Christmas Parades in North Carolina Guide
- West Jefferson Christmas Parade (West Jefferson NC)
- A Small Town Christmas (Banner Elk NC)
- Marion Christmas Parade (Marion NC)
- Olde Mountain Christmas Parade (Highlands NC)
- Asheville Holiday Parade (Asheville NC)
- Hendersonville Christmas Parade (Hendersonville NC)
- Winston-Salem Holiday Parade (Winston-Salem NC)
- North Mecklenburg Holiday Parade (Davidson NC)
- Bryson City Christmas Parade (Bryson City NC)
- Raleigh Christmas Parade (Raleigh NC)
1. West Jefferson Christmas Parade
Downtown West Jefferson NC
Hosted by the Ashe County Rotary Club, West Jefferson’s Christmas Parade is a great way to start the holiday season and get into the festive spirit.
The 2023 parade starts at 2PM on Saturday, November 18, and this year’s theme will “The Joys of Christmas.”
This annual parade will be putting on a show made up of local bands, dance groups, police cars, fire trucks, and an appearance from the big guy himself, jolly ol’ St Nick!
In lieu of an entry fee, parade participants are asked to make food donations to the Ashe County Food Pantry.
Admission to this North Carolina Christmas celebration is free, but get there early if you want to get a good spot.
2. A Small Town Christmas
185 Azalea Circle SE, Banner Elk NC • 828-898-8395
If you aren’t already partied out by the host of Christmas events in Banner Elk NC on the weekend of December 1-3, make time to see the Banner Elk Christmas Parade.
The annual holiday celebration kicks off at 6PM on Main Street in Downtown Banner Elk on Saturday, December 2.
Earlier in the day, you can partake in (or watch) a 5K Reindeer Run, have breakfast with Santa, join in community caroling, make ornaments and/or decorate cookies before finding a spot to see the Christmas parade roll by.
There’s also live music and hot chocolate to finish the evening off in style.
3. Marion Christmas Parade
North Main St, Marion NC • 828-652-2215
If you’re looking for North Carolina small town holiday parade, visit Downtown Marion NC on November 19, 2023.
Starting at 3PM, this year’s parade theme is “A Jack Frost Christmas.” It was chosen is in honor of Jim Burgin, who owned the Jack Frost Dairy Bar and served homemade ice cream to locals for many years.
The Marion Christmas parade starts at the intersection of Monte Vista Ave and North Main St, and will finish at the intersection of Spring St and South Main St.
Following the lead of the award-winning McDowell High School Marching Titan Band, there will be a host of Christmas parade floats decorated in the “Frosty” theme.
There will also be dancers, trucks, go-carts, and an appearance by Santa to meet, greet, and pose for photos with fans.
READ MORE: The 30 Best NC Christmas Events
4. Olde Mountain Christmas Parade
Main Street, Highlands NC • 828-526-2112
The Olde Mountain Christmas Parade returns to Main Street in Highlands NC, on December 2, 2023.
Starting at 10:30AM and running until around noon, this beloved North Carolina Christmas tradition has been delighting locals for over 40 years.
This holiday parade starts near the Hudson Library and ends by Reeve’s Ace Hardware. Spectators will line the sidewalk (and balconies) to get great views of 60+ Christmas floats, bands, and other entertainment.
The parade will end with some lively tunes by Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains marching band, so be sure to stay for the festive celebration of the season.
Starting at 11AM on November 18, 2023, the 77th Asheville Holiday Parade will be bigger and bolder than before.
The Asheville Christmas parade boasts 60+ participants celebrating this year’s theme, “Snow Globe.” The Grand Marshall Float honors local volunteers, and there will be marching bands, jump ropers, martial arts, and more.
Other highlights will include an NC Arboretum-sponsored float featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus. If you want to meet the famous couple, visit the Restoration Hotel after the parade, from 2-4 PM.
Afterwards, be sure to check out the amazing entries at the Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House Competition.
6. Hendersonville Christmas Parade
Main St, Hendersonville NC • 800-411-3812
This is a lovely holiday extravaganza, with Christmas shopping, scavenger hunts, Christmas tree lightings, bazaars, ice skating, and appearances by Santa stretching throughout the season.
But if you’re only interested in the Hendersonville Christmas Parade, it kicks off at 6 PM on December 2, 2023.
There will also be floats, marching bands, horse-drawn carriages, and a special appearance from you-know-who!
READ MORE: The 28 Best NC Christmas Tree Farms to Visit
7. Winston-Salem Holiday Parade
Intersection of Fourth and Poplar St, Winston-Salem NC • 336-794-6050
Taking place at 5PM on December 2, 2023, the Winston-Salem Ambassadors Holiday Parade is one of the most popular North Carolina Christmas traditions.
This Winston-Salem parade starts at the intersection of Fourth St and Poplar St, and will continue down to where Fourth St intersects with Liberty St. It will then turn onto Liberty, ending at the Corpening Plaza.
After all the floats, marching bands, and dancers have passed you by, head down to Corpening Plaza for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Beginning at 1PM, the 2-mile parade follows Main Street in Davidson NC and ends at the intersection of North Main St and Catawba Ave in Cornelius.
Once all the floats, dancers, and marching bands have passed, stick around for the 3rd Merry Main Street Tricycle Race. This fun holiday event finds 4-person trikes racing through an obstacle course right in the heart of town.
9. Bryson City Christmas Parade
Downtown Bryson City NC • 800-411-3812
One of our favorite North Carolina mountain towns, Bryson City is proud to present its 49th Annual Christmas Parade at 2PM on December 2, 2023.
Affectionately known as “The Biggest Little Christmas Parade in the Smokies,” this year’s unifying parade theme is “Home for the Holidays.”
Find a spot on Everett St to catch the best views of this traditional North Carolina Christmas event, which includes decorated floats, marching bands, classic cars, fire trucks, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Earlier in the day, you can partake in the Annual Cookie Walk and Christmas Bazaar starting at 9 AM, or join Santa for breakfast at the River’s End Restaurant from 9 to 11 AM.
For more family-friendly Christmas fun, stop by Governors Island Road for a wonderland hayride later that day.
10. Raleigh Christmas Parade
Intersection of Hillsborough St and St. Mary’s St, Raleigh NC • 919-755-9235
This historic parade in Raleigh became an annual event in 1939, and was only put on hold during WWII before resuming in 1945. It even continued in virtual form during the pandemic!
The 1.4-mile parade route starts at the intersection of Hillsborough St and St. Mary’s St and winds its way through Downtown Raleigh before ending on Lenoir St.
Entertainment for the holiday parade will include bands, dancers, floats, and an appearance by Santa Claus himself.
Organized by Shop Local Raleigh, downtown Raleigh shops and restaurants will all be open and filled with holiday cheer. -by Emma Gallagher; lead photo of Home For Holidays Christmas in Hendersonville NC by Todd Bush