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COVID is the Grinch who nearly stole Rexburg’s Wreathburg.

Yet, thanks to the ingenuity of Rexburg Cultural Arts Director Jed Platt, residents may look forward to enjoying the holiday season thanks to his modified version of the “Wreathburg Holiday Festival.” This is the first year that the event will be held.

Originally, Platt planned to host a three-day festival at the Rexburg Tabernacle but due to concerns over coronavirus, Platt changed his plans to present Wreathburg by decorating Rexburg’s downtown with wreaths. He’s also asking that residents decorate their front doors with those as well.

“The idea for (Christmas) in a very unusual year was ‘How do we carry on with a tradition in a nontraditional year?’” he said. “The idea is that we’re decorating the town instead of at one single location. We’re not able to host a congregating event. This way we’re all participating and enjoying everyone’s creations on their front doors.”

Residents may create their own wreaths or purchase a $5 wreath making kit at Rexburg City Hall or at the Museum of Rexburg; Home of the Teton Dam Exhibit. Proceeds from the kit sales will go toward the Historical Tabernacle Fund.

Residents are asked to take a picture of their wreath and register it at Rexburgcreates.org. They may also enter their creation into a contest where the winning wreath maker will receive a $100 grand prize.

“Through the month of December, we’ll have 12 days of giveaways. We’ll be giving experiences to find a certain wreath and to take your picture with it. We’ll give a clue to help find a wreath that might be hanging on a building downtown,” Platt said.

Residents may also buy donated wreaths to be displayed on the Rexburg Cultural Arts social media pages of Instagram and Facebook.

Wreathburg was created to help the community unite while still social distancing, Platt said.

“Even seeing this symbol on people’s doors will connect us. This whole town will come together in this, especially this time of year,” he said.

Mayor Jerry Merrill said focusing on wreaths instead of Christmas trees is a more convenient and inexpensive way to celebrate the holiday season.

“A lot of people will use wreaths and put them up, so we thought that would be a better way to go. A lot of people have their own trees,” he said.

Wreaths created so far have been incredibly imaginative, Platt said.

“We have some pretty creative wreaths made out of dog bones, and one is made out of pink hair curlers. We have one made of sticks. I have one made of coffee filters. We’ll have traditional wreaths you might want to add to your own decors,” he said.

Wreaths don’t have to be fancy, Platt said.

“Use your creativity and then express yourself and your family traditions. Give us all something fun to go about and see,” he said.

Anyone may participate in the event whether or not they make a wreath, Platt said.

“We’ll be posting prompts on social media for them to go and find specialty wreaths around town through different clues that we’ll give,” Platt said.

The hope is that individuals, families, students and roommates will buy the kits to make their own wreaths to help celebrate the Christmas season, Platt said.

“Anyone can participate who has a front door to hang them on,” he said. “We’re hoping a lot of neighborhoods will participate in this.”

To further help celebrate the holiday season, plans call to broadcast the community Thanksgiving program via Rexburg’s Cultural Arts YouTube channel. The annual holiday light show will also be held on Center Street the day after Thanksgiving and will continue through December, Platt said.

Platt said the city wouldn’t let COVID-19 ruin the holiday spirit this year. Christmas will still be celebrated albeit in a nontraditional way, he said

“Instead of feeling disappointed and panicked, we’re better prepared for next year,” Platt said.

For more information on Wreathburg call 208-821-0258 or email arts@rexburg.org.