Mark your calendars and make plans to join us in Downtown Concord for festive family traditions and holiday cheer. The 26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony returns on Friday, November 17, followed by a very special 95th Concord Christmas Parade celebration. Long-time Concord resident and parade organizer for nearly 60-years, John Howard, Jr., will be honored as this year’s Grand Marshal along with Special Guest Cy Mauldin, a World War II veteran who turns 100 years old in December.
26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 17, 6-8:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Uwharrie Bank, Eli Lilly, and Atrium Health, the annual tree lighting ceremony and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus will take place in Rotary Square, located at the corner of Union Street S and Corban Avenue SW.
The event will feature favorite traditions from years past along with a new competition for the most festive illuminated city vehicle display. There will be food trucks, a kids’ zone with inflatables, a rock wall, balloon artist, a kids’ train, and kids’ crafts in Santa’s village.
On the main stage, guests will enjoy performances by the Furr and Irvin Elementary Schools chorus, Dance Expressions, Motion Dance Company, and Zak Rushing Music.
The tree lighting will take place at 8pm in Rotary Square, followed by fireworks at 8:20 p.m. The best viewing area for the fireworks is from Bicentennial Lot.
Church Street will once again be illuminated with festive city vehicle displays for visitors to enjoy as they make their way to Bicentennial Lot. New this year, the city is asking guests to vote for their favorite display and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 20.
More information about the tree lighting, including the event map is available at concordnc.gov/Christmas.
TrueCare Pharmacy 95th Concord Christmas Parade, Saturday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m.
The annual Concord Christmas Parade is one of the oldest continuously running Christmas parades in North Carolina. For 95 years, residents and visitors have delighted in the holiday sights and sounds of the parade as floats, bands, performers, and local heroes make their way to Downtown Concord.
Due to construction underway of the new streetscape on Union Street, this year the 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. A map of the parade route is available at concordnc.gov/christmas.
Parade Grand Marshal and Special Guest
Each 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.
Along with Howard, the 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.
Santa Scramble 5K Race
The annual Santa Scramble 5K road race is returning this year and will begin at 2 p.m. prior to the start of the 95th Concord Christmas 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.
More information about the tree lighting ceremony and parade are available at concordnc.gov/Christmas.