Published: 17:22, 16 September 2020
| Updated: 19:19, 16 September 2020
Two of a city's biggest festive celebrations and gatherings have been cancelled and a third is in doubt in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.
Organisers have been forced to pull the plug on the popular Christmas Eve community carol singing and the traditional switching-on of the Christmas lights in Canterbury while the St Nicholas Festival parade is under review.
All three attract large packed crowds in their thousands which are being discouraged as the fight against the spread of coronavirus continues.
It will be the first time the charity carol singing, organised by the Lord Mayor of Canterbury's Christmas Gift Fund, has been cancelled in its 67-year history.
The event raises money to help pay for up to 500 festive goody parcels to be delivered to the elderly and needy in the area.
But chairman Sally Waters says the decision to abandon this year's gathering was taken with "heavy hearts" by the committee on Monday night.
"It's sad because it's such a popular event but we really had no choice in the current climate," she said.
"We've done it with heavy hearts because we know how much people look forward to it.
"But we are not going to abandon those who are grateful for our support every year and look forward to our visits and receiving their parcels.
"We have enough money in our reserves and are looking at what we can do, even if it means just sending out a voucher
"We are also planning to play some carols on our Facebook page with a message from the Archbishop who would normally attend the carol singing."
Canterbury Business Improvement District, known as BID, arranges the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony, usually with celebrity stars of the Marlowe Theatre pantomime in attendance.
But the show has already been cancelled and now BID has decided to pull the plug on the official switching on of the lights which happens in early December and launches the start of Christmas in Canterbury.
The city will still be illuminated by five miles of sparkling lights and its traditional Christmas tree, but there will be no razzmatazz and music normally associated with the occasion.
And BID says it will be doing its best to support traders and shoppers to still have an enjoyable experience.
Chief executive Lisa Carlson said: "Our Christmas Light Switch-on event is always very popular, but in the current climate and with government guidelines we cannot safely bring 5,000 people into the city centre at one time.
"Christmas is definitely going ahead, but just like we have seen this summer, some elements have to change.
"It won’t stop us creating a Christmas experience in the city that is safe and welcoming for everyone.
"Visitors will still be welcomed by five miles of twinkling lights across the city - spreading plenty of Christmas cheer."
Still going ahead with be the Christmas window contest, a city-wide Christmas trail and the outdoor Christmas market.
The St Nicholas Day Parade in the city centre celebrates "the true meaning of Christmas" led by Father Christmas in splendid robes and beard, played by Canon Jim Rosenthal who founded the festival.
For the past 20 years it is has been a highlight of the festive season involving schools and music groups.
But Canon Rosenthal says the event may be in doubt with organisers now reviewing the situation.
Already cancelled is the Marlowe Theatre pantomime and the ice rink in the Dane John Gardens.