As our staff is reminded every delivery cycle, Johnston County is a big place. As such, there is a host of activities planned to celebrate the Christmas season. There are parades, tree lightings and so much more. So, grab a coat, get out there and have fun!

Save the date

Dec. 1-2
Kenly's Christmas on Main
It will be fun for the whole family as you experience the Christmas season at Christmas on Main. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season as you stroll along Main street, stopping by Santa's workshop for cookies and cocoa while getting a photo. Listen to the beautiful music of church choirs and children singing, along with the sweet sound of hand bells as you enjoy the season. Festivities include candlelight tours and stage performances at the Tobacco Farm Life Museum, live music on Main street along with Santa's workshop, PJs and pancakes with Santa, a live nativity scene, wagon rides, holiday gift shopping, food, fun and more.

Friday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m.
Benson's Christmas on Main
Visit Downtown Benson for the Christmas version of its monthly First Friday event. In the square, there will be entertainment starting at 6 p.m., and the tree lighting is set for 6:40 p.m. The annual Christmas parade is set for 7 p.m. and after the parade, there will be entertainment by Alicia's School of Dance and RenDance Academy at the intersection of Market and Main. Santa will visit with children on Main Street in front of Jenny's Sweet Creations and there will be an antique tractor and car show. The stores on Main Street will be open serving hot beverages and treats and local civic clubs will be handing out free items. For more information, call 919-894-3825.

Dec. 2-3, 6-8 p.m.
Selah Christian Church Live Nativity
Selah Church Road, Four Oaks
The folks at Selah Christian Church are presenting 13 live nativity scenes celebrating the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus — rain or shine.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 9:30 a.m.
4th Annual Cleveland Band Holiday Bazaar
Cleveland High School
Get all your holiday shopping done in one place. Unique hand made items. Commercial items. We will have it all under one roof. And we will have food, raffles, Santa and his Elves. Proceeds benefit Cleveland Arts Performance Ensemble. Free to the public. For more information, email

Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.
A Civil War Christmas
Bentonville Battlefield
Come celebrate a Civil War Christmas during this Holiday open house event. Costumed interpreters will decorate the kitchen in festive themes using natural materials such as holly, magnolia, fruits and popcorn strands. Visitors can enjoy cookies and cider while listening to period music. Costumed military interpreters will be available to discuss how the common soldier spent his time on furlough with friends and family. For more information, call 910-594-0789.

Bentonville Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.
Christmas Ornament Making
Grapes & Grounds, Third Street, Smithfield
As a kid and later as an adult our family made Christmas ornaments every year. I would like to invite our Grapes & Grounds families to join us here to do the same. We will have stations setup all day for kids and adults to create their very own keepsakes. The cost will be $5 to cover the expense of the supplies. Bring old pictures if you want to do an ornament with a picture inside. For more information, call 919-934-3688.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m
Four Oaks Christmas Festival
The Four Oaks Christmas Festival, sponsored by Four Oaks Bank, is set for Dec. 2 in Downtown Four Oaks.  Check out the annual Christmas Parade at 11 a.m., shop our local businesses and our vendor area, enjoy free children's activities including crafts and bounce houses, eat delicious food and stop in to visit with Santa Claus! This is a free event and all ages are welcome. For additional information regarding parade or vendor participation, or for any general questions, call Amber England at 919-963-4004 or

Saturday, Dec. 2, 1 p.m.
Princeton Christmas Parade
The annual Princeton Christmas parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 2. For more information, call the Princeton Town Hall at 919-936-8171.

Christmas Parade

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m.
Home for the Holidays
Johnston Community College
Johnston Community College's CMS will present “Home for the Holidays” featuring Carolina Music ShowCase and singers in the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium. Celebrate the season as the magic of Christmas comes alive with this spectacular holiday entertainment. Featured singers will include Robin Aycock, Walton Aycock, Wanda Becton, Scott Boyette, Nichole Chestnut, Jill Howell, Steve Jones, Linda Overton, Jimmy Martin, Sandy Millard, Michael Price, Traci Radford and Ashleigh Westbrook. Band members will include Grover Hood, Tyler Kornegay, Kevin Mooring, Brad Pabst, Jerry Strickland and Alfred Ward. Tickets are $15 (plus tax) in advance and $17.50 the day of the performances. Call 919-209-2099 or visit their website here for more details.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m.
Christmas in the Vineyard Holiday Dinner Show
Hinnant Vineyards, Pine Level
Celebrate with the joyous sounds of the season at Hinnant Vineyards. A three-course dinner will be provided, and The Johnston County Chorale will perform a Holiday musical production. Tickets are $25 per person. Call 919-965-3350 for more details.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.
Best Christmas Pageant Ever
W.J. Barefoot Auditorium, Benson
Presented by the Benson Little Theater. Based on Barbara Robinson's classic 1971 book, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the most inventively awful kids in town. Other shows are set for Dec. 3 (3 p.m.), Dec. 9 (7:30 p.m.) and Dec. 10 (3 p.m.).

Sunday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m.
Wilson's Mills Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting
The Wilson's Mills Christmas Parade is a fundraiser for toys and food to go towards local families this Christmas. The route will start at Catawba Drive, continue on Wilson's Mills Road through town, turn on Fire Department Road and end at Town Hall. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting will follow the parade at Town Hall. Santa will be here taking wish lists from kids of all ages, and will be available for photo ops as well. Well also have free refreshments and local entertainment prior to the tree lighting at sundown. The tree lighting and cookies with Santa are free for all.

Sunday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m.
8th Annual Archer Lodge Christmas Celebration
The Archer Lodge Christmas Parade will be on Sunday, December 3, starting at 3 p.m. After the parade, there will be pictures with Santa, crafts and refreshments. There will also be a children's workshop and snow sledding. The town Christmas Tree lighting will be held at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call Archer Lodge Town Hall at 919-550-1738.

Sunday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m.
2017 Christmas in Clayton Art & Home Tour
Glen Laurel Subdivision
The 2017 Christmas in Clayton Art & Home Tour is set for Sunday, Dec. 3 in Glen Laurel Subdivision. Eight private homes will be open for public touring, filled with holiday decorations. The Glen Laurel Clubhouse will also be open to ticket-holding visitors and will have pub food and drink for sale. In addition to Christmas cheer, each home will feature local artists with artwork to display and sell. Tickets are only $10 each. All profits from this Clayton Visual Arts event go to fund grants for public school art projects. Learn more at and the Christmas in Clayton Facebook page.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
Christmas in Cleveland
Join us for our inaugural Christmas in Cleveland event! We will have a Christmas Parade and Community Tree Lighting. Santa Claus will be there to ride in the parade and visit with the kids after. This event will not be in 42/40 Plaza this year, instead we will have the event on the grounds of JCC Cleveland Campus and the parade will begin behind the fire department and travel onto Cleveland Road and back behind the fire department.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m.
Selma Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting
The Town of Selma is having a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade on Tuesday, December 5th starting at 5 p.m. with entertainment, then the tree lighting at 6 p.m. and concluding with the parade at 7 p.m. There no fee to enter the parade and we would love to have you be a part of this wonderful opportunity.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Smithfield Christmas Tree Lighting
The town's annual Christmas tree lighting will be held at the corner of Third and Market streets. With performances by local choruses, bands and dance groups, cookie decorating, hot chocolate, the cake dive and a chance to win hundreds of Downtown Dollars, this event offers something for the entire family to get in the holiday spirit. A special visitor from the North Pole will help us light the tree.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Kenly Christmas Parade
Don't miss Kenly's annual Christmas parade. For more information, call 919-284-2116.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m.
Hot Dogs & Santa
Hinnant Outreach Center, Micro
Gear up for the festivities in Micro with a hot dog and some face time with Father Christmas.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m.
Anniversary/Christmas celebration
Parker Pharmacy, Four Oaks
Parker Pharmacy is hosted an event to celebrate its one-year anniversary and the Christmas season. Lunch will be provided (while supplies last) along with activities for the kids. For more information, call 919-963-3535.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m.
Clayton Christmas Parade
The Clayton Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. Sponsored and organized by the Clayton Rotary, the event features more than 100 colorful floats, booming marching bands and of course, Santa Claus! For more information, call the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 919-553-6352.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m.
Micro Christmas Parade and Christmas Tree lighting
Micro's annual Christmas parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 9. The tree lighting will follow at Micro Fire Department. For more information, call 919-901-1737.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
Clayton Piano Festival Holiday Gala
The Holiday Gala is set for December 9th at Gateway Event Center with virtuoso pianist, Jeffrey Biegel! You won't want to miss this! Students and children 18 and under are only $5, so bring the whole family!! Tickets at

Sunday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m.
Pine Level Christmas Parade
Pine Level's annual Christmas parade is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. For more information, call Town Hall at 919-965-2284.

Sunday, Dec. 13, 10:30 a.m.
Story Time with Santa
James Bryan Creech Library, Four Oaks
Santa will make his annual appearance at the library on Dec. 13 for Story Time with Santa. Each child will receive a small gift from Santa and there will be time for everyone to talk with him. Pictures are encouraged so bring your camera or phone. We have set aside time starting at 11:30 for children that deal with over-stimulation disorders and need a smaller group or one on one during their visit with Santa. For more information, email or call during regular hours at 919-963-6013.

Benson Christmas Downtown Lights

Dec. 13-15, 7-9 p.m.
Pleasant Hill Christian Church Nativity
Pleasant Hill Church Road, Benson
On Dec. 13-15 from 7-9 p.m. each evening, check out a drive-thru nativity scene. For more information, visit or call 919-894-3212.

Thursday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
Smithfield Christmas Parade
The Smithfield Christmas parade is set for Thursday, Dec. 14. For more information, call 919-934-2148.

Friday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m.
Cookies with Santa
C.E. Barnes Store, Archer Lodge
Santa’s coming to Archer Lodge! Don't miss the chance to have cookies with the big guy. For more information, call 919-553-6551.

Saturday, Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m.
Polar Express
Howell Theatre
Join Santa for a free showing of “The Polar Express” in Downtown Smithfield.

Sunday, Dec 17, 6 p.m.
Pisgah Baptist Church Christmas Cantata
Pisgah Baptist Church, N.C. 210, Smithfield
Pisgah Baptist Church will be having a Christmas Cantata on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. For more information, call 919-934-8048.

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m.
Christmas With The Embers
Rudy Theatre, Selma
Don't miss Christmas With The Embers featuring Craig Woolard. This legendary beach music band performs old and new arrangements of classic Christmas tunes the whole family will love all with a fully decorated stage, costumes and maybe even a visit from the Jolly Old Elf himself! For more information, visit

Sunday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m.
Christmas Event
James Bryan Creech Library, Four Oaks
They will have video games on the "big screen," as well as assorted Christmas goodies. For more information, email or call during regular hours at 919-963-6013.

Things to see

Meadow Lights
4546 Godwin Lake Road, Benson
The largest and oldest Christmas light show in eastern North Carolina. Family owned and operated business that started more than 40 years ago. "The Old Country Store" is one of the largest candy stores in the state specializing in Christmas and old fashion candy, carrying over 300 varieties. Take a train ride through more than 30 acres of lights or ride an old-fashioned carousel. There's also a chance to take a photo with Santa. Dates: Through Dec. 31. Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday - Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Meadow Lights

American Music Jubilee Down Home Christmas Show
Rudy Theatre, Selma
Take a nostalgic trip back to an innocent age when anticipation of Santa's visit made the holidays magical. Enjoy gospel favorites and the contemporary beat of hits like "Christmas in Dixie." Show runs from Dec. 1-19. For dates, times and ticket information, visit

Lights on the Neuse
Boyette Family Farm, 1620 Loop Road, Clayton
Celebrate the holiday with an old-fashioned hayride at Lights on the Neuse this season. The hayride whisks you and your loved ones away to a transformed world of Christmas spirit. It's open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this month, and other select nights as well. For the complete schedule, visit

You can read this entire article in the recent issue of Johnston Now. Be sure to follow Johnston Now on Facebook as well.