ALBEMARLE — After a hiatus last year due to health and safety concerns, the annual Albemarle Christmas Parade and “An Albemarle Downtown Christmas” event will both be back in action on Nov. 27.
Presented by the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, the parade will begin at 4 p.m. and then transition into the downtown event until 9 p.m., creating opportunities for local businesses and vendors to open their doors to the public.
While both events have landed on different days in prior years, the Albemarle City Council decided that the two could be combined into one larger event for 2021’s holiday cycle.
“We had several businesses that expressed the desire to combine the two events into one day, so we brought that idea to the city council and they approved it,” Joy Almond, Main Street manager for the City of Albemarle and Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, told SCJ. “We thought that Small Business Saturday would also be a really great day to host these events.”
Following the conclusion of the parade, Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael will kick off the 28th annual “An Albemarle Downtown Christmas” at 5:30 p.m. with the annual tree-lighting ceremony in front of City Hall.
During that same time slot, the City of Albemarle is hosting two Christmas movie showings with free popcorn and hot chocolate provided — event attendees can watch “Elf” on a projector screen next to City Hall or have the option of watching “The Polar Express” at The Gathering Community Church.
“We’re really eager to host these events and have visitors come in so we can make them feel welcome,” Almond said. “They can see all the exciting things and positive changes that are happening downtown as they come through and enjoy the festivities. We weren’t able to do anything last year because of COVID-19, so we’re looking forward to getting back to normalcy this year with our events.”
Down the street at Courthouse Square Park, lines of people wanting to get their picture taken with Santa Claus can form. Multiple hayrides wrapped up in Christmas lights will circle the downtown area, riding by a pair of live ice-carving displays set up on the street.
Meanwhile, dining options will be available at Food Truck Corner, located at the parking lot of First and Main Streets. What-a-Burger #13, Higgins & Son Barbecue, Mottzarellas, and J&M Food Shack will join other vendors along with a station offering beverages from the Badin Brews taphouse.
Local downtown restaurants such as Off the Square, Five Points, Goody Shop Café, and Tiffany’s At The Boardroom will be open with extended business hours during the night. Stanfield country music singer Dustin Curlee — a recent American Idol contest — is set to hold a performance at Tiffany’s At The Boardroom.
Additionally, the Stanly County History Center, Stanly County Public Library, and Albemarle Music Store will each be open with special Christmas displays and activities for kids.