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The McDuffie Progress/file photo

Jace Myers, 8, tells Santa and Mrs. Claus what he wants for Christmas at the Dearing Christmas Tree Lighting in 2019. The town will again have Santa and he will follow the wishes of parents as far as social distancing this year.

A majority of the Dearing Town Council voted to bring some needed Christmas cheer to local residents next month. The vote was taken during a regular meeting held Monday night.

Following the vote, Dearing council members agreed to move forward and form an event planning committee that will include two town council members. This group consisting of Dearing elected officials and citizens will plan and orchestrate a tree lighting event scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4. Social distancing practices and other public health safety precautions will be implemented due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, town council members promised.

The tree lighting can be held outside on the Dearing Walking Track and organizers and volunteers would wear facial coverings when serving the public. A special guest from the North Pole has committed to being present at the event and will follow the wishes of parents regarding social distancing when interacting with children during the celebration. The public schools will not be participating in the event, council members confirmed.

Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley broached the topic of holding a socially distanced tree lighting event this year. Kelley commented that 2020 has been a difficult year for many people and even a scaled back event can help boost morale.

The City of Thomson has cancelled its annual tree lighting, he said. The nearby City of Harlem will likely still hold its annual Christmas parade, according to Kelley.

Council members don’t expect large crowds from outside of Dearing to attend this year’s tree lighting, but they do expect a sizable turnout from local residents.

In other town business, the council will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7 at the Dearing Community Center. The council will set its budget for 2021 at this meeting. Budget concerns include replacing roofs on Dearing Town Hall and the fire station, according to the mayor.

Kelley had advised the council to reschedule its regular Dec. 14 meeting to Dec. 7 due to runoff elections being held in Georgia. Early in-person voting for the runoff races begins on Dec. 14.

The town council entered into an executive session to discuss real estate. No action was taken when the open meeting resumed.

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