Recognizing that publicly celebrating the holiday season in 2020 comes with a particular set of challenges, San Ramon's City Center Bishop Ranch has published an event schedule while still enforcing procedures meant to help stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
With health and safety of residents in mind, City Center has announced a series of both virtual and in-person events that range from a Halloween virtual costume contest for little ghouls and goblins, to enchanting Lighted Tree Forests, to an Indian Diwali celebration.
“While the pandemic has influenced the type and scale of the experiences we can offer the community this year, it hasn’t changed our commitment and excitement to welcome everyone here for a healthy serving of holiday cheer and goodwill,” said Alex Mehran Jr., president and chief executive officer of Sunset Development Company, owner and operator of City Center Bishop Ranch.
To accommodate increased outdoor activities, Mehran added that City Center now features newly designed heated and expanded outdoor patio areas for events, shopping and dining.
All holiday season events and in-store promotions have been designed to instill holiday spirit for San Ramon Valley residents, while still providing assurances to City Center visitors that all necessary health safety precautions have been taken.
To help promote the holiday season starting with Halloween and running all the way through New Year's Day, City Center Bishop Ranch has planned the following special events and promotions:
Halloween Virtual Costume Contest
Oct. 29 through 31, residents are invited to visit City Center and take photos of their little ghouls and goblins decked out in their best Halloween costumes against a festive selfie wall in Alexander Mehran Square.
Be sure to upload photos on social media using the tag @CityCenterBishopRanch and hashtag #CityCenterBishopRanch to be considered for special prizes.
Categories include Pets, Kids Under 12, Scariest and Most Creative. Winners will be announced on Halloween via City Center's Instagram and Facebook pages and will receive gift cards to various City Center stores, including Pottery Barn Kids and George.
Known as the festival of lights, this year's holiday will be held on Nov. 14 but celebrated at City Center on Nov. 12 through 14.
Diwali is India’s largest and most important annual holiday and is celebrated by thousands of San Ramon residents. According to City Center officials, the holiday symbolizes the “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”
City Center will observe Diwali 2020 with a Rangoli art experience and Diwali and Indian-themed music, among other festivities.
The 12 Days of Giveaways
Held Dec. 12 through 24, the 12 Days of Giveaways is a City Center-sponsored event meant to "celebrate its loyal customers and followers by gifting unique, hand selected items to 12 lucky winners."
Each day of the promotional week, City Center will post a photo in its Instagram and Facebook stories of Santa hiding a special gift bag in one of the Center’s stores. The hidden gift will be awarded to the person who finds it first.
Daily winners will further be recognized by having their photo posted on the center's social media sites.
Holiday Shopping and Cider Stroll
Set to be held on Nov. 27 (Black Friday) and Dec. 18, City Center will light up with festive community activities and sparkling decorations for holiday shoppers. To welcome shoppers, the snow queen and king will be present saying hello on socially distanced stilts.
Strolling carolers will also be present to fill the center with the holiday music and cheer, as guest sip cider while shopping.
Virtual Visits with Santa
Yes, even Santa Claus has to follow social distancing policies, but he's not going to let that stop him from visiting with all the kids of the world to hear their holiday wishes. This year, Santa will be streaming on a large screen located in Alexander Square.
Set to be held on Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20, children will be able to socially distance gather, chat with Santa live and drop letters to him in a special North Pole mailbox.
Lighted Tree Forests and Other Holiday Decor
Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, the center will be decked out in a variety of spectacular holiday décor designed to create holiday memories and help get visitors into the holiday spirit.
A total of 11 Christmas Trees -- ranging from 8’ to 12’ high -- arranged in three Christmas tree “forests” will be placed throughout City Center, with all three featuring a different holiday theme, offering visitors the perfect backdrop for their holiday photos.
To help stem the spread of the coronavirus and keep visitors safe, City Center has installed a number of safety policies and procedures for visitors and staff to follow when on the property. According to Bishop Ranch officials those procedures include:
* Outdoor dining patios expanded to accommodate social-distancing guidelines.
* Tables and chairs at sit-down restaurants reconfigured to ensure appropriate spacing among diners.
* Voluntary health screen and temperature-check station located in Alexander Square.
* Sanitation stations equipped with hand sanitizers installed at four locations throughout Alexander Square.
* Signage outlining precautions visible to all center guests.
After months of state mandated closures, businesses in Contra Costa County were able to begin conducting limited indoor operations on Sept. 29 due to improving coronavirus infections rates.
Currently, according to Contra Costa Health Services, places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can be operated indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
Additionally, indoor shopping malls and other retail stores can operate at 50% maximum occupancy, instead of 25%.
Residents can find a list of City Center businesses that are operating, as well as their hours, online at www.citycenterbishopranch.com.