MERIDEN — Residents can still expect to see Hubbard Park come alive with lights at night starting the day before Thanksgiving.
The biggest change this year is that there will be no ceremony when the park is lit on Nov. 25 because of concerns about the statewide surge in COVID cases, said Chris Bourdon, director of Parks and Recreation.
Normally, spectators from all around Connecticut and surrounding states travel to Hubbard Park to watch 350,000 lights come on all at once. The ceremony also featured Christmas carolers and free refreshments.
This year, the park will be lit without an audience when it gets dark on Nov. 25. Bourdon said it is strongly recommended that people stay in their vehicle when they are in the park.
“Normally when we have mild weather, people like to get out...stand next to displays and take pictures,” Bourdon said. “Unless it gets out of control, it won’t be something that we will make mandatory.”
As far as the lights, the layout will be the same. In spots where people would normally get out of their cars, like to see the skate house decorated with lights and holiday figurines, signs will remind everyone to social distance.
There will be two new displays this year that Bourdon wants to keep a surprise.
Jeremy Gaj, a parks employee has been working on one of the new attractions since last week.
“We’ve been working for about the past month,” Gaj said about himself and 10 other employees. “Stringing lights and making any repairs that are needed.”
Park-goers will see familiar displays, like the globe and swans floating in the lake.
Bourdon said due to the Connecticut’s growing travel restriction list, more state residents may flock to the popular light display. As of Nov 17, Connecticut has 47 states on the travel advisory list. Most recently, Vermont has been added, according to the state website.
“Absolutely, people are basically if not homebound, really restricted in what they’re able to do. Being that we have a great display that’s free, I think this will be our most attended display ever,” Bourdon said.
The park will be lit every night until Jan. 3. The light show is a free event.