Asheville Holiday Parade returns — and here’s your guide to the fun

Asheville holiday parade


The 2021 Asheville Holiday Parade returns to downtown this Saturday, November 20, beginning at 11 a.m.


Produced by the Asheville Downtown Association in partnership with the City of Asheville, the parade features more than 75 entries including bands, dance and cheer squads, youth sports, nonprofits,  businesses and of course Mr. Santa and Mrs. Claus, courtesy of the NC Arboretum’s Winter Lights. This year’s parade theme is “Celebrating 75 Years of Memories and Magic.” Sparky the Fire Dog will serve as Grand Marshal.


Here is need-to-know information for those who plan to attend.


Parade route

The parade will begin at Charlotte Street and Biltmore Avenue, proceeding north to Patton Avenue, and then west on Patton Avenue, terminating at North French Broad Avenue.

The parade is expected to last about an hour and a half.


Parking garages

  • Wall Street Garage is accessible via Otis Street;
  • Aloft/Biltmore Garage is accessible via South Lexington Avenue;
  • Buncombe County Courthouse Garage is accessible via College Street;
  • Buncombe County Health & Human Services Parking Garage is accessible via Coxe Avenue;
  • Rankin Avenue and Civic Center garages are accessible via Rankin Avenue.


Street closures

  • Charlotte Street between College and McCormick Place will be closed to traffic at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate the parade line-up. Detour via McCormick Place and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Charlotte Street will reopen to traffic shortly after the parade has cleared the area.
  • North and South Pack Square will close at 7:45 a.m. for the TV crew and judges area (no parking towing enforced).
  • The parade route will begin closing at 9 a.m.  (no parking towing enforced).
  • All roads intersecting the parade route will be limited to local traffic only.
  • Roads are expected to reopen around 2 p.m. once street sweeping and cleanup is complete.


Other helpful information

  • Restrooms: Available at the Pack Square Park Pavilion, 121 College St. Find portable potties on South Pack Square/Biltmore, and in the following (3) parking lots along the parade route: LaZoom Room on Biltmore, First Bank at Patton/Church, and First Citizens Bank at Patton/Coxe avenues.
  • Transit routes will be impacted. Please check for scheduled adjustments.
  • ADA Accessibility: For anyone requiring accessible parking or other ADA accommodations, please contact the Parade Accessibility Coordinator at 828-251-9973 or email at by noon, November 19.
  • COVID safety: The Asheville Downtown Association is monitoring COVID-19 trends and consulting with local public health and medical officials, and will follow any guidelines set forth by the CDC, State of North Carolina, Buncombe County and the City of Asheville.
    • If you can’t stay at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you, wear your mask.
    • Get vaccinated! Free COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone 5 and older at the Buncombe County Health and Human Services COVID Vaccine clinic located at 40 Coxe Avenue. Clinic hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  No ID is required. Learn more at

Parade after party and free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus 

Following the parade check out the Winter Tree Carnival at Rabbit Rabbit, 75 Coxe Ave. From 2 to 4 p.m., there will be free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, courtesy of IMA Photos & Images, games and activities from Kickback Party Rental, crafts from LEAF Easel Rider, and more.


Parade sponsors

The 2021 Asheville Holiday Parade is presented by Bojangles of WNC and the following sponsors: Explore Asheville, Ingles Markets, Apple Tree Honda, The North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights, Deerfield Retirement Community, Sun Soo Martial Arts, Kudzu Brands, Aloft Asheville Downtown, Kimpton Hotel Arras, WLOS ABC 13, My40, Star 104.3, Mix 96.5, 99.9 Kiss Country, 98.1 The River, Kudzu Brands, Asheville Color & Imaging and IMA Photo & Images.