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Go Ask Mom

Raleigh cancels Holiday Express for 2020 Christmas season

Posted September 23, 2020 9:02 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2020 9:25 a.m. EDT

Credit: Keenan Hairston
Courtesy: City of Raleigh

— Raleigh Parks announced Wednesday morning that the popular Holiday Express event at Pullen Park won't happen in 2020.

"Raleigh Parks has made the difficult decision to cancel Holiday Express for 2020," the announcement said. "Our top priorities are the health and safety of our community. While we are very disappointed, we feel that this is in the best interest of our visitors and staff. We are hard at work planning other ways to bring you cheer this holiday season so stay tuned!"

The Holiday Express draws thousands to Pullen Park in December for meet-and-greets with Santa, train and carousel rides, arts, crafts, holiday lights and other activities. It's become an annual tradition for scores of families across the region.

Each July, there's a frenzy for tickets as parents jockey for position to purchase them online. In 2019, all 16,400 tickets sold out within about 30 minutes. This year, tickets were scheduled to go on sale on July 28, but the city postponed ticket sales in early July because of the ongoing pandemic.

It's the latest signal that our holiday season, starting with Halloween, is going to look a lot different around here because of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned against trick-or-treating. Some pumpkin patches and other fall activity destinations in the area have opted not to open for 2020, though many farms plan to start welcoming the public for the season beginning this weekend.