A Kannapolis Christmas returns this holiday season with events that have become treasured family traditions in the region. The official kick off will be the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony & Celebration of Lights at 6 p.m., Saturday, November 18 at Village Park at 700 West C Street.
David Whisenant, an award-winning journalist with WBTV will be the special guest of honor along with Santa Claus as they light the City’s Christmas Tree. For over 30 years David has covered Cabarrus and Rowan Counties telling the stories of the people who live here and providing information on the events and situations that impact the area. David has announced that he will retire in December 2023.
Following the lighting of the tree there will be live musical performances and much more.
The Celebration of Lights and Winterland Express will then be open and run thru December 30.
The annual tradition of the Celebration of Lights includes hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights in dozens of displays throughout Village Park. Adults and children are welcome to ride the Winterland Express, a g-24 scale replica CP Huntington engine, and count down the 12 Days of Christmas as you view unique holiday light displays from the popular song.
Attendees will also be able to ride the Village Park Double Decker Carousel. Manufactured in Italy, it features 1,800 lights, Brazilian oak decking, and charming hand painted Venetian murals that are sure to get you into the spirit of the holidays.
Santa will stay at the park and children of all ages will be able to visit him and have their photo made for free. Bring your phones and cameras for plenty of selfies.
Maestro Leonard Bearstein and the famed Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra is back this year, spreading their holiday magic in Kannapolis. The 18 animatronic bears will delight children and adults alike with their witty banter, inspiring instrumental pieces, and traditional favorite holiday songs! Visit the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra in the Village Park Multi-Purpose Room throughout the Celebration of Lights.
The Celebration of Lights also features performances from our very own Kannapolis Singing Bears, the Chuckles Quartet, who will entertain you with a Christmas Carol performance. The Chuckles Quartet are housed outside in Village Park. Both sets of Christmas Bears have an impressive lineup filled with holiday banter, music, and fun.
Throughout the month of December area choirs and a holiday marketplace with area artisans will also be on hand to make your visit more enjoyable.
Food and drink is available for purchase. Enjoy the fire pit and making of s’mores and much more.
Admission to the park and viewing of the lights and bears is free; tickets are required to ride the carousel and train. Purchase carousel tickets onsite at Village Park. They will be available on a first come basis each evening.
Reserve your seat on the Winterland Express, Sunday thru Thursday, by purchasing a ticket online at www.kannapolisnc.gov/Christmas. Walkup onsite tickets will be available if space allows. During the Tree Lighting Ceremony and every Friday and Saturday tickets may be purchased onsite at Village Park on a first come basis for the Winterland Express.
Tickets are $2 per person for the train and $2 per person for the carousel.
November 18 - December 30 – Celebration of Lights –Open 6-9 p.m. Sundays thru Thursdays; 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) Come to Village Park and enjoy all the beautiful lights and displays in celebration of the holidays. Area choirs and school groups will perform on select evenings. Bring your wish list for your visit with Santa – you are welcome to take your photo with him at no charge. Other activities include making a holiday craft, enjoying smore’s around the fire pit and much more. Local craft and artisans will be on hand on the weekends so come prepared to do your Christmas shopping. Food trucks will have food and drinks for sale.
November 24-26 – Begin your holiday shopping Thanksgiving weekend at the Holiday Market. Local vendors and artists will have plenty of holiday goodies to choose from stocking stuffers to those hard-to-find gift items, the market will have something for everyone. The market will be inside Kannapolis City Hall, 401 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Food and drinks will be on sale. Free admission.
December 9 - The Kannapolis Christmas Parade begins in downtown Kannapolis at 6 p.m. – This special nighttime parade travels through the streets of downtown Kannapolis and usually lasts until 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in participating in the parade as a sponsor or a float entry visit www.kannapolisnc.gov/christmasparade.
Direct Links to Register for the Parade:
Any Float Entry: https://www.kannapolisnc.gov/Government-Departments/Parks-Recreation/Kannapolis-Christmas/Parade-Application
Band Entry: https://www.kannapolisnc.gov/Government-Departments/Parks-Recreation/Kannapolis-Christmas/Parade-Band-Applicatio