Akron nixes ice rink, Santa parade from winter festivities amid coronavirus


AKRON, Ohio (WJW)– The city of Akron is changing its winter programming at Lock 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The city will not have its ice rink or Welcome Santa Parade. The tree lighting event will be replaced with outdoor neighborhood events on Nov. 27. The new activities were approved by Summit County Public Health, according to the city.

“We are excited to be able to provide residents and guests with fun, safe options to celebrate the winter season this year,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news release on Friday.

“2020 looks different in a lot of ways and we’ve had to make changes to the programming to adjust, but the new activities we have planned this year truly provide something for everyone! Grab a drink in the DORA and check out the outdoor art gallery, stroll along the cottages or take in a light show at Lock 4, take your family for a round of putt-putt golf or rent an igloo for an evening. There are plenty of options to enjoy the season while following public health guidelines.”

Lock 3 Featured Events and Activities:

Akron Lights

Instead of the traditional tree lighting which occurs in Lock 3, this year the City has expanded lighting displays into several neighborhoods of the City.  These additional lighting displays will be celebrated Friday, November 27th, from 6pm – 9pm. Guests can bring family and friends to celebrate the start of the holiday season with Santa visits, music, cookies, hot cocoa and more at one of these four locations: Lock 3, Kenmore Boulevard, North Hill or Maple Valley. These neighborhood events are being put on with the help of the Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, the Maple Valley CDC, and the North Akron CDC.

The Santa visits will be conducted in a socially distanced format. Santa will be seated inside of a snow globe. Children will be able to talk to Santa from outside of the snow globe. The City may announce other Santa visit opportunities outside of these neighborhood events in the future. Specific locations for the Akron Lights events will be announced at Lock3Live.com and Facebook.com/Lock3Live. As a reminder, residents must wear masks at all times when social distancing cannot be maintained, even when outside. 

‘Twas the Night Before the Holiday Celebrations- Outdoor Art Gallery

The City of Akron and Lock 3 will be creating an Outdoor Art Gallery for the Holiday Season.  Attendees will be able to walk along Main St. and see local artists’ depictions of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “Celebrations of the Holidays.” QR Codes will also be with each rendering for reading the story or for more information about the holidays represented. Grab a drink in the DORA and take a stroll through the art gallery!


This year for the first time, Lock 3 will be offering igloo rentals! The 6 heated igloos will be available for 2 hour rentals on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays through the winter season. Guests can bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages or purchase a pre-determined package from Lock 3. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase on site. Each igloo must be rented as a whole and can hold a maximum of 8 people. Guests are encouraged to only come with members of their immediate household or those who are part of their quarantine bubble (a small group of people who form their own social circle to quarantine together).  The igloos will be properly cleaned and sanitized after each use. Information on pricing will be available soon at Lock3Live.com.

Archie the Snowman

Akron’s beloved Archie is coming home! Archie has been in Chapel Hill Mall since 2014 but this year he’s coming home to Lock 3. One of Akron’s favorite holiday traditions, Archie is returning new and improved and a little bigger (22 ft. tall)! Archie will be unveiled on Friday, November 27th. He will be located in the secure alley at Lock 3. This will give guests room to socially distance but will protect Archie from the weather. The alley is monitored via 24/7 camera surveillance.

Archie will be available for visits:

Tuesdays – Thursdays 5pm-8pm

           Fridays – Sundays 3pm-9pm

Arctic Putt-Putt Golf

This year, with social distancing in mind, Arctic Putt-Putt has been moved outdoors for families to enjoy safely. The holes have been placed around Lock 3 Park and have been covered with tents.

Putt-putt will be available to play:

Tuesdays – Thursdays 5pm-8pm

            Fridays – Sundays 3pm-9pm

Vintage Holiday Windows

The Windows to the Past consist of 8 Cottages along Garden Alley (middle of Lock 3) filled with animated Christmas displays. These classic displays have brought joy to Akronites for more than 50 years. Guests can bring friends and family to take a walk down memory lane and enjoy the holiday season of the past and present as they appreciate each display.

Lock 4 Light Show Presented by Huntington

Light Shows are coming to Lock 4 this winter season thanks to Huntington! The lights will be synchronized to music and play for 8 minute shows at the top of each hour from 5pm-9pm. The shows will include a beautifully lit 22 ft. tall LED Christmas tree, supported by dancing snowflake lights, canal lights, and flashing tree lights. Guests will be asked to maintain social distancing while enjoying the show. 

WishMas Tree

The City has free blank ornaments available now to be picked up throughout November at the Peanut Shoppe downtown.  Guests are encouraged to decorate the ornaments with materials provided and place their wishes for the New Year inside the ornament. Guests can then return the ornaments to Lock 3 on November 27th from 6pm-9pm, to watch the ornaments get hung on the tree.  Additional ornaments will be available throughout the season for people to decorate and return to be placed on the tree.

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