Despite his inconceivably busy schedule this time of year, it appears Santa Claus has a soft spot for the towns in this region.
Saint Nick is scheduled to visit all three eastern Wake County towns over the Dec. 2-4 weekend that will be dominated by light shows, tree lightings, parades and about everything else related to Christmas.
Here’s a rundown, by town, of what Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon are offering as they usher in the holiday season.
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The two-day Christmas on First Avenue will kick off with a tree lighting Friday, Dec. 2, and conclude with a parade Saturday, Dec. 3.
The tree lighting will be held at Knightdale Station Park from 6-8 p.m. There, people can see Santa, Mrs. Claus and the head elves, write letters to Santa, and enjoy food vendors, music and other activities.
Performances will include the Knightdale High School band (6 p.m.), Lauren Floyd & Company (6:20), The Dance Center (6:40), Prancing Pacers (7), Heather’s Dance (7:05), Malaby’s Crossroads Missionary Baptist Church (7:10) and Crosspoint Community Church (7:30).
The tree lighting, visit from Santa and words from the mayor will take place at 8 p.m.
The parade will begin Saturday at 2 p.m., starting at Knightdale Elementary School and ending at Knightdale Station Park.
A free shuttle will make runs from the Knightdale Walmart to downtown. Food trucks will also be present during the parade.
The third annual Wendell Wonderland event will give offer plenty of holiday outing options in the heart of town on Friday, Dec. 2.
Music begins at 5 p.m. at the J. Ashley Wall Towne Square, where trolley rides will be offered at 5:30 and Santa will arrive at 6.
One of the event’s main attractions, the Lake Myra Christmas Lights, will be up and running across South Cypress Street.
The popular light show, which moved from Lake Myra Road to downtown Wendell in 2012, opened Nov. 23 and will run through Dec. 31 – from 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The traffic route for the light show directs cars to enter on North Cypress and West Third streets and exit using Main Street. Visitors can tune into 100.1 FM to listen to music that is synchronized with the light display.
Wendell Wonderland will also offer hot chocolate and popcorn, ice carving, a Christmas craft market, a cookie walk at Wendell United Methodist Church, a music program at Wendell Baptist Church and open house at local businesses.
Parking will be available along Main Street from Wendell Boulevard to Second Street, and along Depot and Campen streets between North Cypress and North Pine streets.
Holiday Happenings in the Town of Friendly People will begin with a pop-up vendor market, visits with Santa, caroling and Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The market, featuring area merchants, specialty beverages, locally grown produce and freshly-made treats, will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the corner of North Arendell Avenue and Sycamore Street. Santa will be open for visits from 3:30-5 p.m. and the caroling and tree lighting will follow at dusk.
The town’s annual Christmas Parade, set for Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m., will wrap up Holiday Happenings.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, Arendell Avenue will be closed from Gannon Avenue to Zebulon Community Park and West Gannon Avenue will be closed from Arendell Avenue to Wedgewood Avenue.
The parade will begin at the park on South Arendell Avenue and travel through downtown, veer left onto West Gannon Avenue and end at J&M Chevrolet.
The Zebulon Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the events, is urging that no one park in downtown beginning at 1 p.m. on the day of the parade.