Maxville’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be going online this weekend, live from King George Park in the village.

Usually held in front of a large crowd, organizers of the 2020 event have opted to minimize the number of people on the site by broadcasting the tree lighting on Facebook as it occurs. As with many other events in 2020, the change has been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year it’s going virtual because of the COVID protocols,” said Loretta Landmesser, of the group Friends of King George Park.

Organizers are encouraging residents of the village and surrounding area to visit the Maxville Christmas Tree Lighting event page, where they can watch the event live at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 21. The broadcast will begin about 10 minutes before 7 p.m., as buildup to the actual lighting of the tree.

In addition to the lighting ceremony, the virtual broadcast will feature Christmas carols sung by the Glengarry Children’s Choir, hot chocolate, a gingerbread house contest and special surprise guest appearances.

“I have it on fairly good authority that there may be a Santa visit,” Landmesser teased. “Since the Santa Claus Parade is not being held in Maxville this year, as in many other communities, we have a number of special guest appearances, including – potentially – Santa.”

The committee has already been busy on the Facebook event page, posting recipes for hot chocolate and the rules for the gingerbread houses, which must be homemade and edible.

“We have prizes for the gingerbread contest and we will be accepting entries right up until late in the day on Saturday,” Landmesser said. “We will be announcing the prize winners live online at the ceremony on Saturday evening and we will do pick for the prizes on the following Sunday.”

A regular feature of Maxville’s annual Christmas events is the Angel Tree, which allows residents of the village to purchase gifts for children in need. This year the Angel Tree is located at Maxville Home Hardware and is decorated with tags indicating with the age and gender of the recipients. The tags can be picked up anytime and the unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the hardware store by December 11 to ensure the gifts are wrapped and delivered safely in time for Christmas. More information on the Angel Tree can be obtained by calling Kelly at 613-527-2025.