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Lights, banners, and a winter tree will help Hayward community members recognize the holidays and build community later this month, city officials said.

The city’s Light Up the Season event returns Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. in City Hall Plaza at 777 B St. in Hayward.

The themes of the event are hope and unity as the city, region, nation, and world continues to face the COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent challenge: the Omicron variant.

City officials are inviting the community at the event to light battery-powered tealight candles that the city will give out as Mayor Barbara Halliday offers a seasonal message and lights transform the rotunda and plaza.

Also adorning the rotunda will be banners and a tree will be raised representing Hayward’s diversity in faith and cultural.

Hayward firefighters will be collecting unwrapped toys for kids as part of their Toys for Kids drive and Hayward’s Animal Shelter staff will make animals available for adoption.

Backpacks will be given out to school children while supplies last. The Hayward Public Library’s book mobile will be on hand and merchants and restaurants will be participating in the event.