Hickory – The City of Hickory will host its annual holiday season kick-off event, the Lowes Foods Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting, on Friday, November 18. Lowes Foods has been the sponsor of this festive event since the first year.

A special procession of the Fallen Heroes ministry to honor fallen soldiers from North Carolina will begin at 5:45 p.m., preceding the parade, which will directly follow at 6 p.m.

Kathryn T. Greathouse, retired executive director of the United Arts Council of Catawba County, has been selected as the grand marshal of the parade and will lead the floats, vehicles, and participants through downtown. Greathouse was instrumental in securing a Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation grant in 2019 to commission a public art display to commemorate The Untouchables, the 1964 Ridgeview High School football team that went undefeated and unscored upon the entire season. She retired from the Arts Council at the end of December 2021, after spending 26 years with the Council leading, promoting, and supporting the local arts community.

Parade entries will be announced by hosts City Manager Warren Wood and Deputy City Attorney Arnita Dula. A committee made up of community leaders and volunteers will serve as judges of the parade and give awards for Most Creative, Most Christmas Spirit, Best Well-Crafted Theme, and Best Overall.

At the conclusion of the parade, Santa’s float will stop at Union Square so he can light the Christmas tree in Downtown Hickory. Holiday music by Hickory Music Factory will be performed until 8:30 p.m.

Although Santa will be departing for the North Pole after the tree lighting, a winter wonderland snow globe will be on Union Square for attendees to enter and take their own photographs. The Snow Sisters of Once Upon A Time Entertainment at The Studio will also be walking around Union Square to meet event attendees and offer photo opportunities.

The Newton Depot Christmas Layout, sponsored by the Newton Depot Authority, will display two beautiful 8-foot by 6-foot trains and a moving trolley on The Sails on the Square Stage for all to see.

Jeff Kincaid Insurance Group will offer free hot chocolate under The Sails on the Square.

Visitors can also stop by the Hickory Downtown Development Association’s table to write a letter to Santa and mail it to the North Pole.

Numerous downtown businesses will remain open throughout the event and offer specials, making the evening a great time for patrons to begin their holiday shopping.

The parade will follow the following route:
Parade starts at the intersection of Fourth Street NW and First Avenue NW
Continue on First Avenue NW towards City Hall
Turn right on North Center Street
Turn right on Main Avenue NW
Continue through Union Square and exit on Main Avenue NW (Santa will be dropped off at Union Square before exiting downtown)

For more information about the City of Hickory’s Lowes Foods Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting, please visit https://www.hickorync.gov/christmasparade.