The annual luminaria at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery is one of the many public events canceled because of COVID-19.
On the Saturday of each Memorial Day weekend, Boy Scouts set out 15,000 lanterns on the Fredericksburg National Cemetery along Lafayette Boulevard. Park service officials say between 4,000 and 9,000 attend the luminaria each year.
For those who will miss the ethereal nighttime event this year, there are options.
For one, park service officials are sharing such things as stories and virtual tours through YouTube, Facebook and other social medial services.
On the other hand, unofficial luminarias are planned for Memorial Day.
One will involve a King George County Scout troop, which decided to create a real luminaria by distributing candles and bags. In another case, Fredericksburg residents plan to set up 200 luminaries between Weedon and Lee streets.
King George Scout Troop 191, which includes boys and girls, came up with the idea to promote and hand out bags and candles for people to set up in their driveways at 8 p.m. on Memorial Day.
Aaron Snyder, scoutmaster for the boys, said the girl scouts met earlier this week via Zoom to brainstorm potential community events to take part in. His wife, Andi, is scoutmaster for the girls. The couple’s son, Andon, and daughter, Aryn, are both Scouts.
The girls eventually settled on the “luminaria from home” idea, Aaron Snyder said.
“Really, the girls drove the majority of the process,” he said. “We thought it would be a good way to honor our veterans.”
The Scouts are promoting the event on Facebook, which Snyder said had been viewed 6,000 times as of Friday.
The Scouts will be handing out 500 candles and bags from 1–4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the American Legion hall on Dahlgren Road.
“Service is a big part of Scouting,” Aaron Snyder said. “I think they came up with a really good idea.”