HELENA — The Helena Holiday Cruise is a good option this year for those looking for a COVID safe way to have some holiday fun, while also supporting local businesses and nonprofits.
Organized by the Helena Community Foundation, the cruise offers a self-guided tour of some of the best Christmas lights in the area.
“The Helena Holiday Cruise is basically our answer to how to have a Christmas fun event during quarantine,” said Helena Area Community Foundation Executive Director Emily Frazier.
Tickets are available online and include cocoa or cider in a “Love. Helena. Forever.” thermos, sweet or savory snacks, and a map of the best places to see lights. There are even a few included that are set to music.
“A lot of people are taking more time to decorate their homes during COVID because it’s something they can do to lighten up their life right now and make our community bright,” said Frazier.
The $50 tickets cover an entire vehicle and all profits will go towards helping nonprofits that have been struggling during the pandemic. The Helena Holiday Cruise runs Dec.19 and 20 and people will sign up to get their goodies at the same time they purchase a ticket.
Frazier told MTN they really wanted a way to bring some holiday cheer while helping out the community.
“You really get some time with your family or friends, the people in your vehicle, to just enjoy something that’s really lovely this time of year and that is totally safe,” said Frazier.
Organizers are taking great care to make sure the event is safe and reduce as much potential COVID exposure as possible. Attendees will never leave their vehicle and everything will be brought to them at their designated pick up areas.
If people aren’t feeling well who bought a ticket, items will be delivered to the home for a contactless pickup.
Christmas Lights have a personal meaning for Frazier. Her late father and Capital High teacher Ted Flemming loved Christmas and would go to great lengths to decorate their home and his classroom every year.
“My dad was rather amazing at decorating for Christmas,” said Frazier.
Fleming passed away about 15 years ago after falling off a ladder getting a light-up snowman from their attic.
“That day he had spent the entire day decorating his classroom. So when kids came back to school after Thanksgiving break there was so much evidence of him even though he was gone.,” said Fraizer.
In planning this event people have asked Frazier if it’s hard given how her father passed away. Fraizer says honestly it’s been healing and a great way to honor him.
“He loved this so much, and he loved seeing Helena lit up and he loved sharing that with people. As much as sometimes it makes me miss him, I also know if he was around he would have bought the first ticket and be so excited to see all the lights,” said Frazier.
Frazier says tickets are selling fast for the event and the last day to buy them will be Wednesday. That is, unless they've already sold out.