WILMINGTON — The annual downtown Hometown HoliDazzle celebration will take place earlier than normal beginning this year — it’s been moved to the Saturday before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 21.
It has traditionally taken place later; the 13th annual event in 2019 was held Nov. 30.
HomeTown HoliDazzle’s signature feature includes the illuminated parade downtown, as well food and activities at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, children visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus at Peoples Bank, the Wilmington High School Wilmingtones and Choraliers at the Clinton County Courthouse, and the MerryTuba Christmas at the Murphy Theatre.
The organization that puts on the event posted on their Facebook page: “We recognize that changing the date of Hometown HoliDazzle impacts the holiday traditions of families in our community. It is not a decision we made lightly. We struggled with this change and want to share our reasons for this decision with you.
“Did you know that it takes over 40 volunteers and hundreds of hours to make Hometown HoliDazzle happen? Our volunteers are invaluable to us and we need to respect their time and commitments with their own family and friends on that holiday weekend.
“In addition to our own volunteers, there are numerous community groups who participate in the event in various ways – either with floats in the parade or hosting activities in the downtown throughout the day — who also have struggled to meet their volunteer needs. Some organizations have been unable to participate at all because of a lack of volunteer availability.
“It’s not just volunteer labor that is a challenge: We are forever grateful to the City of Wilmington for their support of the event, which requires work across a variety of City departments on a holiday weekend when many employees take much-deserved vacation time.
“We’ve also heard from members of our downtown business community, many of whom rely on Thanksgiving weekend to anchor their sales numbers for the quarter with Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday special events and promotions. Many of them want to participate in Hometown HoliDazzle as well, but find that they have to make a decision because they simply can’t do everything in the same weekend.
“In short, moving the event to the Saturday before Thanksgiving ensures that we — and all of our volunteers, partner organizations, downtown businesses, and collaborating entities — can continue to provide this opportunity for free family-friendly holiday entertainment in our community. We hope that you and your family are able to join us on Nov. 21 to continue this holiday tradition.”