Cary's merry parade
Temperatures may be cold, but spirits will stay warm with hot cocoa, carolers and Santa Claus at the Merry Cary Holiday Parade and Celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
In its 11th year, the festival brings back family favorites such as a parade, petting zoo and pony rides, but will also present a horse-drawn sleigh, new to the festivities. Most activities are free, thanks to the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Cary.
"It's a wonderful way to come out with the family and start the month of December," said chamber Executive Director Suzanne Corr, who expects about 4,000 people to celebrate the season at Sunday's event.
The festivities begin at 1 p.m. with the kickoff of the parade, which will travel down West Main Street, starting at Wulff Street and ending at Jandus Road. Cary Mayor Steve Lamal, Cary village trustees and Amvets Pearl Harbor Memorial Post 245 color guard will lead the parade.
About 80 entries will participate in the parade and be reviewed by a group of judges. Trophies will be awarded to a number of entries, including most original, loudest, best entry, funniest and best costume. The winners will be announced at the end of the parade.
After the parade, attendees can buy food and beverages from downtown establishments such as Peter's Bakery, The Tracks, The Coffee Station and Galati's. Holiday gifts will be for sale at several businesses.
Sounds of the season will be heard from Cary-Grove Evangelical Free Church's strolling Dickens' Carolers. More recent tunes will be played as well, courtesy of Stax-O-Wax. School bands from Cary Junior High and Prairie Hill School will perform.
Children will be entertained by a miniature train ride, pony ride, petting zoo and hair braiding. Santa Claus will be on hand to listen to wishes and get his picture taken. And elves will be nearby to visit.
Festival organizers hope that Merry Cary participants will remember those in need this holiday season. The chamber's booth in front of Harris Bank will be accepting cash and check donations for Community Christmas Inc. The nonprofit organization collects toys, food, clothing and household items and distributes them to those in need each December.
Last year, Community Christmas assisted 160 area families, including 458 children and 55 seniors. Cash donations will help the organization provide for all ages, not just young children.
"This is mostly to supplement Community Christmas with gift cards for older children and seniors," Corr explained.
Those traveling near downtown Cary on Sunday need to know that West Main Street, from High Road to Route 14, and Spring Street, from West Main Street, to Cary Street will be closed from 12:45 to 4 p.m.
Free parking will be available in the downtown Metra parking lot.
If you go
What: Merry Cary holiday celebration, featuring a parade, petting zoo, photos with Santa, carolers, wagon rides and more
When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: West Main Street and Spring Street in downtown Cary
Info: Call (847) 639-2800