It’s no doubt that the Carolinas are ripe with performance arts and events this holiday season, providing something for everyone – especially after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus. In October, Qnotes shared a full list of concerts and events to get you in the spirit. Here’s a recap of events through the end of the year.
City of McAdenville
Through Dec. 26
For 67 years, the small town of McAdenville, just west of Charlotte, has been attracting visitors to this holiday extravaganza that takes over nearly every house in the downtown area. You can choose to walk or drive through this winter wonderland, but whatever you decide make sure to plan for heavy traffic. Lights shine from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. every evening. This event was named one of the “10 Best Public Holiday Lights Displays” by USA Today in 2020 and 2021.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Through Jan. 15
Tickets are $30 per car
Spectacular is the word that pops up in conversations and internet searches when it comes to this light show, though that still seems like an understatement. As the event’s name indicates, this light show takes place at Charlotte’s famed race car speedway and features a dazzling and energetic display of over four million LED lights decorating the 3.75 mile racetrack. The lights are synchronized to holiday music that you can play from within your vehicle by tuning into radio station 101.3 FM. In the center of it all is Christmas Village (open Thursdays through Sundays), an indoor event space with rides and games for children and holiday shopping and specialty foods for adults. Speedway Christmas also offers Drive-in Holiday Movies (also Thursdays through Sundays) on a huge 16,000 square foot screen with sound you can control by tuning into your car radio via 105.1 FM. This two month long annual light display truly has something for everyone. It’s a must do for anyone wanting to impress visiting out of town guests, in laws and looking for something the kids will enjoy without driving you crazy keeping up with them.
North West School of the Arts
Tickets are $35
This event will bring together two of the Charlotte LGBTQ community’s favorites to present musical selections for the holidays: the Charlotte Pride Band and One Voice Chorus. The presentation is open to the public.
Tickets start at $94
Looking to kick off the holiday season with a classic? Don’t miss the famed Nutcracker performance by the Charlotte Ballet. A talented cast of 100 dancers promise to recreate the magic of The Nutcracker in this much-celebrated annual community production set during a snowy Christmas Eve. Borrowing from the Illusionist, this show begins with a town’s local magician who gives gifts to local children. One of the children, Clara, receives a wooden nutcracker that comes to life. A war between mice and tin soldiers ensues while a festival awaits the children in the enchanted Land of Sweets. With colorful and elaborate costumes, choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and rousing live music performed by the Charlotte Symphony, this show is sure to delight ballet and classical music fans of all ages.
Tickets start at $10
Create lasting memories with family and friends at this all-new immersive holiday concert experience! The Symphony promises that you’ll be singing along to classic holiday favorites with the Charlotte Master Chorale and be dazzled by newer works like “Christmastime in Charlotte” and “The Polar Express Suite.” The forecast calls for snow in the Knight Theater, but this concert will leave you with a warm glow.
CPCC Dale F. Halton Theater
Tickets range from $13-$45
This creative musical production has been going on for 67 years with this year being the 68th. The production literally showcases the largest singing Christmas tree you’ve probably ever seen. Well, it’s not actually a singing tree – but on the other hand it is. What looks like a huge tree is actually an enormous stage prop with vocally talented performers placed in horizontal rows like ornaments – complete with human topper. As you might imagine, Christmas tune favorites are sung, and in years past there’s been video commentary by adorable and funny puppets. It’s a production that will definitely make you smile.
Hyatt Centric Charlotte, South Park
Tickets start at $66.60
Interested in an engaging and interactive event? How about a holiday brunch complete with holiday photos, a fashion show, live entertainment, dancing, give-a-ways and oh yeah…brunch will be served. So, prepare to arrive decked out in your best holiday attire for those photo ops and don’t worry too much about that $513.75 ticket price. The higher rate is well worth considering if you plan to attend with at least seven others. You will need a reservation however, whether it’s just you, you and your boo or you and seven of your favorite folks.
Hanukkah “Nailed It” Baking Challenge
Sam Lerner Center for Cultural Arts
Not everyone celebrates Christmas. For some folks, this time of year isn’t about the hubbub of shopping in stores bathed in red and green and snow kissed decorations. For many (particularly our Jewish community members and friends) the season is more likely celebrated with subtle blue and white decorations, a game of dreidel and good food. No matter how you spell it (Hanukkah or Chanukah), like most holiday celebrations, tradition, joy and food bring smiles to faces and people together. Borrowing from the recipe for the Netflix show “Nailed It” this special Hanukkah event brings families together to compete in three rounds of a culinary tournament where competitors will recreate delicious and complicated cakes and confections in hopes of winning a prize and trophy. There will also be songs and a menorah lighting for all to enjoy. We couldn’t find a ticket or entry price for this one but we do have an email contact at email@example.com.
Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts
Tickets range from $19-$59.99
If you’re not a big ballet or classical music fan, this contemporary version of the classic holiday show is for you. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, Hip-Hop Nutcracker celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with an opening by Hip-Hop legend Kurtis Blow. Show goers can expect dance performed to Tchaikovksy’s timeless music, a DJ and a violinist. Like most traditional versions, Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince go on a dream adventure battling a gang of mice, visiting the Land of Sweets and learning the lessons of the holiday season. However, progressive and imaginative bring this story from the past to the present and from Germany to New York City in a memorable, unexpected and vibrant manner.
Dec. 26 – Jan. 1
Kwanzaa is a seven-day African American cultural holiday designed to celebrate cultural heritage and traditional values with empowering principals and rituals. This annual citywide celebration is coordinated by a collective of individuals and organizations and designed to benefit the Charlotte community by centering the seven core principles of the holiday: Umoja (unity), Kujichagalia (self-determination), Ujimaa (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). For a full list of events, times and locations visit facebook.com/kwanzaacharlotte.