Winston-Salem holiday parade, tree lighting celebration happening Saturday

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- City crews are preparing to shut down Fourth Street downtown for the holiday event of the season.

The 24th annual Winston-Salem Jaycees Holiday Parade and City Tree Lighting Celebration will be held Saturday night starting at 5 p.m. The events will go on rain or shine.

"This time tomorrow, this area is going to look very different. Fourth Street in one direction will be completely crowded with floats, trucks, high school bands, dance groups and people walking in the parade. In the other direction here, we'll have people lining the sidewalk ready to see the holiday parade and Santa," said Sara Butner, co-chair of the parade.

Downtown business owners hope those people lining the sidewalks will stick around for dinner or drinks.

"Last year was so crowded in a great way, but it was hard for people to get in here to get what they wanted. So we're trying to spread the love by having a tent outside as well," said Cary Clifford, owner of Camino Bakery.

Folks with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership say the parade is one of many holiday events happening over the next few weeks. Other events include “Art for the Holidays” and “TUBACHRISTMAS” on Dec. 5, and the “Eat, Shop, and Be Merry” campaign happening through Dec. 31.

"What we're trying to do is make sure local shoppers consider downtown during this busy shopping season," said Jason Thiel, DWSP president.

Especially since there are more than 70 local owned businesses in downtown Winston-Salem now.

"I think that's a really great tipping point for downtown -- that it's not just a place to grab a drink or dinner. That's great too, but having the retail element is going to be really big for downtown Winston," said Clifford.

Organizers expect between 5,000-7,000 people to downtown for the Holiday Parade this weekend.

"Downtown Winston-Salem during Christmas is like no other place. It's beautiful and we love getting thousands of people downtown to see things they may not know are here," said Butner.

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