The holiday season is in full swing with lots of area activities. Tree lightings and parades highlight many celebrations, as well as performances, films, markets, tours and more. Even Santa is scheduled to make appearances at several events.
Here’s a roundup of upcoming holiday happenings in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Morrisville.
Chinese Lantern Festival
The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is open through Sunday, Jan. 15, at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary. More than 20 new displays are featured. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays except for Dec. 26 and Jan. 2. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-17 and free for children ages 2 and younger. Free parking. 800-514-3849, bit.ly/1YgQHJ9, boothamphitheatre.com
A Sip ’n’ Shop preview party for the annual Holiday Shoppe is 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the Sports and Education Annex at Cary Academy, 1500 N. Harrison Ave. Tickets: $20. The market is open to the general public Thursday, Dec. 1, to Saturday, Dec. 3. Free admission. More than 100 vendors are scheduled to attend. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The event is a fundraiser for community outreach programs and need-based student scholarships. caholidayshoppe.com
‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’
The Cary Players Community Theatre Co. performs “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” Thursday, Dec. 1, to Monday, Dec. 5, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to caryplayers.org. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Cary Youth Voices perform a free pre-show concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, in the center lobby. caryyouthvoices.org Wear an ugly Christmas sweater to a show for a chance to win prizes.
The Cary theater, 122 E. Chatham St., kicks off a series of Christmas films with a screening of “Mixed Nuts” at 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. The holiday films continue through Christmas Eve. Cost: $5-$10. For a schedule of movies and showtimes, go to thecarytheater.com.
Tree lightings, parades
▪ The Town of Fuquay-Varina’s annual Christmas tree lighting celebration is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, in the municipal parking lot at the corner of East Vance and South Main streets, in the Fuquay Business District. The event will feature musical performances, a visit from Santa, sleigh rides and more. Free. fuquay-varina.org, bit.ly/2fgR0pe
▪ Apex’s annual Christmas on Salem Street festivities kick off with a tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. The event will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas carols at the Depot, children’s activities and carriage and train rides. Ticket sales for carriage and train rides begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, and are available only online at EventBrite. bit.ly/2fxMVNO
▪ The Town of Morrisville holds its annual tree lighting festivities from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Indian Creek Trailhead, 101 Town Hall Drive. The event will feature musical performances, children’s activities, a visit from Santa and refreshments. Free. bit.ly/2eUJtKr
▪ Apex’s Christmas on Salem Street celebration continues with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Downtown Fire House. Pictures with Santa are available 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Apex Depot; cost is $25. The town’s Grand Christmas Parade is 5 p.m. on North Salem Street, beginning at Apex Peakway and ending at West Moore Street. bit.ly/2fxMVNO
▪ The Town of Cary’s Heart of the Holidays celebration is Saturday, Dec. 3. Santa’s Workshop, for children ages 10 and under, is 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Herb Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave. The annual old-fashioned Holiday Open House is 4-6 p.m. at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary. Free. The town’s official Christmas Tree Lighting is 6 p.m. outside on Town Hall Campus, 316 N. Academy St. The Cary Community Christmas Tree also will be unveiled inside Town Hall. Free. For more information: 919-319-4560, bit.ly/1GWZMCJ.
▪ The Fuquay-Varina Christmas parade is 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in the downtown Fuquay district, beginning at the intersection of North Main and Woodrow streets and ending at East Academy and Woodrow Street. After the parade, the Museums of Fuquay-Varina Holiday Open House is 4-6 p.m. at the museum complex, 131 S. Fuquay Ave. fuquay-varina.org
▪ Main Street Christmas is 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at the Holly Springs Cultural Arts Center, Town Hall and various locations downtown. The free event will feature a tree lighting ceremony, Santa and Mrs. Claus, hayrides, live music, crafts and more. bit.ly/2fsSVp2
▪ The Tree of Hope lighting is 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in Room A at the Herb Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave., Cary. Free. diamanteinc.org
▪ The Happy Holly Days Christmas Parade is 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, on Main Street in downtown Holly Springs, starting at Holly Springs Road and ending at Ballentine Street. Rain or shine. bit.ly/2fylAbb
▪ The Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade is 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, on Chatham Street in downtown Cary, starting at the corner of Ward and Chatham and ending at the intersection of Chatham and West St. bit.ly/2fekkv1
Infinity Ballet Theatre
The Infinity Ballet Theatre performs “Dances of the Nutcracker” Friday, Dec. 2, to Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Tickets: $6. bit.ly/2ft3YPc
Calls from Santa
Applications to receive a call from Santa or Mrs. Claus are due Friday, Dec. 2, for interested Morrisville residents. Free. Calls will be available for children ages 3-8. For more information and an application, go to ci.morrisville.nc.us.
Wreaths and trees
The opening reception for the ninth annual Halle Hall of Wreaths and Trees Exhibit and Auction is 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Free. The exhibit and auction, which run through Wednesday, Dec. 21, is a fundraiser for Western Wake Crisis Ministry. bit.ly/2eg7pvh
Holly Jolly gingerbread
Registration is due Friday, Dec. 2, for the Holly Jolly Gingerbread Contest. The contest is sponsored by the Coworking Station and is a fundraiser for the Holly Springs Arts Council. The public can vote on entries Dec. 9-10. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/2eg36ji.
Several family Cookie Houses programs are scheduled in December at area regional libraries. Free. Four workshops are scheduled Saturday, Dec. 3, at Eva Perry Regional Library, 2100 Shepherd’s Vineyard Drive, Apex. Registration requested. To register and for more information on times available, go to bit.ly/28JmtKu or call 919-387-2100.
In Cary, four workshops are scheduled Saturday, Dec. 10, at West Regional Library, 4000 Louis Stephens Drive. Registration requested. To register and for more information on times available, go to bit.ly/1TGAywa or call 919-463-8500.
Gingerbread house contest
The sixth annual Gingerbread House Competition is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at participating downtown Cary businesses. Winning houses will be on display throughout December at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Honorable mention entries will be on display Dec. 6-16 at The Cary Theater, 122 E. Chatham St. 919-319-4560, bit.ly/1GWZMCJ
Locally Made Market
The Locally Made Market holds its first artisan market from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at The Mayton Inn, 301 S. Academy St, Cary. Free admission. There will be 15 vendors and giveaways. The first 25 shoppers will receive a tote bag. locallymademarket.com
The annual Apex Historical Holiday Home Tour is 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Apex Chamber of Commerce or the Rusty Bucket. bit.ly/2fxMVNO
Cary Community Choir
The Cary Community Choir performs Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, 110 SE Maynard Road. Free and open to the public. carycommunitychoir.org
The Be A Santa to a Senior program runs through Thursday, Dec. 8. Ornaments with seniors’ names and gift requests are hung on trees at participating locations. Shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and give it back to the store for wrapping and distribution. Trees are set up in Apex, Cary, Holly Springs and Morrisville. To find tree locations, go to beasantatoasenior.com.
Holiday Artist Market
The Fuquay-Varina Holiday Artist Market and Art Extravaganza is Dec. 9-11 at 405 Broad St., the former site of Stephens Hardware. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Art and crafts vendors, Santa and children’s activities will be featured. fuquay-varina.org, bit.ly/2fMezo1
A collection of short holiday shows – “Christmas All Over the Place,” “Ten Minutes Till Christmas” and “Bring on the Snow” – will be performed Friday, Dec. 9, to Sunday, Dec. 11, at various times at the Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Tickets: $8 adults, $6 students ages 16 and under. 919-249-1120, thehalle.org
Cary Youth Voices
The Cary Youth Voices perform a holiday concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, 110 SE Maynard Road, Cary. Free and open to the public. caryyouthvoices.org
‘Songs of the Season’
The General Assembly Chorus performs “Songs of the Season” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Tickets: $10-$15. generalassemblychorus.org
Letters to Santa
Drop off letters to Santa through Friday, Dec. 9, at the special Santa Mailbox at Cary Town Hall, 316 N. Academy St. Include the child’s name and address on each letter in order to receive a response from Santa. For more information: 919-319-4560, bit.ly/1GWZMCJ.
The United Methodist Men hold a Community Christmas Breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in the Christian Life Center at White Plains United Methodist Church, 313 SE Maynard Road, Cary. Free and open to the public. A Christmas carol sing-a-long will follow. For more information and to RSVP, go to bit.ly/2fxtcxD. 919-467-9394, wpumc.com
The Mistletoe Madness Holiday Market is noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Ballentine-Spence House, 109 E. Spring St., downtown Fuquay-Varina. bit.ly/2eZxtqB
Ride with Santa
The Wagon Ride with Santa program is 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Harris Lake County Park, 2112 County Park Drive, New Hill. Cost: $2 per person. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration required. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/1YF8gC1. 919-387-4342, bit.ly/213kQMG
Triangle Wind Ensemble
The Triangle Wind Ensemble presents “’Tis the Season” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Tickets: $5-$15. trianglewind.org
The Concert Singers of Cary present “Holiday Pops” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Tickets: $23-$25. concertsingers.org
The Friends of the Page-Walker Concert Series opens its season with a holiday concert by the Cary Youth Voices at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, in the Main Gallery at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop. Tickets: $16.50. For more information and tickets, go to bit.ly/2fPZ2HG. caryyouthvoices.org
The Cary Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” Dec. 15-18 at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $20-$25. bit.ly/2gaWeEB, caryballet.com
The group also performs a special one-hour version at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, at the center as part of the 2016-17 Marvelous Music Family Series. Tickets: $7-$8. For ticket information, go to bit.ly/21AaGHR.
‘White Christmas’ sing-along
The Cary theater, 122 E. Chatham St., holds a “White Christmas” movie sing-along Friday, Dec. 16, to Sunday, Dec. 18. Cost: $10 per show. For more information and showtimes, go to thecarytheater.com. 919-462-2055
Winter Wonderland in The District is 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, to Sunday, Dec. 18, in front of Stone Theatre at Park West Village, Village Market Place, Morrisville. Free. The event will feature two sledding hills, a children’s snow play area, train rides, music and story time with Santa. Non-perishable food items for the North Carolina Food Bank and monetary donations for Toys for Tots will be accepted. For more information and to sign up for sledding, go to bit.ly/2fuiXHz.
Suggly Sweater 5k
The third annual Suggly Sweater 5K, Fun Run and Christmas Celebration is 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Sugg Farm Park at Bass Lake, 2401 Grigsby Ave., Holly Springs. Participants can dress in their favorite ugly sweater. The event, which also will feature music, refreshments and photos with Santa, is a fundraiser for Meg’s Smile Foundation. For more information and to register, go to sugglysweater5k.com.
The Concert Singers of Cary perform part 1 of Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Tickets: $25. concertsingers.org
The Campaneria Ballet Co. performs “Journey to the Nutcracker Suite” and the KMJ Jazz Co. performs “My Favorite Things” at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20-22 at at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Tickets: $16. campaneriaballetschool.net
The 22nd annual Cary Kwanzaa Celebration is 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. This year’s theme is “It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day.” The event will feature a performance by the Kuumba Dance Co., a vendor market, children’s activities and more. 919-460-4969, bit.ly/2fS1RHc
Email your holiday event to firstname.lastname@example.org.