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Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

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Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting - Friday, November 18, 2022

The City of Hickory traditionally hosts its annual holiday season kick-off event, the Lowes Foods Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting, the Friday before Thanksgiving. This year's holiday kickoff event will be held on Friday, November 18, 2022, at 5:45 p.m. Lowes Foods has been the sponsor of this festive event since the first year. Immediately following the parade through downtown, Santa will light the tree on Union Square. Enjoy holiday music, shopping specials, and more!

2022 Event Details

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. 

Parade Route

The parade follows the route below:

  • Parade starts at the intersection of 4th Street NW and 1st Avenue NW
  • Continue on 1st Avenue NW towards City Hall
  • Turns right on North Center Street
  • Turns right on Main Avenue NW
  • Continues through Union Square and exits on Main Avenue NW (Santa will be dropped off at Union Square before exiting downtown)


For questions about the parade, please contact Recreation & Special Events Coordinator Kyle Mishler at (828) 261-2259 or For questions about the tree lighting, please contact the Office of Communications at (828) 261-2290.


Winter Wonderland Snow Globe Photos

If you visited the City's snow globe on Union Square and had your photo taken, those photos are available below. To save your photo, please follow these simple instructions:

  1. Using the arrows on the left and right, scroll through the photos and find the one you want to download.
  2. Click on the photo. A new window will open.
  3. Click on the "Download this photo" button in the bottom right corner.  
  4. Select your photo size.
  5. Your download is complete!
Snow Globe - November 2022