When it comes to holiday family fun, there’s nothing better than a good routine dental cleaning! We’re just kidding.
Really, we’re excited to share a few of the fun, unique events Gastonia and the surrounding areas have to offer. We love our community, and these annual holiday events make for truly memorable family outings. No need to Google “holiday events near me,” because we’ve got you covered. From parades and bright lights to quiet strolls with hot cocoa, visits with Santa, and trails built for ice skating, there’s sure to be a local event that meets your holiday spirit requirements.
CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY - GASTONIA
The City of Gastonia is kicking off the Christmas season right, and everyone will be there! The festivities begin with the Gaston County Jaycees Christmas Parade, followed by the mayor, the city council, and, yes, Santa lighting the community Christmas tree at the Rotary Pavilion.
A holiday marketplace features local vendors, food trucks, hot chocolate, face painting, juggling elves, performances, and photo ops with a giant snow globe. A trackless train takes you on a spin around the marketplace so you can see all the sights. Write a letter to Santa while you’re there – rumor has it, he’ll write back!
Information is updated regularly here.
FESTIVAL OF TREES IN BELMONT
Downtown Belmont and Stowe Park will be full of festively decorated trees throughout the month of December! Local businesses, non-profits, schools, and other organizations are responsible for adopting and trimming the trees for this 4th annual event. A walk among the twinkling lights may be just what you need to get into the holiday spirit!
You can find a map of the trees, information about vendors, and more here.
MCADENVILLE - CHRISTMAS TOWN, USA
Every December for the past 66 years, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the city of McAdenville. Why? Its nickname is Christmas Town, USA!
Take a slow drive through town to see more than one mile of holiday displays, or take a walk through for an even better view of the decorations. Enjoy a large nativity display, over 250 decorated evergreens, seasonal music broadcast from the Historic McAden Mills Bell Tower, and more than 100 homes decked out for the season.
Learn more about Christmas Town, USA, here.
ICE SKATING - US NATIONAL WHITE WATER CENTER
Every winter, the US National White Water Center in Charlotte converts its white water channels to ice skating rinks. This year they’re even debuting a brand new ice skating trail in the Upper Pond. Hot chocolate and cold beverages are available on the ice when you need a break. The whole family is welcome!
Other holiday-themed events at the White Water Center include the “We Believe” Santa 5K Trail Run and Dog Jog on December 11 and the New Year’s Eve Trail Race on December 31. Prizes are available in all age groups, so these events are perfect for the active family!
THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE
Put on your jammies and get ready for hot chocolate, cookies, and Santa! Inspired by the beloved book and movie, The Polar Express Train Ride at the North Carolina Transportation Museum takes the whole family to the “North Pole” to see Santa give the first gift of Christmas. Once returning from up North, passengers will disembark at Candy Cane Lane for more fun, activities, and photos with Santa.
You can find more information and ticket links here.
Four million lights over a four-mile course featuring synchronized Christmas music and hundreds of other creative displays. That’s what you get at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Speedway Christmas! It’s a spectacular sight to behold. It can get busy, so pack a thermos of hot chocolate and some sugar cookies for the drive.
More information about one of the area’s most anticipated holiday events is available here.
SANTA AND GRINCH PHOTOS WITH YOUR DOG - LUCKY DOG BARK & BREW
Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks and Lucky Dog Bark & Brew in Lake Norman are teaming up to give your family dog a photo op with Santa Paws and The Grinch. We know your pups have been very good boys and girls this year, so why not reward them with a bit of holiday cheer. The best part is that all proceeds benefit Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks Rescue!
Pre-registration is highly recommended for this popular event. Learn more here.
LIGHT THE KNIGHTS AND CHARLOTTE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE
Truist Field is the place to be for walk-through holiday experiences. If the words “Christmas Tree Lane” and “Snowtastic Winter Wonderland” spark holiday joy for you, then a visit to Light the Knights should be on your list. Thousands of lights will illuminate Charlotte’s ballpark, along with Christmas displays, snow, trees, and holiday magic Thursday – Saturday evenings until December 23.
But the fun doesn’t end there. The Charlotte Christmas Village, the annual holiday market in Truist Field Village, will be open as well. Handmade gifts, live entertainment, visits from Santa, and a European food market make this a one-stop shop for holiday cheer.
The full schedule for Light the Knights, Charlotte Christmas Village, and other Truist Field holiday events can be found here.
We invite you to safely take advantage of all the holiday offerings in the Gastonia area. It’s a magical time of year, and we’re happy to celebrate with our community. As always, remember to brush your teeth after you finish that candy cane. Happy holidays! We will see you in the New Year!
Stay up to date
If you’re traveling to Gastonia, NC soon, be sure to check out all of these places if you can. They are all very special and beloved to Gastonia locals. There is a little something for everyone. To stay up to date on everything happening in Gastonia, check out the Gaston Gazette!