New plans for Leland Christmas celebration in place of parade

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — ‘Tis the season, but some residents in Leland are not so jolly. The town is changing its plans for its Christmas celebration.

In just a few weeks, things around Leland’s Town Hall and Founder’s Park are going to look a little different.

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The Town of Leland wants you to know that there won’t be a parade, but they still have some big plans in store.

“What we are doing is focusing on our annual tree lighting event, and we hope to market it as ‘A Day of Christmas in Leland,'” Town Operations and Services Director Wyatt Richardson said.

When word got out about the annual Christmas parade being cancelled, some residents took to social media to voice their opinions.

In years past, The Unity Group organized the parade. Last year, the Town of Leland partnered with The Unity Group, but Richardson says things didn’t work out this year.

“The Unity Group sent a letter to the town stating that they did not want a partner for 2019,” he said.

So, he says Leland decided to take their annual light display up a few notches and make it an event all their own.

“Last year with the light display, we had about half the park lit up at the tree section,” Richardson said. “This year, we’re going to expand that light display to the whole forested section of the park.”

On December 7, “A Day of Christmas in Leland” will feature a bigger light display, tree lighting and a number of other activities around Founder’s Park.

“We’ve actually spoken to Santa and Mrs. Claus and they’re going to make their way down from the North Pole,” he said.

Richardson says the town’s Tourism Development Authority gave them a $30,000 grant to make the event bigger and better.

Although some are sad to be without the parade this year, the town wants to make the event a destination spot.

“Christmas certainly is not cancelled,” he said.

Preparations for the event will start in just a few weeks.

If you cannot make it out on December 7, Richardson says the light display will be up through the first week in January.