Dr. Traffic

Charlotte’s holiday season kickoff week will bring traffic shifts

The Providence High School Marching Band at Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Up to 100,000 people gathered along South Tryon Street on Thursday morning to celebrate the "official" start of the Christmas season.
The Providence High School Marching Band at Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. Up to 100,000 people gathered along South Tryon Street on Thursday morning to celebrate the "official" start of the Christmas season. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Celebrations for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the same week? It’s happening in Charlotte next week, with shifts in traffic planned along with the seasonal merriment.

Tree lighting

Visitors can set up lawn chairs at the corner of Mint and Graham streets on Tuesday for the second annual Carolina Panthers tree lighting, which will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. outside Bank of America Stadium.

A 58-foot Norway spruce tree from Newland will sparkle with 48,600 lights. The program also calls for performances, food vendors and activities for children.

Drummers and floats

Setup starts on Wednesday for Thursday’s Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. A performance area will go up at South Tryon Street and Levine Avenue of the Arts.

The parade has been a tradition since 1947 and drew more than 100,000 people to Tryon Street uptown last year.

The spectacle starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, moving north on Tryon from Stonewall to Ninth Street.

Parking will be available mostly in uptown’s garages and lots.

Arrive by 7 a.m. to claim a prime sidewalk spectator spot on Tryon Street; no seating for the handicapped has been designated along the parade route.

Bus service for routes 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 16, 19, 21, 22, 26 and 34 will detour from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m on Thursday because Tryon Street will be closed. Charlotte Area Transit System riders can board buses at Charlotte Transportation Center or at stops along detour routes.

Turkey day races

Turkey Trot races are scheduled on Thursday in University City, SouthPark and the Blakeney area. Traffic should be cleared before your guests arrive for dinner.

▪ Events for the 27th Annual Charlotte SouthPark Turkey Trot races will start at 8:30 a.m. on Morrison Boulevard in south Charlotte. The route also includes Carnegie Boulevard, Barclay Downs Drive, Runnymede Lane, Colony Road and Roxborough Road.

▪ Turkey Dash Charlotte’s 4-mile run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Village at Robinson Farms and continue along Rea Road toward Blakeney Shopping Center to Ardrey Kell Road, Blakeney Heath Road and Parks Farm Lane. A 1-mile run starts at 8:30 a.m.

▪ University City Turkey Trot 5K-race starts at 8 a.m. from the Fresh Market store at 3024 Prosperity Church Road. The course will follow Prosperity Church Road to Benfield Road and then back to the Fresh Market.

City Transit

Charlotte Area Transit System buses, the LYNX Blue Line and the CityLYNX streetcars will operate on a Sunday schedule for Thanksgiving Day. Express service will be suspended. Routes 590-Northlake and 591-Archdale will run on a regular schedule.

On Friday, city buses, the LYNX Blue Line and CityLYNX streetcars will operate on a Saturday schedule. No express service will be available.

The CATS Pass Sales Offices at the Charlotte Transportation Center and CATS Call Center will be closed on Saturday.

Karen Sullivan: drtraffic@charlotteobserver.com, @Sullivan_kms

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