The annual “Lights on the Square” tree-lighting ceremony in Charlotte’s uptown is scheduled from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, featuring a variety of live entertainment.
The highlight will be at 6:20 p.m., when Santa and local dignitaries light the tree at Trade and Tryon streets.
The event opens at 5:30 p.m., with an appearance by mascots from all 14 ACC teams, in observance of the ACC football championship game Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium.
That will be followed by performances by the Hough High School choir and the Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church handbell choir. At 6 p.m., Actor’s Threatre will perform selections from the “Great American Trailer Park Christmas.”
After the tree-lighting, activities move into Founders Hall, with Santa posing for photos and other events.
But there are plenty of other holiday activities tonight and during the rest of December across the region.
Here is a sampling:
Billy Graham Library – (starting Dec. 1) Christmas lights, strolling carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Hours: 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 5-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
Holiday on Ice – outdoor ice rink at NASCAR Plaza, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Brevard Street, uptown Charlotte. Sponsored by WBT. Hours: (through Dec. 21) 5-10 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (Dec. 22-Jan. 4) 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, except 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Jan. 4. $10 admission. Skate rental available.
McAdenville – (starting Dec. 1) Gaston County’s Christmas Town USA features more than 500,000 lights on the town’s homes. Off Interstate 85 and U.S. 74 in eastern Gaston County.
Speedway Christmas – 3 million lights on display, Charlotte Motor Speedway, U.S. 29 at Bruton Smith Boulevard, Concord. Hours: 6-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 25). Christmas Village open Thursdays-Sundays in speedway infield. Admission, $20 per car Thursdays-Sundays; $15 per car Mondays-Wednesdays.
Cramerton – Festival, 2 p.m.; Christmas parade, 4 p.m.; tree-lighting ceremony, 5:15 p.m. at town hall.
Fort Mill – Tree-lighting ceremony, 6 p.m., Main Street.
Mint Hill – Tree-lighting ceremony, 7-8:30 p.m. at town hall, 4430 Mint Hill Village Lane.
Oakboro – Christmas parade, 7 p.m., North Main Street.
Wadesboro – Christmas parade, 4 p.m.
Bessemer City – Christmas parade, 4:30 p.m.
Brattonsville, S.C. – Candlelight tours of the historic village, 3-9 p.m., 1444 Brattonsville Road.
Clover, S.C. – Tree-lighting, 5:30 p.m., Centennial Park, 101 North Main Street. Live music.
Harrisburg – Festival and tree-lighting, 6-9 p.m., Veterans Park, 4100 Main Street. Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides.
Lenoir – Christmas parade, 6:30 p.m., College Avenue.
Marshville – Tree-lighting, 6:30 p.m.
Rock Hill – Christmas parade, 6:30 p.m., from Winthrop University to downtown.
Boone – Christmas parade, 11 a.m., King Street.
Claremont – Christmas parade, 3 p.m.
Denver – Christmas parade, 2:30 p.m., Pilot Knob Road.
Fort Mill – Christmas parade, 11 a.m., downtown.
Matthews – Hometown Festival, 3-6 p.m., with tree-lighting ceremony from 5-6 p.m., downtown.
Monroe – Festival and tree-lighting, 6-9 p.m., downtown.
North Mecklenburg – Christmas parade, 1 p.m., on N.C. 115, from Davidson to Cornelius.
Pineville – Tree-lighting, 6:30 p.m., old police building; with Santa and carolers.
Reed Gold Mine – Golden Christmas, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., state historic site off N.C. 24/27 in Midland. Featuring Germanic holiday traditions.
Taylorsville – 3 p.m., Main Street and N.C. 16.
Valdese – Christmas parade, 10 a.m., Main Street West.
Sunday, Dec. 7
Clover – Christmas parade, 3 p.m., downtown.
Gastonia – Christmas parade, 2-4 p.m., downtown.
Indian Trail – Christmas parade, 3 p.m., Indian Trail Road; festival and tree-lighting, 4-6 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 8
Albemarle – Christmas parade, 5:30 p.m., Main Street.
Friday, Dec. 12
Dallas – Christmas parade, 4 p.m., Main Street.
Saturday, Dec. 13
Cherryville Christmas parade, 10:30 a.m., Main, Mulberry and First streets.
Kannapolis – Christmas parade, 6 p.m., Main and First streets to West Avenue.
Lake Wylie – 26th annual Christmas Parade of Boats, 6:30 p.m., near Buster Boyd Bridge on N.C.-S.C. 49.
Lancaster – Christmas parade, 6 p.m.
Lowell – Christmas parade, 3 p.m.; tree-lighting, 5 p.m., downtown.
Mount Pleasant – Christmas parade, 11 a.m., downtown.
Sunday, Dec. 14
Shelby – Christmas parade, 3 p.m., North Lafayette Street.
Statesville – Christmas parade, 3 p.m., downtown.
Waxhaw – Christmas parade, 3 p.m., downtown.