UPDATE: The Dec. 14 Downtown Mooresville holiday event has been canceled due to forecasted rain and cold temperatures.
MOORESVILLE – Before 2009, holiday events in downtown Mooresville consisted of one night of wagon rides.
“That was all there was,” said Mooresville Downtown Commission Executive Director Kim Atkins. “In 2009, we extended it to wagon rides on three Friday nights. Since then, it’s expanded and changed more.”
Nearly a decade later, the downtown commission’s holiday activities have grown to include multiple events, including the Mistletoe Sip and Shop and the kids’ scavenger hunt.
“We pass out fliers through the school systems that include information on the scavenger hunt,” Atkins said. “Kids go into businesses and they try to find a train car. Then they get the business to sign that they found it. If they find 15, they can go get a free cookie at CynTucci’s or a free hot chocolate at Hebrews.”
The scavenger hunt is one element of the Downtown Mooresville holiday events held Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.
“We have Santa visits, we have wagon rides,” Atkins said of the events those days. “Probably 25 businesses are open, and most of the time they do open houses. Some have music, some collect non-perishable food items for the (Mooresville) soup kitchen.”
Although the Dec. 7 and 14 festivities don’t have official names – Atkins said they’re usually just called “Downtown Mooresville holiday events” – they do have a big community following.
“We get a ton of feedback on these events,” Atkins said. “I had one person message me to ask when it was, because she was going out of town but she wanted to be able to come to one of the two weekends. So people are planning travel around it to make sure they can go.”
Atkins said between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the Dec. 7 holiday event, with wagon rides that could accommodate approximately 40 people going nearly constantly throughout the evening.
“It really depends on the weather,” Atkins said. “Last year it wasn’t rainy, but it was about 30 (degrees). Really cold. … So last week’s attendance was really strong, but it really depends on the weather.”
Regardless of the weather, Atkins said having community holiday events downtown is important.
“For one thing, it’s free, so everyone can enjoy it,” Atkins said. “For people who couldn’t afford to pay to see Santa or go on wagon rides, it’s great. It reminds people of simpler times when they were growing up. It’s got the small town charm. So we get very positive feedback.”
The Dec. 14 event will feature all of the activities from Dec. 7.
The cost of wagon rides is a donation of a non-perishable food item or cash to the Mooresville/Lake Norman Christian Mission, which will be supplying volunteers to help people in and out of wagons.
Wagon rides will load and unload at the Christian Mission on North Broad Street, and the last ride will happen at 8 p.m.
The rides will go through downtown and pause at the Holiday Light Spectacular on the town hall lawn.
The Holiday Light Spectacular, which is a partnership between the Mooresville Downtown Commission and show producer Wayne James, will continue until Dec. 28.
The holiday display is a 45- to 50-minute light show set to music, and it runs every day from 5:30-10 p.m.