Just two weeks ago, Raleigh hosted its annual Christmas Parade. Always the Saturday before Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition that kicks off the holiday season in the Triangle with Santa making his first appearance as the Parade ends. Now that we have all partaken in the other annual tradition of the giving of thanks last weekend, it’s time to turn our attention to holiday festivities around Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities. To kick it off we provide you with a run down of events this weekend…one starting tonight in Fuquay-Varina!
The Apex Rotary Club hosts their annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 7th at 5pm. The parade starts in the Villages of Apex and continues south down Salem Street. Shops and restaurants along the route will be open. Take in the parade and then grab a bite to eat. When you’re finished, do some Christmas shopping in one of the many quaint stores in Historic Apex.
The Town of Cary’s annual Heart of the Holidays celebration kicks off Saturday, December 7th and it lasts all day long. Mail a letter to Santa, check out the entertainment, arts and crafts, get your Victorian Christmas on by visiting the Page-Walker Holiday Open House, and finish up with the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6pm. Fun for the whole family!
If you’re in the mood to listen to some amazing holiday music, you can also catch the Cary Community Choir’s annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 8th at 7:30pm at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian. Always an uplifting event, the sounds of this Choir is sure to bring a smile to your face.
The annual lighting of the Tower at the American Tobacco Campus takes place on Friday, December 6th. Always a festive celebration with musical performances too and the restaurants surrounding the Tower are all open as well. Grab & bite before or after! If you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, check out the Christmas by Candlelight tour (for a small fee) at Duke Homestead from 7-9pm. Then, on Saturday, December 7th head to the Holiday Fun Fest at Durham Central Park. Entertainment, Santa, and food vendors. What’s not to love about that?
The Town of Garner’s annual celebration “Light Up Main” takes place Friday, December 6th from 6-8pm. Refreshments, children’s crafts, and entertainment culminate with the lighting of the town Christmas tree. Then, on Saturday, December 7th at 2pm join all of Garner for the annual Christmas Parade. The theme this year is “All-America Christmas” in conjunction with the town’s designation earlier this year as an All-America City.
Tonight, Thursday, December 6th, the Town of Fuquay-Varina kicks off its annual Christmas celebrations with its Christmas Tree Lighting downtown from 6-8pm. They’ll be choir and other performances, refreshments, and Sleigh Rides! FUN for the whole family. Then, on Sunday, December 8th at 3pm is their Christmas Parade where Mike Wheless of WQDR-94.7 FM serves as Grand Marshall.
The Town of Hillsborough has a FULL weekend of activities planned beginning with their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 6th at 7pm. This isn’t an ordinary tree lighting either. They will be joined by the Orange Community Players dressed in Colonial wear serenading guests with Christmas Carols. Then, on Saturday, December 7th at 10am it’s the annual Christmas Parade. If you’ve got little ones, take them to watch the Parade from the Burwell School where they can grab a cup of hot cocoa and listen to Christmas Carols too (“Cocoa and Carols”). There’s also holiday home tours as well. Check their website for more information about his jam-packed weekend!
For something COMPLETELY different and unique, head to the Morningstar Marinas Eaton Ferry in Littleton, NC along the shores of Lake Gaston for their annual Boat Parade beginning at 6pm on Saturday, December 7th. If you’re so inclined, bring an unwrapped toy to donate to underprivileged children in the area too. That’s their annual fundraiser associated with the parade as well. Prizes are awarded for decorated boats!
There are TONS of events in downtown Raleigh this weekend. We picked four we think you might like.
On Saturday, December 7th is the annual IPREO Raleigh Winterfest Celebration complete with entertainment, food, ice skating, and lighting of Raleigh’s Christmas Tree in front of the BB&T building at 7pm.
If you’re feeling the need to get some exercise before partaking in all the Winterfest festivities, check out the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk also on Saturday, December 7th beginning at 10am with the 1-Mile Fun Run. This event benefits the Arthritis Foundation and is highly anticipated every year. Grab your bells and go jingle for a good cause!
The Joel Lane Museum House presents its annual A Colonial Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 7th from 11am-4pm as well. Located just around the corner from Boylan Bridge Brew Pub and the Boylan Heights district this event brings participants back to the days of old with home tours, candle making, and all kinds of activities for the kids. Then, make a return to Boylan Heights on Sunday, December 8th for the 21st Annual Artwalk from Noon-5pm. Get some Christmas shopping done as you browse and buy from local artists and craft makers.
On Sunday, December 8th visit the Town of Pittsboro for its annual Holiday Celebration and Parade beginning at 1pm. The Parade itself is at 3pm. Live music and entertainment, arts and crafts, kids activities, and of course all kinds of treats and goodies too!
The annual Johnston County Festival of Trees continues in Smithfield this weekend. Take a Saturday (9am-5pm) or Sunday (1-5pm) drive down to the Johnston Medical Mall in Smithfield to see over 50 trees uniquely decorated as this annual tradition continues. There will also be musical performances and opportunity for refreshment too!
The Town of Wake Forest kicks off their holiday season of festivities with their annual “Lighting of Wake Forest” on Friday, December 6th from 6-8pm. Performances by local choirs, the arrival of Saint Nick (including pictures with him!), and even free horse and carriage rides round out the event. More FUN for the whole family!
And that’s it for this week. If we’ve missed any of your favorite celebrations around town this weekend, please comment below!
Images by Lisa Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.