MINT HILL, NC – The Mint Hill Times has asked me to highlight the best things the Town did to bring the community together in 2020. With people staying home more, our circle of family and friends has become smaller. Gathering, congregating, get-together, and assembly are words we have not used this year.
The pandemic has forced us to find new ways to communicate. We are spending more time on Facetime, Zoom, Teams, or Google Hang Outs to connect with people. All our public meetings have even been hosted virtually. Personally, I have learned a lot about using technology this year. It amazes me how much more fluent my grandkids are. While I am not able to be out in the community as much as I’d like, I am talking with people daily via email and phone. I have been communicating regularly with you in my Mayor Messages.
Although COVID forced us to cancel many of our events, we tried to reschedule them for later in the year. But by the time May hit, we realized we were going to have to rethink our traditional approach. It was a long summer, and going into the fall, the staff decided we needed to up our game. In lieu of the Fall Harvest Festival, we did a Scarecrow Decorating contest. We had over 65 entries. Even after the registration closed, people continued putting up scarecrows. It was great to see people getting out of their houses to share in the fun while maintaining social distance.
For the past 20 years, we have honored our veterans with a Veterans Breakfast at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church. This is a group we did not want to forget as they have done so much for our country. However, as many of them are considered most vulnerable, we had to reinvent how this looked. In the end, we held a drive-through event at Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park. Even though it was not the same as our breakfast, we were able to personally thank almost 100 veterans.
Fast forward to December: we began discussing our most cherished event, the Mint Hill Christmas Tree Lighting, and Parade. We knew there was no way we could safely gather at Town Hall to light the tree. As town staff talked about several alternatives, a Mint Hill Virtual Tree Lighting was proposed. A video was then created to capture the Christmas Spirit. Santa repelled from the building, climbed to the top of the tree on a firetruck, and lit up Town Hall with his magic wand. Santa now continues to host weekly messages to all the boys and girls of Mint Hill. We’ve worked to modify our favorite celebrations, all while keeping the safety of our community as our number one priority.
The governor recently issued a statewide Stay at Home curfew through January 8, 2021. Residents are asked to stay in their homes between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. For me, that will not be hard as I am usually asleep at that time. But I ask you to remember those businesses who are struggling because of the restrictions this pandemic has placed on our community. You may not typically go out that late, but even ordering take out can be a blessing. Your dinner may help a little girl continue with her dance lessons or a little boy achieve his dream of playing baseball. Every little bit helps!
2020 has not been the year we were expecting when the ball dropped, but we all have something for which we are thankful. Let us continue to come together as a community and focus on that.