The Strate Scapes Landscaping truck is a go this year, but the organizers aren’t sure if the Pilon Tools truck will be ready this year. Photo submitted.

The Strate Scapes Landscaping truck is a go this year, but the organizers aren’t sure if the Pilon Tools truck will be ready this year. Photo submitted.

Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks still rolling this holiday season

Organizers have adapted event and means of raising donations for pandemic

Even during the pandemic, the annual Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks will still light up the community this holiday season.

Organizers Erin and Kevin Kaetler, who run Strate Scapes Landscaping, started organizing the event about seven years ago. Last year, it went ahead on a smaller scale, and in 2020, with COVID-19 a key consideration, it will again be a little lower key. They will be driving their familiar red and green dump truck for sure, but they’re not certain if a second vehicle, the Pilon Tools truck, will be ready in time because it is currently being retrofitted. They plan on starting Saturday, Nov. 28 and expect to be out around four to five nights a week, from around about 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“We’re going to start a little bit early this year, just to get in as many weekends as we can before Christmas,” says Erin Kaetler.

They’ve also contacted RCMP about their plans and have taken steps to promote social distancing and other measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, such as maintaining distances and wearing masks.

One of the big changes, they say, is that instead of collecting actual food donations for the local food bank this year, they will be collecting cash donations and providing a link on their Facebook page where people can donate directly to the food bank.

“We’re actually not going to collect any physical food this year,” she says. “That’ll be a harder one for people to grasp.”

This year, they would have to keep food in the truck and stored at their home until delivery to the food bank. The cash donations also bring a couple of other advantages: it allows the food bank to fill the gaps for certain types of food donations and financial donations also allow them to buy in quantity, making donations stretch a little further.

As far as the cash donations, the Kaetlers are planning on a safe means where people can make a donation at a safe distance.

Similarly, they expect to make some stops in the mall or other large parking lots but there will be no chance for people to visit the trucks as in past years. People could still be able to make a quick drive-by visit, just not stop and get out their vehicles for a look.

“In the past, we’ve gone and parked … in the mall parking lot and encouraged people to come and drop off donations,” Kaetler says. “We’re still trying to do what we can do. It’ll just look a little different.”

They plan on some neighbourhood visits in the months leading up to Christmas, but again, like other celebrations in recent months, they encourage residents to come out in their driveways for a look and a wave but at a safe distance.

“Most of our time will be spent driving through different areas of town,” Kaetler says.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks still a go

As always, the event will make stops at local seniors’ residences or for hospice residents to have a look at the truck lights. In other years, they have tried to keep a safe distance, but it’s taken on a new level of importance in 2020.

“What we’ve done in the past is there’s been no contact there, for most of them anyway,” Kaetler says.

If Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks is happening on a smaller scale, in a year that’s been tough for so many people, it becomes all the more important to find ways to spread a little seasonal cheer.

“For us, this year was more important than any other year because of how people are feeling,” she says.

The Kaetlers encourage people to keep up with the event on the Comox Valley Christmas Light Trucks page on Facebook where they post updates on where they’ll be starting Nov. 28, leading up until a few days before Christmas.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Christmas

Just Posted

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Conservation officers transported the bear to a wildlife veterinarian in Nanaimo for examination

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

RCMP outside the Nanaimo Ice Centre investigating a report of a suspicious person. The incident resulted in hold-and-secures at two nearby schools, but those emergency procedures have now been lifted. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: Police response a result of man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle

Two schools had gone into hold-and-secure procedures Thursday morning, May 13

Pixabay
Island Health announces two doctors, new clinic space for Port McNeill

Island Health has leased space to use as an immediate clinic location to avert health crisis

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Island Health’s new Wellness and Recovery Centre at 5878 York Rd. is now planned to be open in the fall. (File photo)
Controversial Cowichan Wellness and Recovery Centre will now open in the fall

Three community dialogues scheduled for May and an advisory committee coming

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Most Read