The weekend of Dec. 4-6 is set to be a busy one in the region, with all three local towns ushering in the holiday season with a variety events for the public.
In Knightdale, a local girl who has become a YouTube sensation will serve as the main draw for the town’s annual Christmas parade Saturday. The Lake Myra Christmas Lights return to light up the bevy of activities scheduled to take place in downtown Wendell on Friday. And in Zebulon, the chamber of commerce has arranged several new events, including a vendor market and tree lighting ceremony.
Here’s a breakdown, by town, of what to expect this coming weekend.
The town’s Christmas on First Avenue offerings begin with a tree lighting ceremony Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Knightdale Station Park Amphitheater.
Along with the tree lighting, there will be opportunities for writing letters to Santa, visits with Mrs. Claus and the head elves and an appearance by Santa. There will also be food trucks, music, and performances by the Knightdale High School Jazz Band, Heather’s Dance and The Dance Center.
Santa will rejoin the festivities for the annual Christmas parade Saturday at 2 p.m. The parade runs from Knightdale Elementary School up North First Avenue to Knightdale Station Park.
The grand marshal for the event will be Johanna Colón, whose popular YouTube video dancing to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” has surpassed 21.5 millions views.
Food trucks will also be present at the intersection of Main Street and North First Avenue and in the Northside Community Church parking lot during the parade.
More on Knightdale’s holiday events can be found at nando.com/2x0.
The third annual Wendell Wonderland, featuring the Lake Myra Christmas Lights, is up and running at the corner of Cypress and Third streets in downtown.
The light show, which relocated from Lake Myra Road to downtown Wendell in 2012, is one of the largest around and runs nightly through Dec. 31, so long as the weather cooperates.
The hours are 6-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6-11 p.m. on weekends. Visitors can drive by and tune into 100.1 FM to hear Christmas music synced with the light show. There will be special traffic routing for the light show.
Wendell Wonderland will also include an Evening with Santa at the J. Ashley Wall Towne Square, 10 S. Cypress St., on Friday. Santa Claus is expected to arrive at 6 p.m.
Along with the light show and numerous other activities, Wendell figures to live up to its wonderland theme Friday.
“It’s definitely a huge draw for downtown and it’s important for the kids to come out and see the lights and Santa and everything,” said Wendell Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Polaski. “I think a lot of people may not know what’s going on in Wendell, so I think it’s a good opportunity for people to come in and for us to showcase our town.”
Evening with Santa includes a wood carving exhibition at 4 p.m. and ice carving exhibition at 5 p.m. A local music showcase will begin at 5 p.m. featuring the Wendell Baptist Hand Bell Chorus, the Wendell Middle School Band and East Wake High School Honors Chorale.
The Wendell Women’s Club will hold an open house and the Council of Churches canned food drive will be held from 5-9 p.m.
Trolley rides starting at Town Square and a cookie walk at Wendell United Methodist Church will run from 6-9 p.m. during the Evening with Santa. The first of two Christmas Cantata performances at Wendell Baptist Church will also be held Friday from 7-9 p.m.
For a map of the various events, parking options and holiday traffic routes in Wendell, visit nando.com/2wp.
The Wendell Winter Market, held on the corner of Wendell Boulevard and Pine Street, will also be selling Christmas trees, garland, crafts and gifts through Sunday, Dec. 20.
The Zebulon Chamber of Commerce has rebranded its approach to holiday events in town and added some new activities for Holiday Happenings, which will run Saturday and Sunday.
The town actually gets the weekend started Friday, when Santa will make an appearance at town hall from 5:30-7 p.m.
The chamber has organized a new pop-up vendor market that will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the old Pope building in downtown, located at 209 N. Arendell Ave. Beyond shopping opportunities, the market will also feature Holiday Happenings Barbie, live entertainment, and pictures with Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
The town’s annual Christmas parade will keep its usual time slot at 2 p.m. Sunday and will follow last year’s revised route – starting at the Zebulon Community Center, traveling through downtown and turning west onto Gannon Avenue, ending at J&M Chevrolet.
A tree lighting, also new for this year, will conclude Holiday Happenings at 5 p.m. Sunday. That event will take place at 214 N. Arendell Ave., also in downtown.
The Zebulon Chamber’s Holiday Happenings information can be found at nando.com/2wq.