Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some featured activities may change or be canceled. Please check to ensure the event will be held as scheduled.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now the holiday season is officially here. Christmas trees, holiday lights and decorations abound around every corner. But what is there to do? Lots, if one knows where to look. So, grab the keys, get in the car and see the sights.
Ready to see some lights? Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation is proud to announce a COVID-19-safe Christmas in the Park event this season. The holiday lights extravaganza is coming to Arnette Park, 2165 Wilmington Highway Dec. 6-10, 13-17 and 20-22, 6-9 p.m. nightly excluding Fridays and Saturdays. Participants are asked to remain in their vehicles to drive-thru the park to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. Admission is free for the event. Visit www.fcpr.us.
Each year, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden features Holiday Lights in the Garden, a self-paced holiday lights garden tour through a beautiful garden setting. The lights are featured on weekends Dec. 3-23 from 6-9 p.m. nightly. The whole garden will be lit with lights and transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring Santa Claus, s’mores, entertainment and more. Additionally, CFBG keeps a full calendar of daytime offerings for kids so parents can bring their children for outdoor activities and education. Be sure to check out the new children's garden and learn about plants and animals while spending a day together in nature. Find out more details at www.capefearbg.org.
Another traditional drive-thru favorite is the Lu-Mil Winery Festival of Lights at 438 Suggs-Taylor Rd. in Elizabethtown, just south of Fayetteville. For $10 per person, you can see miles of beautiful lights amid outdoor scenery. The event will be 6-10 p.m. nightly Dec. 17-23 and Dec. 26-28. For more information visit https://lumilvineyard.com
For onstage holiday entertainment, the Gilbert Theater presents "The Carols," a witty musical telling the Carol sisters' story as they struggle to get the town's annual performance of "A Christmas Carol" off the ground. The men are off fighting in the war, but the show must go on! Performances are Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6 and 18-20. Go to https://gilberttheater.com/ to get the scoop.
The Cape Fear Regional Theatre's famous "Best Christmas Pageant Ever” will not be produced this year, but be sure to check out the theater’s new winter camp for ages 8-14, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Go to https://www.cfrt.org/ for more information.
The Rotary Club Annual Christmas Parade scheduled for Dec.12 has been canceled. Not to dampen the holiday season, the Rotary Clubs of Fayetteville are organizing another thrilling event to replace the parade. The members have decided to take Santa on a tour throughout select neighborhoods because, “if the kids can’t see Santa in the parade, why not take Santa to them?” This will hopefully soften the disappointment from the canceled parade.
Following a melted snowman cocoa from The Coffee Cup downtown, make your way to the 1897 Poe House for a historical take on the holidays. The 1897 Poe House will be decorated for Christmas through Jan. 9, 2021. Learn more at www.capefear.ncdcr.gov.
For out-of-town fun, enjoy holiday events a short sleigh ride away over in Lee or Moore counties. The Temple Theater in Sanford is performing the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 3-20. The ghostly visits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come transform the curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge from greedy and selfish to sympathetic and caring. The classic tale weaves a story showing viewers the importance of kindness and generosity in the true spirit of Christmas. See www.templeshows.com. Lace-up those running shoes, grab some antlers and get ready for Moore County's 14th Annual Reindeer Fun Run Dec. 1-14 this year a virtual event. Register and complete your race at any time during this period. Go to https://reindeerfunrun.com/ for a few pedestrian-friendly course suggestions.
No matter the day, Fayetteville and the surrounding area have many holiday activities for families and singles. Now is the time to start planning the festivities.
This article also appears in the December issue of Womens View magazine.
Pictured:(Left) Christmas light displays are being modified to comply with COVID-19 restrictions for mask wearing and social distancing. Visitors will remain in their vehicles as they drive through the Christmas in the Park light display at Arnette Park. (Right) There are light displays in Fayetteville and in surrounding areas like this one at Lu-Mil Winery in Elizabethtown.