If you’ve already been to McAdenville, or if the line of cars inching their way into town to see the Christmas lights deters you, consider driving north on I-85 instead and checking out Kannapolis’ Celebration of Lights.

This nightly display at Village Park might not be well-known to Charlotteans but it’s been a popular attraction in Cabarrus County for years. It runs every night through Dec. 30, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas.

It’s free to walk through the park and see the impressive displays, made up of more than 250,000 lights. Or if you prefer a train ride, ride the Winterland Express for just $2. Sometimes there’s a wait to get on the train.

Another highlight is music by the Kannapolis Singing Bears. These animatronic performers might not quite have the chops of the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, but this trio holds its own, with a 30-minute Christmas song set each hour.

There’s also a huge indoor model train exhibit with interactive elements. If you like to push buttons you’re in luck.

Kids can visit Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus is also in attendance some nights. There’s a fire where you can roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Hot chocolate and coffee is for sale.

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On some nights food vendors are selling snacks and refreshments, with an emphasis on fair food like hand-dipped corn dogs, fries, funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

For details on what’s going on each night, visit the City of Kannapolis website or give them a call at 704-920-4343.

Kannapolis Celebration of Lights: Village Park, 700 West C St., Kannapolis

Photos: Jody Mace

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