MINT HILL, NC – The Christmas season officially kicks off in Mint Hill on Saturday, December 4!
Start your holidays on the right foot by participating in the Jingle all the Way 5k walk and run. Sponsored by Novant Health, the Mint Hill Police Department’s 5th annual holiday race benefits the Volunteers in Policing and Mint Hill Police Explorers programs. “As both are voluntary groups, we try to provide them with the equipment and training needed to be successful in their positions,” says Lieutenant Tim Lezette. “The money raised supplies equipment and uniforms to the groups and training that is deemed necessary to better their position within the community.”
The 5k sets off from Veterans Memorial Park at 9:00 am. To register, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/MintHill/MHJingleAlltheWay5K. The race is open to runners and walkers, and it’s only $25 if you pre-register. Day-of registration will be available for $35.
The fun continues in the evening with the long-awaited second annual Christmas Parade. The first – and last – Christmas Parade in December of 2019 was a wild success with crowds lining the streets at dusk to see the lighted floats. “It was going to be Mayor Biggers last act as mayor and I was determined to make sure he went out with a bang,” says Assistant to the Town Hall Manager Sheryl Smith. “I remember him telling me when he came around the corner from Bain School Road he had never seen so many people in Mint Hill. There were more people at the Christmas parade than any other Mint Hill parade I had ever seen.”
After a year off due to COVID, this year’s second annual Christmas Parade promises to be a sight to see! “Currently, we have more than 50 entries,” said Smith prior to Thanksgiving. “There are three marching bands, several floats, musical groups, walking groups, and dancers, and the applications just keep coming in!”
The parade will set off from Bain Elementary School at 5:30 pm and proceed down Matthews-Mint Hill Road to the library. It’s expected to last about an hour. When the parade ends, you’ll want to make your way to Town Hall for Town’s annual tree lighting ceremony, which will begin 30 minutes after the parade.
Sixteen feet tall, weighing in at 500 lbs, and boasting more lights than anyone can count, Mint Hill’s official tree will once again be situated in the basin of the fountain in front of Town Hall, and getting it there is no easy feat! “It takes about six guys and a crane to secure the tree,” said Smith. “When the fountain was designed, the architect was told we needed to be able to use it as a tree stand. Putting it in the fountain gives it a much taller appearance.”
So what can you expect from this year’s tree lighting ceremony? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. “We have lots of surprises in store for this year that I am not at liberty to share,” said Smith. “You will have to come see for yourself, but I promise you don’t want to miss it.”
One thing Smith can divulge is that Santa will be back and available for visits this year. Of course, Santa’s got a big job to do on December 25, so it’s important that he stays healthy. “He will not be inside with children lining the halls. They will not be able to sit on his lap,” says Smith. “But they will be able to see him and talk to him and get their photo taken. We have to keep him healthy as he has a busy night ahead of him.” Smith is also excited to share that fireworks will light up the sky at the conclusion of the tree lighting!
Santa’s Mailbox will also return to Town Hall this year. A vital part of last year’s “Operation Saving Christmas,” Santa received and responded to over 350 letters received through the direct link to the North Pole the Town was able to secure last year! The mailbox will be out and active beginning December 4, and Santa has promised that he’ll write back to any child who includes a return address.
After nearly two turbulent years where many time-honored traditions have had to be placed on hold, the return to an in-person Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting is a welcome return to the normalcy of holiday seasons past. Make sure to join the fun in Downtown Mint Hill on December 4!