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Santee’s Lantern Crest lights up holidays

Normally this time of year begins large festive events to celebrate the holidays. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are cancelled or have gone virtual. Some organizations are modifying events to meet COVID restrictions. Lantern Crest Senior Living in Santee is bringing a new experience with its Holiday Lights Extravaganza event for its residents and the community.

Lantern Crest Senior Living life enrichment director Brittany Fay said Holiday Lights Extravaganza is a drive-thru experience and encourages members of the community to join the fun that will entertain the entire family.

“There are hundreds of thousands of lights, displays and many neat things for them to look at,” she said. “We will also have an area where they can drive through to purchase traditional items such as hot chocolate, apple cider, coffee, cookies, brownies and cheesecake bites; all the proceeds go to benefiting our Lantern Crest Foundation. The foundation serves local seniors here in San Diego County.”

“There will be an area to take photos with the family,” she continued. “We not only wanted to do something for our residents but within Santee and San Diego County so people can experience what we normally do during the holidays, but in a safe COVID environment.”

Lantern Crest executive director Kaan Ciftci said this has been a rough year for everyone, so they wanted to do something big for its residents, family members and the local community.

“We serve a special population and most of our residents are high risk for this virus,” said Ciftci, “It has been rough on our residents, our family members, employees. Everyone is going through this. We are not by ourselves.”

Ciftci said hopefully this holiday season event will bring cheer to people, put a smile on their faces, and they will be able to take some photos that will make a memory.

“This is something we plan to do every year from now on,” he said. “We have a big community here with more than 30 acres. So we have the space and want to use it to make memories around the community. Before all this craziness happened, we were partnering with Meals on Wheels and were much more active with seniors all around San Diego, and the foundation helped with that.”

Fay said in the past, Lantern Crest geared events more toward residents and their family members for the holiday season.

“This year we did not want to not do anything, and we thought this was the best way to give our residents something to do while remaining safe and being able to do it with their family,” she said.

Holiday Lights Extravaganza is open Thursday through Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 31, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Lantern Crest is located at 800 Lantern Crest Way in Santee.

Source: East County Californian

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