For years, Charlotte and surrounding towns have been ringing in the holidays with festive parades, special events and evening tree-lightings. Take a look at the list below and you’ll be sure to find an event near you. Several include a visit from Santa and all promise to be fun for the whole family!

Saturday, Nov. 22

Concord Christmas Parade
Marvel at the parade floats and bands, and get in your requests to Santa. Thousands have viewed the parade since it was first presented in 1928. The parade travels south, from Lake Concord Road and Church Street, down Union Street and ends at Corban Avenue. Free. 2:30-5:30 p.m. Downtown Concord.

South End Tree Lighting
Visit with Santa, friends and family, and watch him light up the tree. Free. Atherton Mill, Kingston and South Blvd.

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carolina Panthers Inaugural Tree Lighting
Ring in the upcoming season with activities including balloon artists, caricaturists, face painters, photo booths and classic holiday shows on the big screens.  There will also be appearances by Sir Purr, the TopCats and Santa Claus. Free. 6-7:30 p.m. Outside of the Bank of America Stadium. Corner of Mint and Graham St.

2014 Charlotte Area Parades and Tree-LightingsThursday, Nov. 27 | Happy Thanksgiving!

Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade
Celebrate the holidays by bringing your family out to one of the largest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country. Expect marching bands, large balloons and floats, and live performances in front of the Levine Center for the Arts on South Tryon Street. See replay on WBTV at 1 p.m. The parade will air on television again on Christmas Day. Free. Kick-off at 9:30 a.m. Tryon Street from Stonewall Street to 9th Street.

Friday, Nov. 28

Holiday Festival of Lights
Wander through the more than 75,000 lights illuminating historic buildings and hear Victorian singers as they stroll the streets. Kids can also visit Santa and give him their wish list for Christmas Day. Oh and there will be snow! Free. 5-7 p.m. Downtown Waxhaw.

Saturday, Nov. 29

Light Up Cornelius
Watch the inaugural tree lighting at Cornelius Town Hall, and enjoy choirs, dance performances, children’s activities, holiday crafts, carriage rides, train displays and a visit from Santa. Refreshments will be available and a chance for holiday shopping. Free. 4-6 p.m.

Source:; Megan Finke; November 1, 2014.