't get the attention of the thousands who come to this Vacaville Main Street to celebrate because it's canceled. He and his wife Tracy, or Mrs. Claus, are devastated but understanding.

"I mean it is disappointing, but I get it you know," Tracy Vasquez said.

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Richard Rico is the "Merriment on Main" founder and president. He said, "We have no choice."

Rico says the decision to cancel the Christmas event in July is all about timing. Fundraising to support the $40,000 event couldn't move forward with so many COVID-19 questions.

"We cannot safe distance people if there's 15,000 on one street. It can't be done," Rico said.

Other area Christmas events are also in question. The Sacramento Downtown Partnership is determining whether to open its ice rink and Old Sacramento's "Theater of Lights" show is in limbo. The Arden Fair Mall should know by next month if it will host its Santa photo shoots.

"Even though it may seem early, we couldn't delay any longer," Rico said.

For Vacaville's "Merriment on Main," the decision has been made.

"It's just sad," George Vasquez said.

The coronavirus is now creeping into this community's Christmas plans.

Rico says the "Merriment on Main" event will be canceled but a giant Christmas tree will still go up in the center of the city. Santa may even have a ceremony via Zoom.

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