Corrie Drummond

(Rock Hill, S.C.) – A number of holiday traditions in York County looked very different last year, as many events, which would have happened in person, were moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brianna Francis, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit York County, said it’s the group’s job to promote tourism, but it was also important to find safe ways to celebrate during the pandemic.

“Rock Hill has an annual festival that is renown across the country, known as ChristmasVille, which is a 10-day Hallmark movie type festival in downtown Rock Hill,” Francis said. “That’s actually been pushed to virtual, but they will have a couple of in-person events, but its mostly virtual.”

While some holiday events, such as the Founders Holiday Ice Rink have remained in-person with added precautions, Francis said moving most events online has cost the county thousands of visitors.

As a result, a number of York County residents and visitors said they are sad about the changes to the holiday lineup.

York County native Jessica Young said she misses the Christmas traditions she’s grown up with, but she is hopeful for a safe way to celebrate the holidays.

“It will probably be a little difficult this year because of COVID, but I think it’s still time a way for people to have fun, people to still interact and be able to still have a great Christmas,” Young said.

Tatianna Davis, a mass communication major at Winthrop University, said she wants to enjoy Christmas, despite the changes.

“I definitely miss all the Christmas events that were happening. I definitely miss coming together and seeing other people,” Davis said.

Sydney Broadus, another mass communication major at Winthrop, said she would like to attend events in person, but she is concerned about the coronavirus.

“I would like to go out with my friends but were all concerned about (COVID-19),” said Broadus.

As for the future, Francis said she is optimistic about how things will look next Christmas.

“I think everybody is hoping to have their festivals next year,” Francis said. “But as we learn in the tourism industry, you can say that something is going to happen, but what’s happening with science is going to take precedent”