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Banner Elk’s ‘Christmas in the Park’ Celebration a Success Despite Threat of Ice; Photos and Video Included

by Madison V. Fisler

Dec. 9, 2013. The threat of an ice storm and misty, foggy weather did not deter nearly 1,000 attendees from enjoying Banner Elk’s second annual “Christmas in the Park” celebration and the “Parade of Lights” night parade over the weekend. 

Instead of staying in from the chill, hundreds of residents and visitors came out to the event to bring in the holiday season with style. 

“The attendance was around the same as last year, and I think the weather had a lot to do with that,” said event organizer Jo-Ann McMurray.

“The threat of the ice storm and the fact that it was very misty and wet all day really had an impact with the event, but we had almost 1,000 people come out so we are very pleased. Everyone had such a great time.”

The parade this year was much larger, with even more people participating in the parade than ever before. 

“There were definitely a lot more floats and cars decorated this year,” McMurray said. 

New this year were the U.S. Army Ice Carvers, who showcased their talents at the Christmas in the Park celebration. They even had a “wet tee shirt contest,” but it’s not what you think!

“They rolled up tee shirts and put them in ice and handed them out. Whoever could get out the tee shirt and put it on the quickest won,” said McMurray.

Everyone at the event had a favorite part. For many, it was the beautiful night parade, for others it was the ice carvers. For many kids, they could hardly contain their excitement as they waited for their turn to sit on Santa’s lap.

For McMurray herself, her favorite every year is the train that rides through the luminaries. 

If you didn’t get a chance to enjoy this spectacular event, don’t worry! We have lots of photos and even a video to show you what you missed. And remember, there’s always next year!

Check out our video below: 


“We have a ton of new ideas for next year,” McMurray said. “I’m excited. I’ve been working on them all day!”

But the event simply could not be were it not for the tremendous efforts of many volunteers to make it a night worth remembering.

“I have a tremendous amount of people to thank. I had a lot of volunteers that I new, and also a lot of others who just showed up and pitched it. It was a real community effort, which was great.” 

Check out our photos of the event this weekend. 

Photos by Ken Ketchie