Hickory – The City of Hickory will host its annual holiday season kick-off event, the Lowes Foods Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting, on Friday, November 19. Lowes Foods has been the sponsor of this festive event since the first year.
A special procession of the Fallen Heroes ministry to honor fallen soldiers from North Carolina will begin at 5:45 p.m., preceding the parade, which will directly follow at 6 p.m.
Reverend Reggie Longcrier, longtime Chaplain of Catawba Correctional Center, has been selected as the grand marshal of the parade and will lead the floats, vehicles, and participants through downtown. Rev. Longcrier is the founder of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church in Hickory, which is admired for its diversity, inclusiveness, and innovative approach for reaching minority populations. He is also the founder and executive director of Exodus Homes, a faith-based United Way organization dedicated to providing transitional to permanent supportive housing for people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison.
Parade entries will be announced by hosts City Manager Warren Wood and Deputy City Attorney Arnita Dula and broadcasted through the new speakers along 1st Avenue NW. A committee made up of community leaders and volunteers will serve as judges of the parade and give awards for Most Creative, Most Christmas Spirit, Best Well-Crafted Theme, and Best of Show.
At the conclusion of the parade, Santa’s float will stop at Union Square so he can light the Christmas tree in Downtown Hickory. Holiday music by Hickory Music Factory will be performed until 8:30 p.m. Although Santa will be departing for the North Pole after the tree lighting, the Snow Sisters of Once Upon A Time Entertainment at The Studio will offer socially distanced photos from inside their winter wonderland snow globe on Union Square.
The Newton Depot Christmas Layout, sponsored by the Newton Depot Authority, will display two beautiful 8-foot by 6-foot trains and a moving trolley on The Sails on the Square Stage for all to see.
Visitors can also stop by the Hickory Downtown Development Association’s table to write a letter to Santa and mail it to the North Pole.
Numerous downtown businesses will remain open throughout the event and offer specials, making the evening a great time for patrons to begin their holiday shopping.
The parade will follow the following route:
Parade starts at the intersection of 4th Street NW and 1st Avenue NW
Continue on 1st Avenue NW towards City Hall
Turn right on North Center Street
Turn right on Main Avenue NW
Continue through Union Square and exit on Main Avenue NW (Santa will be dropped off at Union Square before exiting downtown.
2019 City of Hickory’s Christmas tree on Union Square