Metro holiday event at Union Station adapts to COVID-19 guidelines

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twenty-thousand shoppers visited the Strawberry Swing Holiday Market at Union Station last year. However, due to the pandemic organizers were forced to downsize this year. 

Katie Van Dieren owns and operates the fair. She was one of the first events to submit a waiver request to the health department. 

Normally the Holiday Market would welcome thousands of guests but due to COVID-19 guidelines, only 150 people were allowed on site at one time. 

“We had a plan in place already, and we had watched a bunch of trainings, and stuff like that. So when Mayor Lucas announced the new restrictions, I think it was last week or two weeks ago, I already had a plan in place. I think I was like the third one in line with the health department. I was like I’ve already got my plan please say OK.” Van Dieren, said. 

Shoppers at the Holiday Market tell FOX4 that they are happy to have a holiday event at all.

“It’s helpful to everyone I mean it has been a very stressful year. Anything that you can do to just get out and get some fresh air, see some people, but yet maintain a safe distance, and get to socialize in some respect has been helpful. It helps the psyche.” Tracey Castleman, a shopper, said.

Local resident Peggy Petersen didn’t get to spend the holidays with her family because of the 10 person indoor limit.

The Holiday Market allowed her to celebrate the holidays with her granddaughters. 

“It’s been kind of very strange because we can’t really gather. We weren’t able to gather as a family for Thanksgiving,” Petersen said. “When my granddaughter invited me to come here today, I thought what a great way to at least connect with her out in the open, being safe and enjoy some time together.”

The Strawberry Swing Holiday Market will be at Union Station until December 20. 

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