Christmas tree lighting in downtown Barrie Saturday as Noella Festival kicks off

Noella Festival continues through the holiday season

O Christmas, O Christmas tree

The lighting of a 35-foot Christmas tree on Saturday night will signal the start of the holiday season in downtown Barrie.

Image provided

The tree, located at Meridian Place, was sourced from Drysdale’s Tree Farm and is sponsored by Pratt Homes.

The tree lighting is at 6:30 p.m. to be followed by fireworks.

It is part and parcel of Noella Festival.

Activities will begin at noon Saturday with Open Air Dunlop. Dunlop Street between Mulcaster Street and Maple Avenue will be closed to vehicle traffic.

“We have bands, Santa Claus, there is activities for the kids and we’re doing the tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Saturday,” said Ward 9 city councillor Sergio Morales, who is chair of the Downtown Barrie BIA.

Morales says the BIA is really trying to activate Meridian Place and bring back a sense of holiday cheer and community in a safe and responsible manner.

The BIA hopes to leverage the success of Open Air Dunlop with the Noella Festival.

“Open Air Dunlop was successful thanks to the businesses, restaurants and retail stores,” says Morales.

While there won’t be a parade in downtown Barrie for a second straight year because of COVID-19, Santa Claus will be at the festival on Saturday, as he will be visiting¬†neighbourhoods¬†in the city on an antique fire truck.

Families will be able to take distanced photos with Santa beginning at 4 p.m.