7 Holiday Events in Raleigh You Don’t Want to Miss!

7 Holiday Events in Raleigh You Don’t Want to Miss!

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Are you looking for the best holiday events to take the family to in Raleigh? This time every year, families everywhere head out to find the best Christmas Light Shows and other holiday events to surprise their kids and get into the holiday spirit. Some go in search of the best hot cocoa or tastiest smores while others are on the lookout for the most outrageous light shows on display. 

Raleigh NC and the surrounding area offer some great options so the next time you’re in town over the holidays, be sure to check Carolina Bulletin to find out where to go.

Lake Myra Christmas Lights 

Address: 10 S. Cypress St, Wendell, NC

Start/Stop Dates: November 27th to Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

Times: Sunday-Thursday- 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

            Friday and Saturday- 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Santa: Santa will be there Saturdays 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Admission is free, but donations are accepted

Lake Myra Christmas Light Show

Lake Myra Christmas Lights is one of the most popular holiday destinations for locals and features almost a quarter of a million lights dancing in a synchronized show to holiday music. The entire town is “charged up” and the holiday spirit is everywhere. 

The Lake Myra Christmas Light Show started back in 2002 by Don Williams who wanted to do something unique and different for people to enjoy. He was among the first in the country to start using technology to manage his lightshow and each year put on a truly amazing display. Over the next couple of years more and more people got involved and soon their entire community was “lit”.  People were coming from over 150 miles away just to view this spectacular community. What started out as a fun little holiday light show began to attract thousands of people every year. 

In 2011, they realized the show was too much for their community so they partnered with the town of Wendell, NC to host what has now become a tradition for many Carolinians. 

Piper Lights

Address: 5725 Fixit Shop Road in Wake Forest, NC

Start/Stop Dates: November 29, 2019 through January 2, 2020

Times: Sunday-Thursday- 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

            Friday and Saturday- 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: Admission is free, but donations are accepted

Santa: Santa will be in the candy shop daily from 6:30-9pm Sunday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday from 6:30-10 pm except Christmas Eve. PETS WELCOME!

Piper Lights is a local, family-run Christmas light display in Wake Forest, NC. It began with a tiny manger scene 30 years ago and now features 7 acres of lights designed to spread joy and the Christmas spirit to all. This is a drive-through light display with a free train ride through the lights, an old-fashioned candy store, and Santa.

You begin by driving through the lights then you’re free to park and ride the free Santa train. You can visit with Santa and enjoy a hot beverage at an old-fashioned candy store with old-fashioned candy, popcorn, hot chocolate, cider, T-Shirts, scarves and local holiday crafts. Please note that the candy-store is cash only.  

Pullen Park’s Holiday Express

Address: 520 Ashe Avenue Raleigh, NC

Start/Stop Dates: December 4-8/December 11-15

Times: 4pm-9pm on event nights

Cost: Admission is $12.25

Santa: Santa will be available via virtual queue

Pullen Park’s Holiday Express

Pullen Park’s Holiday Express is a Raleigh tradition. One both children and adults alike enjoy every year. Pullen Park is festively decorated with thousands of lights and transformed into a holiday wonderland where you can enjoy the holiday lights and displays, a train ride, sledding down a snow-covered hill, unlimited carousel rides, crafts and a visit with Santa.

Pullen Place Cafe will be open for food purchases including delicious hot chocolate, apple cider, and dinner options! You can also pre-purchase the Limited Edition Pullen Park Ornaments at the time of your ticket order. This year’s ornament is the Carousel Tiger! A portion of the proceeds go to benefit Crabtree Rotary Foundation and supporting Rotary charities.

40th Annual Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade 

Address: Starts at East Chatham Street and Ward Street and proceeds along Chatham Street, turning left on Academy Street and ending at Cary Arts Center.

Start/Stop Dates: December 14

Times: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

 40th Annual Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade

The 40th Annual Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade is another long-standing tradition for locals and offers families an opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with local organizations, community leaders, and the Cary Jaycees!

The parade will feature over 60 floats, bands, and performers and will be led this year by long-time local resident and volunteer, Kay Struffolino. Afterwards, head to the Hilton Garden for the Cary Annual Christmas Party.

Durham Holiday Parade and Fun Fest

Address: Downtown Main Street and Fun Fest held on Blackwell Street between Morehead Avenue and West Lakewood Avenue

Start/Stop Dates: December 14

Times: 10 a.m-4 p.m.

Cost: Free

Santa: Santa will be at the Fun Fest

Durham Holiday Parade and Fun Fest

This years Durham Holiday Parade and Fun Fest will feature floats, mascots, hometown bands, drill teams, schools and community groups, and, of course, Santa. The Parade Marshal is Shelly A. Green, the immediate past president and CEO of Discovery Durham. The Fun Fest is immediately following the parade and features independent Durham retailers and craft producers and their products. 

Fun Fest activities include:

  • Peppermint Plunge – Snow sledding for children and adults (sleds will be provided, please do not bring a sled) + two snow play areas
  • North Pole – Santa Claus Meet & Greet
  • Frosty Family Fun
  • Community Care Corner – Decorate holiday cards for homebound individuals in our community
  • Vendors – Local businesses will be giving out information as well as selling arts & crafts, etc.

Upcycled Holiday Market & 2nd Friday ArtWalk

Address:​ 306 W Franklin St, Ste G​Chapel Hill, NC

Start/Stop Dates: December 13

Times: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free

Upcycled Holiday Market & 2nd Friday ArtWalk

Need to get some shopping done? Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill offers plenty of unique shopping experiences, but one in particular really shines. The Upcycled Holiday Market features local artisans selling sustainable art and unique gifts, special holiday drinks + food, sustainable holiday displays, a raffle and spin wheel for a cause, and more festive fun.  

Blue Dogwood is the first public market in North Carolina to focus on locally-produced products.  The indoor year-round market features small, local food businesses who might otherwise find it cost prohibitive to open a retail space.  Blue Dogwood maximizes the number of food vendors to spread out costs, increase foot traffic, bring a more diverse community to our customers, and create a more viable business opportunity for small businesses.

Bonus: The holiday market is during Chapel Hill’s 2nd Friday ArtWalk. Take this opportunity to view some of the areas most amazing artists and pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special. 

Theatre In the Park: A Christmas Carol

Address: 2 E South St, Raleigh, NC

Start/Stop Dates: Wed 12/11 at 7pm, Saturday 12/14 at 7pm and Sunday 12/15 at 2pm. Thurs 12/12 at 7pm, Friday 12/13 at 7pm, and Saturday 12/14 at 2pm

Times: 7 p.m..

Cost: $37.15-$86.15 each based on seating

Santa: No, but a few ghosts…

Theatre In the Park: A Christmas Carol

A Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843 and illustrated by John Leech. The story, as if you didn’t know, recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.

According to Ticketmaster, this version of A Christmas Carol is a musical comedy adaptation of the Dickens classic. The show has been performed annually since 1974 and has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” Cited as “one of the most successful shows in North Carolina theatre history”.

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