North Carolina is a picture-perfect state that makes it an ideal setting for celebrating Christmas. There are so many great cities to visit, but Winston-Salem is ideal.
The name Winston-Salem may throw you for a loop. Is it one city or two? It’s actually one city that started out as Salem, but part of the region was sold and called Winston. However, the regions were often seen as one and after some arguments back and forth, the Winston-Salem post office was established.
The city has its share of interesting sites. It is home to the Bethabara Historic District. Other attractions include the Museum of Early Decorative Arts and the Reynolda Gardens. It offers several venues for sports and performing arts.
If Winston-Salem sounds like a terrific holiday spot for you to visit, here are some things you can do when you’re in town.
Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Ice Skating
The Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex is a 4000 seat multi-purpose arena. During the holiday season, it opens as an ice-skating rink. Be sure to take a turn when you’re in town.
See The Nutcracker
For some people it just isn’t the holiday season without a performance of The Nutcracker. The UNC School of the Arts brings it every year with a production that’s not to be missed.
Christmas at Bethabara Park
Bethabara is a historic neighborhood in Winston Salem. The jewel of the area is 1788 Gemienhaus Church, the last 18th century church with living quarters attached still existing in the nation.
During the Christmas at Bethabara Park event, which takes place one weekend day in early December, guests can tour the house in all its seasonal finery. They will find out how Moravians, a group of German speaking Protestants, celebrated Christmas and they will have the opportunity to make the holiday treats Moravians would have made.
Winston-Salem Jaycees Holiday Parade
The Winston-Salem Jaycees Holiday Parade is a city tradition. Due to the pandemic, the parade was presented differently in 2020. It is unclear if a similar technique will be used for 2021 and the following years.
During COVID times, the event is presented as a reverse parade. Participants who would normally walk through the streets are now lined up in areas along the parade’s route which starts on 4th St and Broad and goes through 4th St. and Trade before turning left on Trade.
Visitors hoping to see the sights will line up their vehicles at Winston-Salem Truist Stadium and drive down the route.
Those that are planning to come are encouraged to bring toys to donate to Twin City Santa and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership. There will be drop off points at the Stadium and throughout the parade route. After driving through, cars can head over to the Salem Winston Fairgrounds to check out a special holiday drive in movie.
Drivers are encouraged to decorate their cars in preparation for the event.
A tree lighting ceremony is typically hosted in conjunction with the parade. The tree is lit at Corpening Plaza by the Mayor who is accompanied by council people and Mr. and Mrs. Claus. There is no news as of yet as to how it will be handled this year, but it’s likely to go on.
Salem Saturdays at Christmas
Salem Saturdays take place at Old Salem Museum & Gardens throughout the holiday season. Guests can come by to stroll down Main St. and enjoy the rural atmosphere, see the decorated houses and talk to interpreters about how the season was once celebrated. Moravian inspired items are available for sale including beeswax candles, miniature scale Christmas villages, baked treats and more.
Here are some other activities you can enjoy.
- St. Nick at the Butner Hat Shop: Stop by this old-fashioned hat shop for a visit and a picture with old St. Nick.
- Salem Sleuth: Little ones can look out for items that are part of the scavenger hunt.
- Winkler Bake Day: Come by Winkler’s bakery to see their bakers in action and for an opportunity to make your own treats.
- Miksch Gardens & House: Visit this house and gardens to experience how Christmas was celebrated way back when. You can fold clothing, find out what’s cooking and you may even be able to grind spices for gingerbread.
- John Vogler House “Quilting Frolic”: This house museum gives guests an opportunity to join a quilting group, try a Christmas craft and decorate the tree.
- The Joiner’s Woodshop: Stop by to find out how a Christmas pyramid is constructed and to try your hand at the lathe or hand-plane methods.
- Boys’ School: The Boys’ School is the place to go to check out the Cabinet of Curiosities and listen to Moravian music. There are often impromptu concerts hosted at the facility
- Gunsmith Workshop: Attend this workshop to find out how metalwork is prepared.
- Potter’s Workshop: At the Potter’s Workshop, you can get your hands messy joining craftspeople making pottery goods.
- T. Bagge Merchant: T. Bagge Merchant is a terrific location for finding unique handcrafted items. They also have Saturday sales and live craft presentations.
- Salem Tavern Museum and Barn: The tavern barnyard will be hosting a Saturday Cooking Day on this festive occasion.
- Hidden Town Room of Meditation and Reflection: Enjoy quiet time while thinking of the people of Salem that were enslaved.
- St. Philip’s Heritage Center: The Heritage Center provides an opportunity to learn about the African American culture that grew out of Salem.
The Winston-Salem area offers so many things to see and do during the holiday season. Its old-fashioned charm makes it the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy Christmas. What will you be doing when you’re in town?
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