PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Christmas holiday is something we all look forward to every year and Winterfest is one of the biggest Christmas festivals in Northwest Florida.  

While many festivals around the Gulf Coast have had to cancel their events, Winterfest says they are making sure this year’s event happens and taking every Covid-19 precaution necessary.  

President of the Pensacola Winterfest Board Denise Daughtry says, “We want social distancing to prevail. We don’t want anyone to get into any kind of trouble or cause any problems. But we want to go forward with an event that’s fun and beautiful at the same time.”

The festival has had to cancel the elf parade and many of their traditional performance, but they knew the community needed the show to go on but more importantly for people to see that one special person. 

Santa even talked to WKRG saying, “I am really looking forward to being here and getting a chance to see the children despite being a really iffy year this is not a big ‘if’ for us this year it’s a big we are doing it.”

They usually expect over thousands of people but of course because of COVID they can’t have those same numbers. However, they are still trying to make this the best Christmas celebration it can be. 

Daughtry says, “It’s not as big because it can’t be because we have to limit the number of people that come to it—but in a way it’s better.”

Santa adds, “It’s been a fearful year and people are rightfully and understandably afraid but don’t be afraid and even though there are dark times there is still light.”

Santa and Daughtry tell me they have had people expecting to come from all over the country because of the cancellations of events.

While nobody will be able to sit in Santa’s slay this year they will still allow children to ask him questions and tell them what they would like. Santa says he will still be on the lookout for whose been naughty and nice.

“I can’t wait to find out if they have been good or not this year with all the stuff going on and i hope all the boys and girls have been good,” says Santa.

The first event will kick off on Friday and still have tickets available. For more information, click here.