2021 Holiday Events in Cary, NC

Cary, NC — Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa (or all of them!), here is a long list of events to consider adding to your seasonal celebrations in Cary.

November 19: Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting

4-7 PM | Waverly Place | 302 Colonades Way

If you’re looking for a fun way to kick off the holiday season, consider Waverly Place’s Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting Celebration this Friday.

Join the retailers and restaurants for a special Holiday Open House from 4-7 PM. Guests can stroll through Waverly Place to enjoy special tastings, sales, promotions and in-store events. A full list of participating locations will be available soon! In addition, families can enjoy strolling juggling and stilt walking acts, face painting and caricature artists.

Live musicians will take the stage at 6 PM as guests gather in The Park for the Tree Lighting Celebration. Enjoy a performance from the Athens Drive Magnet High School Band at 6:45 PM and then welcome Santa to the stage for a countdown to the tree lighting. Following the tree lighting, Santa and  Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

November 30: Cary’s Menorah Lighting

November 30, 2021 | 5:30 p.m. | Cary Arts Center

Celebrate the Festival of Lights outside the Cary Arts Center as the menorah is ceremonially lit on the third night of Hanukkah.

The Town of Cary has partnered with the Beth Shalom congregation, Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary, and Chabad of Cary for a special celebration with treats, fun for kids, and holiday music for all to enjoy. Rabbis Ariel Edery (Beth Shalom) and Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar (Chabad) will be performing the lighting ceremony and will be joined by speaker and Jewish Federation chair, Amy Bush.

December 3: Town of Morrisville Tree Lighting

6-8 PM | Indian Creek Greenway & Trailhead | 101 Town Hall Drive, Morrisville

Join our neighbors in Morrisville as they kick off the holiday season with the Town of Morrisville Tree Lighting event!

Santa Claus and the Town Council will be counting down the lighting of the tree after some fun and entertainment. Visit the special events page for up-to-date details.

December 3-6: It’s A Wonderful Life, Live Radio Play

Inspired by the classic American film, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. Five actors perform the dozens of characters in the radio play.

The cast and crew of The Cary Players Community Theater Company will be putting on 5 shows in 4 days! Don’t miss the chance to buy tickets and read even more about the show on The Cary Players website.

December 4: Town of Cary’s Heart Of the Holidays Celebration

Cary’s Official Tree Lighting

6 PM | Town Hall Campus

Welcome the holiday season with the official Christmas tree lighting for the Town of Cary. This festive night features actors, singers, and musicians from the community and is capped by the lighting of the official Town of Cary Christmas Tree.

Gingerbread House Competition

Visit Downtown Cary as it is transformed into a walking gallery of amateur gingerbread houses. Local participants work hard to design, create, and display a gingerbread house that is yummy enough for an elf’s visit!  All houses will be on display in select downtown businesses on Saturday, December 4 with the winners being displayed all December long at the Cary Arts Center.

Want to participate? There’s still time to sign up before the 5 PM deadline on Tuesday, November 23. See the open registration page.

Victorian Christmas at the Page-Walker

3-6 PM | Page-Walker Arts & History Center

Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere at the old hotel this winter!

There will be cookies, carolers, an activity for kids, heritage music, and opportunities for festive photos in the garden. Weather-permitting, most activities will take place outside.

December 5: Cocoa with Santa at Crossroads

Crossroads Plaza | 11 AM – 2 PM

Come on by Crossroads Plaza for free Cocoa with Santa on Dec 5th, 11 AM – 2 PM in front of Dicks Sporting Goods. Everyone gets free hot cocoa and to say hello to Santa. Plus, the first 200 families will also receive a free Christmas ornament.

December 5: Fortnight Before Christmas Party

5 PM | Fortnight Brewing Company

This unique, virtual-style race will benefit US Veterans Corps Toys for Lil’ Troops. Running from Nov. 28-Dec. 5, the race results will be posted on December 5th at 5 PM and an in-person party will be held afterward at Fortnight where racers and supporters can enjoy some great beers.

This race is brought back this year in partnership with Fit & Able as part of their holiday race series. This year the Fortnight Before Christmas will be all virtual with 1 Mile, 2 Mile, or 3 Mile race options.

For more on racer swag and post-race party foods, see the race website.

December 9: Cary Town Band Winterfest Concert

7:30 PM| Cary Arts Center

Celebrate Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Beethoven’s 251st birthday, and more with the Cary Town Band. For additional info visit their website

December 11: Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade

2-4 PM | E. Chatham Street

Bring your talents and holiday cheer to the 42nd annual Cary Jaycees Christmas Parade in downtown Cary. The parade is a joyful celebration that includes bands, mascots, local businesses, community groups, and churches.

The parade starts on E. Chatham Street at Ward St, proceeds down E. Chatham to S. Academy Street, turns left onto S. Academy Street, and ends at Dry Ave in front of the Cary Arts Center. See the map and more details on the parade’s Facebook Event Page.

December 11: The Concert Singers of Cary’s Holiday Pops Concert

7:30 PM| Cary Arts Center

Get into the holiday spirit with the wonderful sounds of the talented Concert Singers of Cary as they perform all your holiday favorites. Tickets

December 12: Gingerbread Cookies & Crafts

1-3 PM | Parkside Town Commons, Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios

Bring the family and create mini gingerbread cookies together that will leave Santa asking for seconds!

At Flour Power, kids will get to stir, decorate and enjoy gingerbread cookies and also have some fun making gingerbread crafts that you can take home to enjoy too! The cost for this experience is $39 for 1 adult and 1 child. $15 per additional person. Here’s the event/registration page.

December 17-19: Cary Ballet Company’s Nutcracker

Various Times| Cary Arts Center

The Company presents its full-length and mini-performances to a live audience this year.  The classic holiday ballet follows Clara and her fantasy dream world of princes, and fairies, with wind-up living dolls, a strutting soldier doll and more. After the Saturday Matinee performance, there will be a Ballerina Tea. For all show information visit their website

December 18-19: A Very Merry Cary Holiday Market

4-8 PM | Old Library Site, 310 S. Academy Street

Join us this holiday season for 2 evenings in downtown Cary to shop local! We are taking over the Old Library Site on Academy Street for a holiday event you don’t want to miss, including:
  • Over 30 local artisans
  • Food Trucks
  • Santa
  • Holiday lights
  • A lifesize snow globe (Dec. 19th only)
  • Holiday Themed stilt walkers from Imagine Circus
  • Live Music

December 30: Cary’s 27th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration

12-4 | Cary Arts Center

Don’t miss the 27th Annual Cary Kwanzaa Celebration at The Cary Arts Center. Cary Kwanzaa is a communal, cultural celebration that honors African-American people and their heritage. The Kwanzaa Celebration is produced by the Town of Cary in partnership with the Ujima Group Inc. Here’s the day’s full lineup:

  • 12-2 PM: Children’s Village: storytelling, African Dance, drumming
  • 2 PM: Traditional Kwanzaa Ceremony: presented by the Ujima Group, Inc.
  • 2:30 PM: United Strings of Color: The Yoruba tale of Ijapa and Mr. Igbin. Music & narration
  • 3 PM: Harambee Collective: Art of African Dance and Music

Story and featured image by Ashley Kairis. Photos courtesy of participating organizations and business websites.

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