The Christmas season is right around the corner and that means it’s almost time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! But don’t worry if you miss it because there are plenty of Christmas parades to keep you in the holiday mood this year. Like these five Christmas parades in North Carolina that feature everything from lights and candles to festive floats and of course, a visit from Santa Claus.
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North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade, Davidson & Cornelius
If you’re visiting the Lake Norman area of NC this December, make sure to check out the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade that marches through the quaint towns of Davidson and Cornelius. The parade is a favorite with the locals and features many area school groups, high school bands and civic organizations, as well as horses, tractors and even a fire truck! You’ll also want to stick around for the Christmas in Davidson celebration that takes place on Main Street and includes horse-drawn carriage rides, a live nativity, food, beverages and a wide selection of vendors in the Holiday Village.
Chapel Hill - Carrboro Holiday Parade, Chapel Hill & Carrboro
Beginning at the old Post Office in downtown Chapel Hill and ending at the Town Hall in Carrboro, this holiday parade has been an area tradition for years, which celebrates the diversity of the two communities. In fact, more than 10,000 people line the streets to see the floats, local businesses, high school bands and youth groups marching down the street, along with some elves, reindeer and of course, Santa on his sleigh. Don’t forget to bring a toy with you to donate to the Toys for Tots collection drive.
ABC 11 Christmas Parade, Raleigh
The Raleigh Christmas Parade is the largest Christmas parade between Washington, DC and Atlanta. Covering 1.4 miles and lasting approximately two and a half hours, the parade features 115 different participants including floats, giant balloons, marching bands, animals, entertainers and a few holiday surprises.
Gastonia Jaycees Christmas Parade, Gastonia
The Gastonia Christmas Parade has been hosted by the Gastonia Jaycees for over 60 years and includes over 100 entries including many of your children’s favorite Christmas characters, with awards given for best float, best performance and best overall. Before the parade begins, you can browse through the Christmas Village and enjoy food, jewelry, crafts, cookie decorating and activities for the kids. And after the parade is over, you’ll want to stick around for the Keep Gastonia Beautiful Tree Lighting Ceremony, where you can enjoy free hot chocolate, treat bags and free reindeer noses for the kids.
It's a Wonderful Life Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting, Indian Trail
Each December, the community of Indian Trail comes together for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas Parade that features floats, fire trucks, community groups, horses and more. After the parade, make sure to visit the Winter Wonderland with free activities and live entertainment. The annual lighting of the town Christmas tree will also take place after the parade.
Wake Forest Christmas Parade, Wake Forest
Recognized as one of the most popular holiday events in the area, the Wake Forest Christmas Parade includes over 100 different floats created by local businesses, school groups, churches and civic groups. Local high schools will also march in the parade and the big man himself, Santa Claus, will make an appearance before the afternoon is over. While you’re there, grab a bite at one of the many delicious restaurants in downtown Wake Forest like Backfins Crabhouse, Las Margaritas, The Lemon Tree or the Sugar Magnolia Café. Or to warm up with a hot cup of coffee, try Back Alley Coffee Roasters or Wake Forest Coffee Co.
Annual Downtown Boone Christmas Parade, Boone
Traveling through the beautiful streets of downtown Boone, the Annual Downtown Boone Christmas Parade features a variety of floats including antique cars, firetrucks, marching bands, dance groups, horse-drawn carriages and even Santa’s sleigh, as well as plenty of treats and surprises.
Greensboro Holiday Parade, Greensboro
The Greensboro Holiday Parade has been an annual holiday tradition for nearly 40 years and draws over 60,000 spectators from all over the area. In addition to professional floats, dance and drill teams, and marching bands from local middle schools, high schools and colleges, the parade also features huge balloons similar to those you’d see in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In fact, the Greensboro Parade is the only parade in North Carolina to feature these balloons, which have also been featured internationally, in countries like Mexico, Belgium and Israel.