Parks, Recreation
  and Cultural


Heart of the Holidays

Heart of the Holidays Celebration

Weather Policy: In the event of inclement weather, check our Weather Status Page. 

Fun ways you can get involved in the Heart of the Holidays!

1. Perform! Audition to be part of the 2014 Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony!

Create! Make a gingerbread house for the 4th annual Gingerbread House Competition!

Decorate! Register to decorate a Christmas Tree along Academy Street as part of our 3rd annual Gifting Tree Project for a chance to donate to your favorite charity!

4. Write! Write a letter to Santa and drop it off at his mailbox outside Town Hall! 

**Please see below for registration forms, deadlines and more information.

Kick off the season with a full day’s worth of holiday cheer in historic Downtown Cary!

Saturday, December 6, 2014 - events all day long!

Letters to Santa
Santa’s Mailbox located at Town Hall starting on November 24, 2014

We’ve made special arrangements with Santa Claus for the Town Hall to be a drop-off site for letters to Santa Claus! Have little Johnny and Suzie enjoy this annual tradition as we prepare for Santa’s flight over Cary. Drop off your letters in the Santa Mailbox before December 12th and your child will hear back from our jolly friend in red! Make sure to include your child’s name and address on each letter.

Official Town of Cary Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 
Town Hall Campus by the Town Tree; December 6 at 6 p.m.

**Official Town of Cary Tree Lighting will be moved indoors to the Cary Town Hall this evening. Start time remains the same, 6 p.m. 

The official Christmas Tree lighting for the Town of Cary will be on this day as well. This community celebration of the season has become incredibly popular over the past years. It’s a wonderful time to bring your blanket and your loved ones out to the Town Hall campus and welcome in the holiday season with your neighbors. This festive night features talented actors, singers, dancers, and musicians from our community on stage.

Not only will the beautiful 30-foot cedar Christmas Tree be illuminated for the first time in the season, but we’ll also unveil the “Cary Community Christmas Tree” that will be inside at the Town Hall. All sorts of groups that serve our local community will be providing handcrafted ornaments to be displayed on the inside tree. Our Community Christmas Tree will truly be a representation of the diversity of Cary. For more information, call (919) 469-4061. 

Audition to be part of this year's Tree Lighting Ceremony Variety Show! 

Cary Community Christmas Tree Ornament Participation

4th annual Gingerbread House Competition
Inside Downtown Cary Businesses

Gingerbread Houses will be on display in Downtown Cary on Saturday, December 6th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Stop by the Gingerbread Tent at the Ole Time Winter Festival, located on West Chatham Street, right by Santa to pick up your map to find all of this year's gingerbread houses and to cast your vote for your favorite gingerbread house!
Create a gingerbread house yummy enough for an elf's visit! All ages and groups are welcome!  Registration forms due by NOVEMBER 26. House drop off will be Friday, December 5th. The houses will be on display in Downtown Cary on December 6th. Winning houses will be on display during December at the Cary Arts Center and honorable mentions will be displayed at The Cary Theater. 

For more information, please email 

3rd annual Gifting Tree Project
Downtown Cary along Academy Street

2014 Gifting Tree Project Winners

People’s Choice:

Votes were tallied and totaled over 1700!!!  The winner of People’s Choice is…
Cat Angels Pet Adoptions

Gifting Tree Winning Tree

Cat Angels Pet Adoptions is a no-kill cat and kitten rescue and adoption agency located in Cary.  All of their adoptable animals are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped, healthy, and ready to find their forever homes.  For more information, visit them online at

The People’s Choice winner will receive $500, courtesy of Belle at the Jones House. Cat Angels Pet Adoptions will use this donation toward veterinary care for the cats in their shelter.

1st and 2nd Place:

To determine first and second place, judging was done by local community and business members. Scores were based on representation of the organization/company, representation of holiday spirit, originality and creativity, and overall presentation. 
1st Place – Imaginigami (with a score of 280/300)
2nd Place – The Happy Tooth (with a score of 275/300)

Gifting Tree - First Place             Gifting Tree - Second Place
The 1st and 2nd place winners will receive an award.
Congratulations to all of our 2014 Gifting Tree Project Winners!!! And a huge thank you to all who voted!

Organizations, businesses and schools have lined the streets of Downtown Cary with twenty-seven beautifully decorated trees. The winning tree will have a $500 donation, provided by our sponsor, Belle at the Jones House, made to the non-profit group of their choice. Other prizes will also be awarded. 

Visit Downtown Cary, along Academy Street, to take a look at all of the decorated Gifting Trees and pick your favorite. To place your People’s Choice vote, simply visit the link below:

Voting begins on Saturday, December 6th and ends on Saturday, December 20th.

We appreciate your participation! If you have any questions or comments, please contact Ashley McCall at

You are invited to participate in a Christmas Tree Decorating Contest in Downtown Cary with a charitable twist! Represent your family, organization, school or more as we line the streets of Downtown Cary with lighted trees. The public will be invited to vote and the winning tree will have a donation (provided by our Gifting Tree Project sponsor) to the non-profit group of their choice! Other prizes will also be awarded. Registration forms are due by November 26.

Full Details and Registration Form

Presented by: Supported by:

Gifting Tree Logo 1                                    Gifting Tree Logo 2

If interested, please contact Ashley McCall for full details: or (919) 462-3847.

Page-Walker Holiday Open House
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, December 6 from 4 - 6 p.m.

Get into the holiday spirit with old-fashioned Christmas fun! Learn about Victorian holiday traditions while touring the 1868 historic hotel. Listen to Victorian carolers and take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Kids can participate in a hands-on holiday craft. Taste holiday treats and view historic rooms decorated for the season by the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel. For more information, contact the Page-Walker, (919) 460-4963

Santa’s Workshop
Herbert C. Young Community Center; December 6 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (age 10 & under accompanied by an adult)

Join us for Cary Teen Council’s annual Holiday Celebration. Children will enjoy a variety of craft stations where they can make a gift for someone special and enjoy a visit with the white bearded guy from the NORTH POLE! While at Santa’s workshop, support the Cary Teen Council’s food drive by sending each child with two non-perishable food items OR cash donation will be accepted. All contributions will be given to a local charity. There will be a 20-minute break at 11:30 a.m. so Santa can feed his reindeer. For more information call (919) 460-4965.

Films @ The Cary: The Muppets Christmas Carol & National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Cary Theater, 122 E. Chatham Street

Get into the spirit with some of your favorite Christmas movies! All movie tickets are $5. 
The Muppets Christmas Carol –  December 6th at 10:00 a.m. 
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation –  December 6th at 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. 
Box Office: At the Cary Arts Center Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and one hour prior to events at The Cary.

Cary Players presents It's a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play 
Cary Arts Center; Dec. 4-8, 7:30 p.m. & Dec. 6 & 7, 3:00 p.m. 

This beloved American holiday classic is presented as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With an ensemble that brings over 60 characters to the stage, and help of live Folly artists creating old-fashioned sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers his fate one Christmas Eve. Radio Guys and Gals perform original jingles featuring Cary establishments. A family-friendly story of redemption that resonates with all ages. For more visit or call (919) 462-2055.

Heart of Cary Association’s 11th annual Ole Time Winter Festival 
Downtown Cary;  December 6 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Celebrations begin with the Heart of Cary’s 11th annual Ole Time Winter Festival held on West Chatham Street in Downtown Cary. Festivalgoers can enjoy arts & crafts, entertainment, food, activities, and more. Santa will be there. Start (or finish) your holiday shopping! 
For more information, visit

Art Exhibit Openings

  • Highlights of Monet’s Gardens & Duke Gardens: Michael Weitzman – Herb Young Community Center, 2-4 p.m.
  • Cary Photographic Artists – Cary Art Center Gallery, 2-4 p.m.
  • Jessica Chang: A Warm Interlude in the Florida Keys – Town Hall Gallery

For more information about any events in the Heart of the Holidays Celebration, call (919) 469-4061.