While cancellations in 2020 aren't really a shock anymore, they're still just as disappointing.

Officials from the Utica Zoo announced Thursday that they had made the difficult decision to cancel the remaining dates of the zoo's new 'Bright Lights' series in response to the recent rise in local COVID cases.

"We are extremely disappointed that we are forced to make this decision," Mark Simon, the zoo's visitor experience and marketing manger, said in a press release. "We were so pleased to see how much our visitors enjoyed opening weekend, so having to cancel the rest of the dates is really a decision that was not made lightly. We saw great success the first 3 nights, and in a year where we are down over $1 million in revenue, it’s devastating to all of us who have worked so hard to provide this much needed dose of holiday spirit to our community to not be able to continue. It really is a shame; with the support of all of our amazing donors, including presenting sponsors Theresa Flemma and Jason Topi at Baird, Bright Nights was positioned to be a huge success."

'Bright Nights at the Utica Zoo' made its debut just last Friday, November 27, and was scheduled to run on most Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through January 3. The event featured light displays, a giant mailbox for kids to send letters to the North Pole, and Santa Claus himself.

While the Utica Zoo may have canceled 'Bright Nights,' the zoo will remain open for regular visitors every day except Christmas from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patrons who purchased tickets to 'Bright Nights' in advance will be contacted with more information.

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