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Epiphany Celebration In Tarpon Springs Will Be Closed To Public

Teenage divers in Spring Bayou
Roberto Roldan/WUSF Public Media
Divers in the annual Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration emerge from the water in 2018.

The event will be held, but with several changes to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The annual Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs will take place Jan. 6, but will not be open to the public.

City officials announced several changes Tuesday in an abundance of caution over the coronavirus pandemic.

The traditional procession from Saint Nicholas Church to the bayou at Craig Park around noon for the blessing of the bayou and cross throw will be scaled down, officials said. It will only consist of the 55 divers — ages 16-18 — clergy and select dignitaries.

The park also will be closed to prevent crowds from gathering, but parishioners can attend the blessing at Spring Bayou with a pass that will be provided in advance.

In addition, the church will be open at 50% capacity, and officials are urging parishioners to stay at home and view the event on a live stream on its website. It will also be carried live on Spectrum Bay News 9.

Among the other changes:

  • Those in attendance are asked to adhere to CDC guidelines of wearing masks and social distancing;
  • Only two family members for each diver can attend;
  • The annual Glendi Celebration following the cross dive is canceled.

The event, in its 115th year, features young men diving into the water to retrieve a wooden cross and the good luck that goes along with it. The Greek celebration is meant to signify the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

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