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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Visitors walk Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, while enjoying the annual Lights of the Ozarks display on the downtown square in Fayetteville. The display features more than 400,000 lights and will remain lit beginning at 5 p.m. through Saturday.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Christmas lights will adorn the downtown square once again this year, but holiday festivities will look a little different.

The Lights of the Ozarks parade scheduled for Nov. 20 has been cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic, according to a news release from Experience Fayetteville.

Carriage rides, pony rides and photos with Santa will not be available.

"This was not an easy decision to make," Molly Rawn, chief executive officer of Experience Fayetteville, said. "Our primary concern is always public health and safety, and we have to do what's best for our community."

Instead, the city is getting ready to offer online programming, including a virtual lighting ceremony, according to the release.

"I'm encouraged by the work our team is doing to make this a cheerful and safe event moving forward," Rawn said.

Letters to Santa will still be dropped off at the Santa mailbox in front of the Experience Fayetteville Visitors Center, according to the release.

The decision will also mean less food and beverage vendors throughout the 2020 season.

The annual downtown display is made up of more than 400,000 lights. Visitors can see the display at the square through Dec. 31, according to the release.

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