The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, in collaboration with the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, are excited to announce the return of the Community Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Over 40 diverse community groups and performers will proceed down Franklin Street to celebrate the season and highlight a variety of winter holiday traditions. The parade will start in Chapel Hill at a new location, at the intersection of Church and Franklin Streets, and finish at Carrboro Town Hall.
The parade aims to celebrate the season, highlight diverse traditions, and bring community together in the downtowns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Spectators can expect to see parade activations from arts organizations like The ArtsCenter and Musical Empowerment, and cultural groups such as The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History, El Centro Hispano, and the Chapel Hill Chinese Folk Dance Club. Acapella show choirs and local school marching bands will also be in attendance. UNC-Chapel Hill’s beloved animal mascot, Rameses, plans to participate as well.
The parade has been on hiatus since 2019, and the new planning partners coalesced around a shared interest to make this beloved tradition more diverse and reflective of the community. An open call for participation was issued this fall and organizations with diverse cultural and faith traditions were encouraged to apply.
“We’re excited to add community anchor organizations to the roster, including the Jackson Center and El Centro Hispano, and we look forward to welcoming back some familiar entries such as local marching bands and school choirs,” says Susan Brown, Executive Director of Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture.
The parade route will take participants through the downtown areas of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Matt Gladdek, Executive Director for the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, is excited to bring the parade back to the downtown. “It’s important to highlight the downtown area as the civic and cultural center of Chapel Hill.” The route is symbolic of the connection between the two municipalities.
“We are excited for the return of the holiday parade as it is a great opportunity to bring together our two towns in celebration of our shared values and of the diverse range of holiday traditions that make our community such a great place to live,” states Charles Harrington, the Interim Director Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources for the Town of Carrboro.
On Dec. 3, West Franklin Street will be closed for a short time for the parade. W. Franklin Street between Columbia Street and Church Street will be closed to motor-vehicle traffic beginning at 8:30 a.m. The remainder of W. Franklin Street between Church Street and Merritt Mill Road will be closed to vehicles beginning at 10:15 a.m. until the end of the parade enters Carrboro at about 11 a.m. The parade is expected to end at Carrboro Town Hall around 12:30 p.m.
Spectators are encouraged to arrive early and linger afterwards, taking advantage of the local restaurants and shops.
The parade is being planned and organized by the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, Carrboro Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Resources, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. To learn more, visit chapelhillcarrboroparade.org.