Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade

Holiday traditions return to Downtown Concord with the 26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony presented by Uwharrie Bank, Eli Lilly, and Atrium Health on Friday, November 17 from 6-8:30 p.m., and the TrueCare Pharmacy 95th Concord Christmas Parade on Saturday, November 18 beginning at 2:30 p.m.

These family-friendly events are free to the public and feature children’s activities, live music and dance, and fireworks.


26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony,
Friday, November 17, 6-8:30 p.m.

Presented by Uwharrie Bank, Eli Lilly, and Atrium Health

Tree Lighting and Parade Photos Courtesy of Michael A. Anderson Photography

The annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in Rotary Square, located at the corner of Union Street S and Corban Avenue SW.  There will be food trucks, a kids’ zone featuring inflatables, a rock wall, balloon artist, kids’ train and more!

Back by popular demand! Visitors will enjoy an illuminated vehicle display as they make their way from Rotary Square to Bicentennial Lot on Church Street to watch the fireworks. This year, visitors will be able to vote on which City department they feel had the most outstanding light display! The winner will be announced on Monday, November 20th.

Event Schedule:

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

  • Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus 
  • Kids' Acitivites: inflatables, rock wall, balloon artist, kids' train, crafts
  • Stage Performances by the Furr and Irvin Elementary Schools chorus, Dance Expressions, Motion Dance Company, and Zak Rushing Music.
  • Family photo ops along the illuminated city vehicle display on Church Street - and vote for your favorite display!

8:00 p.m. Tree Lighting at Rotary Square

8:20 p.m. Fireworks Display. (Best viewed from Bicentennial Lot on Church Street)


95th concord christmas parade
saturday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Presented by TrueCare Pharmacy

Parade images

Tree Lighting and Parade Photos Courtesy of Michael A. Anderson Photography

The annual Concord Christmas Parade is one of the oldest and continuously running Christmas parades in North Carolina! The TrueCare Pharmacy 95th Concord Christmas Parade route will begin at the intersection of Church Street N and Lake Concord Road, and continue over two miles along Church Street, ending at the intersection of Church Street and Corban Avenue.

Christmas Parade Map

Parade Entries, Guidelines, and Awards

Parade Entries:  Registration is now closed.  Thank you to all of the community organizations, churches, schools, businesses, and all other groups who have registered! 

The 2023 parade lineup can be found here.

2023 Parade Guidelines can be found here.

Awards: Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries across four categories: band, church, civic organization, school.  The contest judges will be located on the main stage at 375 Church Street. 

Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • School Bands: 1st Place $1,000; 2nd Place $500; 3rd Place $250

  • Church Floats: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100

  • Civic Organization: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100

  • School Representation: 1st Place $250; 2nd Place $150; 3rd Place $100


Thank you to all of the school bands, churches, organizations, and others who participated in the 95th Concord Christmas Parade and helped create such a memorable event for our community.  We would like to especially congratulate this year's award winners on a job well done!

School Bands

1st Place: Hickory Ridge High School

2nd Place: West Charlotte High School

3rd Place: Cox Mill High School

Civic Organization

1st Place: Cub Scout 888

2nd Place: Oasis Buccaneers

3rd Place: Carolina Bears Football/Cheer


1st Place: St. James The Greater Catholic

2nd Place: Bethpage Presbyterian Church

3rd Place: Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church


1st Place: Royal Oaks School of Art

2nd Place: Bonnie Cone Leadership Academy

Road Closures & Parade Route

This year’s parade route will travel south on Church St. from Lake Concord Rd. to Corban Ave. Church Street following the parade route will close at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 18th. Floats will begin lining up at 12:30 PM on Palaside Dr, Arbor St, Circle Dr, Martin St, Le Cline Dr, Lake Concord Rd, Shady St, Floyd St, and Church St. See the map below for details.


Grand Marshal: John Howard, Jr.

John Howard, JrEach year, special parade guests are chosen from the local community for their leadership and contributions to Concord. On the parade’s 95th anniversary, long-time parade organizer John Howard, Jr. will be honored as the Grand Marshal.

Howard first began working with the Concord Christmas Parade in 1965 and served as the director for 20 years. Howard is a resident and lifelong friend and champion of Concord. He was President of Howard Electric Company, President of the Concord Jaycees and first Concord State Senator in the NC Jaycees. He is a past Vice President of the Concord Chamber of Commerce and served on the committee to bring Philip Morris to Concord. He also worked with leaders to grow the city, including the annexation of Charlotte Motor Speedway into the city limits. For 18 years he served as a Concord Reserve Police Officer and was recognized as Police Reserve Man of the Year. Howard is also a three-time recipient of the prestigious North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Howard’s long history of civic leadership continues today as he currently serves as Chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission. He is married to Suzanne, and they have three children and five grandchildren. 

Mr. Howard recently sat down with the Independent Tribune to share more about his many decades of work with the Concord Christmas Christmas and his service to Concord - check out the article below.

John Howard Independent Tribune Article Image


Special Guest: Charles L. "Cy" Maulden

Photo of Charles Maulden from 1962The city will honor Charles L. “Cy” Maulden as the Special Guest of the 95th Concord Christmas Parade. Maulden is a World War II veteran who will turn 100 years old in December. 

Maulden earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in 1947. It is there that he met his late wife of 71 years, Jo Anne Law Maulden. His time at Shenandoah was interrupted by a 2.5-year service in the U.S. Army during World War II. He served in Italy as a military band member.

Back home, Maulden taught band for 34 years for both the Kannapolis City and Cabarrus County Schools. He was the band director at Winecoff High School and Northwest Cabarrus High School. Maulden also directed the adult choir at Forest Hill Methodist Church in Concord for 40 years from 1948-1988. Upon retirement, he founded and directed a senior citizens community choir for 22 years, which included 50 voices from 15 different churches. Maulden continues to attend church weekly and enjoys watching sports and spending time with his family, including his two great-grandchildren.

Mr. Maulden recently sat down with local media, explore the stories below to learn more about his incredible life of service.

Neighborhood TV Preview Photo of Cy Maulden Interview

 Cy Maulden Indepent Tribune Story Article Image







Santa Scramble 5K

Returning this year is the annual Santa Scramble 5K road race! 

Santa Scramble 5K LogoThe race will begin at 2 p.m. prior to the start of the parade. The 5K race follows the parade route and finishes at McGee Park. To accommodate the race, the parking lot at McGee Park will be closed on Saturday, November 18.  The park will remain open to the public; however, it will only be accessible by the Downtown Connector and McEachern Greenways.


Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 25th, 11:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.

Join us in Downtown Concord Saturday, November 25th for a shopping experience like no other! Small Business Saturday is a time for celebrating our local heroes – the small businesses that make our community thrive. Let's show our love for our small businesses and make this Small Business Saturday the best one yet. Mark your calendars, bring your friends and family, and let's shop 'til we drop!

Here's what to expect:

Explore the charming streets of Concord on a Holiday Trolley that will take you from Downtown Concord to Cabarrus Brewing Company at Gibson Mill, and Southern Strain Brewing Company.

Capture the joy of the season by taking a picture with Santa Claus! He’ll be at 11 Union Street from 12 pm – 3 pm. This is a free/take your own photo with Santa Claus opportunity!

There will also be a Letters to Santa station, courtesy of the Cabarrus Arts Council, setup outside the Historic Courthouse on Union St.

Shop over 50 indoor and outdoor market vendors, including an artist market at the Cabarrus Arts Council, plus local businesses in Downtown Concord

To learn more about parking in Downtown Concord, click here