Christmas in the City Parade, Tree Lighting to be Held Dec. 1 in Gastonia

Santa standing on a float in a parade

Get into the Christmas spirit with a festive event in Gastonia that includes fun for all ages. The annual Christmas in the City parade, marketplace and tree lighting are scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 1 in Downtown Gastonia, with a special appearance by Santa Claus.

  • Christmas parade on Main Avenue, hosted by Gaston County Jaycees, begins at 4 p.m.
  • Christmas marketplace near the Rotary Pavilion, hosted by the City of Gastonia, begins at 4 p.m.
  • Tree lighting and holiday concert at the Rotary Pavilion, hosted by Keep Gastonia Beautiful, begins about 4:45 p.m.

Nearly 100 entries, including Santa riding on a float, will be in the parade on Main Avenue. The marketplace will feature about three dozen craft and business vendors, and food trucks will sell meals and treats. Free activities at the marketplace include face painting, Sno-Globe photos and balloon twisting, as well as booths for kids to make Christmas ornaments, color, and write letters to Santa. Hot chocolate will be available at no charge and goody bags will be handed out at the event.

Around 5:30 p.m. Santa Claus will flip the switch to light the Christmas tree at the Rotary Pavilion. Then children can visit with Santa, telling him what they’d like for Christmas. Performing at the tree lighting ceremony will be the Gaston Symphonic Band, the W.A. Bess fifth grade chorus, the York Chester Middle School Jazz Band, and the Roaring Panther Band of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.

The event will conclude around 7 p.m. with a raffle drawing for three gift baskets.