Date: November 1, 2012
The holiday season is a magical time, and Triangle towns turn on the charm this time of year. Take the family to enjoy holiday parades, carriage rides, photo opportunities with "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" and more. Mark your calendar now for these upcoming events from Apex to Zebulon, with Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary and other Triangle towns in between. Be sure to check with the event's sponsors before heading out as plans can change based on weather or other unexpected conditions.
Singing carolers kick off Christmas on Salem Street in downtown Apex Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive and the mayor lights the town's tree at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy holiday treats and sleigh and carriage rides from 6-9 p.m.
The Salem Street firehouse serves a pancake breakfast for families Dec. 1 from 7-11 a.m. Children can have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The town's annual Christmas parade is at 5 p.m. apexchamber.com.
Benson's Christmas on Main begins Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. Families can enjoy live entertainment, hot cider and cookies, strolling carolers, a tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and the town's parade at 6:30 p.m. benson-chamber.com.
A full day of holiday cheer awaits families on the streets of downtown Cary during the Old Time Winter Festival Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Enjoy arts and crafts, festive food, live entertainment and a visit from Santa.
Over at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, a historic 1868 hotel in the heart of Cary, families can experience horse-drawn carriage rides, Victorian carolers and century-old holiday traditions from 4-6 p.m. Enjoy live performances, the town's annual tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and the unveiling of a community tree decorated with handcrafted ornaments at the Town Hall Campus. townofcary.org; 919-469-4061.
Music and dance performances, kids activities and a community market highlight Cary's 18th Annual Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Cary Arts Center.
Enjoy choral groups performing holiday songs when the Town of Carrboro lights its tree at Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. in front of Carrboro Town Hall. townofcarrboro.org; 919-918-7364.
Marching bands, themed floats and Santa highlight the Chapel Hill-Carrboro holiday parade Dec. 8, which begins at 10 a.m. at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center on Franklin Street and ends at Carrboro Town Hall. chapelhilljaycees.org.
Clayton is transformed into a Christmas village with a live nativity, holiday treats, and music and dance performances Nov. 29 from 6-8:30 p.m. The event ends with the town's tree-lighting ceremony. Clayton's annual Christmas parade on Main Street is Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. downtownclayton.org; 919-553-6352.
Santa welcomes families at Durham's Holiday Fun Fest Dec. 1 from 1-5 p.m. at Durham Central Park. Sledding, inflatables, train rides, a petting zoo, face painting, arts and crafts and holiday treats are all part of the fun. durhamnc.gov.
Fuquay-Varina hosts a Christmas parade Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. on Main Street. Families can enjoy free sleigh rides in the downtown district and a tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 6 from 6-8 p.m. Bring a canned food item, which serves as a ticket for the sleigh ride, to benefit the Fuquay-Varina Emergency Food Pantry. fuquay-varinadowntown.com.
Light Up Main in Garner takes place Nov. 30 from 6-8 p.m. and features local entertainment, refreshments, and arts and crafts. The mayor leads the countdown for the town's tree-lighting ceremony at 6:15 p.m. Marching bands, floats, local merchants and Santa highlight the town's Christmas parade on Main Street Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. garnerparks.org; 919-773-4442.
Hillsborough welcomes the holiday season with a tree-lighting ceremony Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on the old courthouse lawn at Churton and King streets. The town hosts a Christmas parade Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. that begins on Corbin Street and ends at Margaret Lane. hillsboroughchamber.com.
Holly Springs' annual Main Street Christmas takes place Dec. 7 from 6-8 p.m. The event features hayrides, live entertainment, caroling and refreshments. Mrs. Claus reads stories and Santa visits with children. The night concludes with the town's tree-lighting ceremony at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center. Holly Springs' Happy Holly Days Christmas Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Main Street Dec. 8. hollyspringsnc.us.
Knightdale gets festive Nov. 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. with a tree-lighting ceremony at Harper Park on Main Street. Kids can view Santa's workshop inside the park's building and write him a letter. Knightdale's Christmas Parade takes place Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. knightdalenc.gov; 919-217-2236.
Strolling carolers, carriage rides, a tree-lighting ceremony, marshmallow roasts, kids activities and Santa highlight downtown Mebane's two-day Seventh Annual Hometown Holiday Celebration Nov. 16 from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Nov. 17 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The town hosts its annual Christmas parade Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. downtownmebane.com.
The New Hope Valley Railway in New Hill invites families to ride through the wintry woods on a train decorated with all the holiday trimmings. Santa visits with all the children on board. Santa Trains run Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. Advance ticket purchase is required. nhvry.org; 919-362-5416.
Pittsboro welcomes families to its annual Christmas parade Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. pittsboronc.gov; 919-542-4621.
Decorated floats, marching bands, classic cars and large helium balloons highlight the 68th Annual WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade Nov. 17 at 9:40 a.m. in downtown Raleigh, beginning at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary's streets. The rain date is Nov. 18. grma.org.
Live music, a visit from Santa, an outdoor skating rink, sledding, ferris wheel, carriage rides and a tree-lighting ceremony are part of the fun at the AT&T Raleigh Winterfest kick-off Dec. 1 from 3-9 p.m. AT&T Raleigh Winterfest runs through Jan. 31, 2013. raleighwinterfest.com; 919-821-6984.
Families in Selma can enjoy the town's annual Christmas Parade Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Santa lights the tree in Smithfield Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the corner of Third and Market streets, and the town hosts a Christmas parade on Market Street Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. selma-nc.com and smithfield-nc.com.
The Lighting of Wake Forest takes place Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall on S. Brooks Street. This annual event features performances by local choirs, horse and carriage rides, the lighting of a 30-foot tree and a visit from Santa. Enjoy dancing elves, decorated floats and sounds of the season during the town's Christmas parade Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. in downtown Wake Forest. wakeforestnc.gov.
Wendell ushers in the holiday season with its Lighting of the Square event Nov. 30. Live entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m.; Santa arrives by fire truck at J. Ashley Square on Third and Cypress streets; and Mrs. Claus, Santa and the Boy Scouts serve hot chocolate and popcorn in the gazebo. The mayor lights the square at 6 p.m. 919-365-6318.
Santa reads stories to children at the Wendell Community Library Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.-noon. Kids can also enjoy cookies and make a holiday craft. wendellchamber.com; 919-365-6318.
Antique vehicles, school bands and community groups comprise the annual Christmas parade in Zebulon Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. zebulonchamber.org; 919-269-6320.