Welcome the Town of Clayton, North Carolina

Join us THIS Thursday for a Clayton Holiday Tradition!  

Downtown at Christmas

Ring in the holiday season with the Town of Clayton’s festive and ever-popular Christmas Village and Tree Lighting. Come downtown Thursday, Dec. 3 and celebrate the 25th Anniversary Tree Lighting Ceremony!  Thousands of people pack Main Street and help bring downtown Clayton alive with the holiday spirit!

Starting at 5:30 p.m., Main Street hosts two and a half hours of music, holiday cheer, a business open house, a live Nativity, and — of course — a chance to sit on Santa's lap and tell Saint Nick what's on your Christmas wish list. New to this year's event, we'll have trackless train rides boarding at the corner of Main and Fayetteville streets, and there will be a free photo booth inside the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 301 E. Main St.

The entire night culminates in Town Square at 7:45 p.m. with a traditional tree lighting ceremony on the corner of Fayetteville & Main streets. 

This year marks the eighth year the Clayton Downtown Development Association Inc. (CDDA) has organized holiday festivities in partnership with the local community, businesses and groups. The CDDA sends a huge thank-you to the wonderfully dedicated volunteers who make this event possible year after year.

This year's Christmas Village and Tree Lighting features:

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony- Program begins 7:45 p.m. - Tree lighting 8 p.m. sharp! 

Santa Claus and the honorary “Mr. & Mrs. Christmas” ride in a horse drawn carriage down Main Street and the Clayton High School Band makes its way to Town Square. That’s always the signal to make your way to Town Square for the lighting! After this, the countdown to the lighting begins and WOW - our nearly 30 foot tree lights up the night sky!

Mr. & Mrs. Christmas - Ernest & Joyce Blackley

​These two long-time community leaders and Downtown Clayton business owners are the ones who helped start this wonderful tradition! The tree lighting was their first community venture. They helped light the first tree in front of Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library (in fact, it was a cedar tree behind their Main Street store, Blackley's Printing, that Ernest cut down himself for the inaugural event!) Now, 25 years later, this loving couple will have the honors of throwing the switch and leading this Clayton tradition once again!  

Santa's Workshop

Santa’s Workshop - 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Join us at the Main Street Community Garden, 439 E. Main Street, where children can tell Santa what if they've been bad or good! Families get to snap free pictures with their cameras or cell phones. We just ask for a $1.00 donation to the Clayton Area Ministries.

Downtown Business Open House

Downtown Business Open House - 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Hundreds get to experience all that downtown Clayton has to offer from retail to service businesses. Many of the merchants welcome the crowds with holiday refreshments including cider, soft drinks, cookies, and candies. If your stomach is calling for more than just snacks, all downtown restaurants are open for dinner

Live Nativity

Live Nativity - 5:30-7:30 p.m.

We have to remember the reason for the season!  A live nativity can be found on the open lawn of Sherry’s Signature Cheesecakes, across the street from the Wagner House. And yes, they have live animals that don’t mind being pet!

Trackless Train - 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Kiddies can hop aboard this free holiday locomotive and enjoy a ride through the winter wonderland. The "train station" is located at the corner of Main & Fayetteville streets. 

Free Photo Booth - 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Grab your friends and your family and head to the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 301 E. Main St. to snap a free ole-fashioned photo booth holiday photo - a complimentary souvenir of our 25th anniversary tree lighting!

Doggie Costume

Doggie Christmas Costume Contest & Parade - 6:30 p.m. 

This continues to be a popular contest. Contestants march from Doggie Do’z at 113 E First Street to Wine of Main. A minimum donation of $1.00 or a can of food for Johnston County Animal Shelter gets each four-legged friend a chance to participate. For more information, call Doggie Do’z at 919-553-5959.

Dance & Choral Performances

Dance & Choral Performances - 5:30- 7:30 p.m. 

Children from Clayton elementary and middle schools, daycares and dance studios provide holiday performances on risers at Horne Square in the center of downtown. Students from Clayton High Chorus perform on the steps of the Chamber of Commerce and carol along Main Street.

25th Anniversary Ornaments Available for $15

Commemorate the 25th anniversary of Clayton’s Christmas Village and Tree Lighting with a limited edition ornament! These gold-plated keepsakes cost $15, and we’ll have them for sale at our information tents at Town Square and Horne Square. Also keep an eye out the ornaments on sale at participating downtown businesses.

Miss Clayton Sings a Christmas Carol

Kensley Leonard, our first-ever Miss Clayton, will sing a holiday favorite during the Tree Lighting ceremony scheduled for 7:45 p.m. in Town Square.

Clayton Area Ministries (CAM) Holiday Food Drive

Clayton Area Ministries (CAM) Holiday Food Drive

Two collection points for the CAM SLAM Holiday Food Drive are usually set up at several intersections along Main Street.  Please donate any food items you can for those families less fortunate this holiday season. For more information call 919-553-5654 or visit www.claytonareaministries.org

Christmas Tree

About the Clayton Downtown Development Association

The Clayton Downtown Development Association Inc. is a non-profit organization formed to coordinate revitalization work in the historic downtown district. The CDDA advocates and provides business improvement services in the downtown district, administers incentives for downtown improvements and organizes several special events — including the Town Square Concert Series and the Christmas Village and Tree Lighting. For more information about this event and others sponsored by the CDDA, please call 919-553-5002 or send us an email!

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