ALBEMARLE — Now in its second year back from a brief hiatus, the 29th annual “An Albemarle Downtown Christmas” event is back in action on Friday, Dec. 2, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Presented by the Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, the night is designed to create opportunities for local businesses and vendors to open their doors to the public.
Unlike last year, the event is not bundled on the same day as the Albemarle Christmas Parade, which is set for Saturday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m. The ADDC and Albemarle City Council had previously opted to combine the two holiday events but have reverted to their standard format due to a low turnout in 2021.
At a city council meeting back in February, council members voted to separate the events. Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall addressed the issue: “It seems like the sentiment is we’re putting all our eggs in one basket by hosting one big event.”
This year, Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael will kick off the night with the annual tree-lighting ceremony in front of City Hall at 5:30 p.m.
Down the street at Courthouse Square Park, lines of people wanting to get their picture taken with Santa Claus can begin to form. Meanwhile, 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.
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, 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.
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.
“We’re really eager to host these events and have visitors come in so we can make them feel welcome,” Joy Almond, Main Street manager for the City of Albemarle and Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation, told SCJ. “They can see all the exciting things and positive changes that are happening downtown as they come through and enjoy the festivities.”