Special Events Bring Holiday Cheer to Downtown New Bern

City of New Bern

The City of New Bern is proud to announce a festive schedule of events this holiday season. First, the return of the annual Community Tree Lighting at Union Point Park which is scheduled for November 26th. Then, the 37th Annual Coastal Christmas Flotilla will be held on Saturday, December 4th. And don’t miss our Movie in the Park for December, which will feature “The Polar Express” on the big screen at Union Point Park. All events are free and open to the public and are expected to bring hundreds of visitors to downtown New Bern to celebrate the holidays.

The annual Community Tree Lighting begins at 6 p.m. at Union Point Park. Visitors will be greeted with Christmas carols and Santa will arrive by horse and carriage. He’ll ask for the crowd’s help as he flips the switch and lights up the tree. Parks & Recreation staff began assembling the 26-foot tree and its artificial fir panels on Monday, November 22nd. Other lighted displays including a “Season’s Greetings” sign, Santa Claus, a bear, and more have also been assembled and staged inside the park. After Santa lights the tree Friday evening, he’ll head to Bear Plaza to greet families and find out if kids have been naughty or nice this year.

On Saturday, December 4th, the Coastal Christmas Flotilla cruises into Union Point Park beginning at 5:30 p.m. Presented by City of New Bern Parks & Recreation and sponsored by the New Bern Grand Marina Yacht Club, this holiday event features a parade of decorated boats along the Neuse and Trent rivers. More than just a way to spread holiday cheer, the parade is also a competition.

This year, four lucky winners will go home with trophies and bragging rights for best decorated boat in the following categories: Sailboat 26 Feet and Up; Power Boat 25 Feet and Under; Power Boat 26 Feet and Up; and the People’s Choice award. Boat registration is available online at www.newbernnc.gov/flotilla or you can register by visiting the Parks & Recreation Administration office at 1307 Country Club Road, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It is free to register, but you must submit your registration by December 2nd at 5 p.m.

Visitors to Union Point Park for the flotilla will enjoy holiday music by the youth choir from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as well as food, sweets, and hot cocoa. Boats will gather at the Alfred Cunningham Bridge downtown prior to the flotilla and will be escorted north up the Neuse River. Once they reach Council Bluff Green, they will turn around and head back. Best viewing spots include Council Bluff Green south to the park, and the Riverwalk behind the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center east to Union Point Park.

In addition to these events, the City previously announced the return of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team that will perform a high-flying, festive air show on Saturday, November 27th at Union Point Park.  The show begins at 4:45 p.m. And, Parks & Recreation will feature a holiday Movie in the Park on Friday, December 10th. Come watch “The Polar Express” at Union Point Park. The movie begins at 6pm. Both of these events are free and open to the public as well. Be sure to mark your calendar to visit Santa’s House in Bear Plaza during “Santa Hours” when families and kids can stop by and share a holiday wish with the jolly ol’ fellow. Santa will open his home several times each week from Friday, November 26th through Friday, December 24th. Reservations for a specific date and time can be made online by visiting www.bearymerryevents.com/christmas.

“Everyone enjoys the magic of the holiday season and these events bring that magic to life,” said Kari Warren, Interim Director of Parks & Recreation. “There’s nothing like lighting up the community Christmas tree for the first time and seeing all the kids faces when Santa arrives. There is so much anticipation and excitement during the holiday season. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.”

These events and many more are part of Beary Merry Christmas in New Bern. A complete listing of events can be found at www.bearymerryevents.com.

By Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer & Brand Manager, City of New Bern