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Holiday tradition returns to Rockwood

Santa at Rockwood
Rebecca Baer
Delaware Public Media

Santa Claus visited New Castle County’s Rockwood Park and Museum Monday as it prepares to bring its holiday open house back.

A county crew lifted Santa high up into the treetops in a cherry-picker to help put the finishing touches on the park’s light display.

The Rockwood open house returns after the pandemic forced the museum to switch to a drive-through light display last year.

The event will once again include photos with Santa and live musical performances.

"There are a lot of people in our community who are doing just fine, even thriving in this COVID world in which we live," said County Executive Matt Meyer.

Santa with Matt Meyer
Rebecca Baer
Delaware Public Media
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer discusses holiday preparations at Rockwood Park with Santa Claus

"But there are a lot of people who feel left out, who don’t have jobs, who don’t have resources, that don’t have anything to do. This is an opportunity to come out - it’s free - come have a good time."

And the property’s new director Ryan Grover says there will be free tours throughout December.

"We want to invite them back to see the progress and the things we’re doing to preserve this beautiful space, and more importantly, is that we really want to give people a break - a safe break from COVID," Grover said. "They can go someplace where they don’t have to worry about things. They can bring their kids and just sort of be enchanted by their surroundings."

Meyer says he thinks the event will be safe despite the emergence of a new COVID variant.

“We’re watching the science very closely. Everything I’m seeing right now indicates it’s completely safe for people to gather outside,” he said, noting that he continues to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The Rockwood Park & Museum holiday open house takes place Friday and Saturday evening from 5p.m. to 9p.m.

Local charities will be on hand collecting donations of new, unwrapped toys and winter hats, gloves and scarves.

Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.