STALLINGS – The Parade of Trees is back in Stallings, and this year it’s already shaping up to be bigger and better than last year’s holiday celebration.
Stallings Parks and Recreation will kick off the holiday season on Dec. 6, a Friday, at 6:30 p.m. with the lighting of the town’s tree as well as nine additional trees at Stallings Municipal Park, 340 Stallings Road.
“We’re giving neighborhoods and business sponsors a chance to decorate a tree within the park to promote their business and beautify the park at Christmas time,” Stallings Parks and Recreation Director Dena Sabinske said.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. with the lighting, but the fun won’t end there. Caroling, live music, free goodies and Santa Claus also will be at the event. People can take pictures with Santa, who will be seated in his “Wonderland in the Back Arbor,” throughout the night, free of charge.
The town’s tree, which will be the largest of all those at the Parade of Trees, will be in the center of the fountain with the others lined up in the grass behind the fountain.
Holiday celebrations will continue on Dec. 7, a Saturday, at the park with live music and activities like sugar cookie decorating beginning at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free to attend, but vendors will be at the Saturday event selling food and drinks.
Parks and recreation hopes to grow the Christmas celebration in years to come and give residents fun activities to attend during the winter season. Stallings Municipal Park is already a destination for people in the summer with the fountain, something Sabinske hopes to stretch into the winter months.
“We are all about giving that community support and giving something free for people to come to,” she said. “We want to make sure we have that community bond with the residents. It’s hard times, and we want to make sure we are giving back.”
Trees presented in the Parade of Trees, which will be on display through December, will be decorated by local businesses and neighborhoods. Each group paid $150 per tree, including the lights and power, and will decorate them to promote their business or neighborhood. Parks and recreation hopes the Parade of Trees will become an annual “battle between the neighborhoods” every holiday season.
“We only had one (tree) last year, so we are extremely excited to have (more). It’s just going to make the park look so pretty,” Sabinske said.
Last year’s only tree was sponsored and decorated by Austin Village Eye Care – a business that also is participating this year. This year it will be joined by Hunley Creek neighborhood, Steak and Hoagie Shop of Stallings,
Shannamara neighborhood, Sparks Martial Arts of Stallings, White Knights Streamer, Curry Place neighborhood, Primrose School of Stallings, Kerry Greens neighborhood and The Friendly Moose.
Parks and recreation hopes this growth continues. The goal is to eventually have events all throughout December, Sabinske said.
Find more information about the Stallings Parade of Trees and other parks and recreation events at www.stallingsnc.org.