HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 18, 2015 – More people than ever before experienced the life-size Nativity scene, falling snow, Clydesdale carriage rides, hot food, Santa Claus and an abundance of sights and sounds of the season at High Point University’s Fifth Annual Community Christmas Celebration.
A total of 20,000 people came to the two-night event that concluded tonight. What started as humble beginnings five years ago has grown into the premier complimentary Christmas celebration in the Piedmont Triad, and it’s all organized by hundreds of HPU faculty and staff volunteers who contribute a total of 2,500 hours to make it possible.
“We understand how impactful this event is for our community,” said TJ Foster, who lives in High Point, works at HPU and volunteered at the event. “It’s a part of our culture here at High Point University. That’s why I and people from all across campus are taking part. We realize how impactful this event is for our community.”
They do it all for neighbors like Fran Caraway, who lives just a few blocks away, as well as countless others from across the Triad.
“I love this,” Caraway said. “We live in the community right behind College Village (Shopping Center). So we know about everything that’s going on at HPU, and we’re always on campus for all the great events like this.”
For many of the attendees, the event is a way to enjoy Christmas with friends, both old and new, and fellowship with one another.
“The purpose of the season is the birth of Jesus Christ,” says Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU president. “That’s why we have a Nativity scene and that’s why we sing and give God the glory for all the blessings in our lives. We are delighted to bring thousands of families together to fellowship.”
This year’s Community Christmas was held Dec. 17 and 18 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Next year’s dates will be announced soon.
By the numbers – HPU’s campus was decked in:
- 86,000 lights
- 11,200 feet of garland
- 163 wreaths
- 548 banners
- 447 bows
- 34 nutcrackers and soldiers
- 23 Nativity scene figures
- 300 poinsettias
- 12 Christmas trees
To view more photos from the event, click here.
What They Said About Community Christmas:
“This is our third year coming,” said High Point resident Travis Talent. “It’s so well done here. There’s a sense of community. It’s great that HPU puts this together. The kids love it, and we always have a great time. Everybody together shows a great sense of community.”
“This is my first year at HPU,” said HPU volunteer and political communication professor Dr. Brandon Lenoir, who spray painted his beard silver in the spirit of Christmas. “I’ve heard a lot of talk around town about what a wonderful event this is, and we wanted to be a part of it. We’re having a lot of fun. We’re getting a chance to visit with people from the community, and apparently my glitter beard is a hit.”
“This is such a joyous and fun event,” said HPU volunteer and vice president for financial affairs Debi Butt. “This is my second year volunteering. I love how happy everyone is to see the baby Jesus. Last year, I was blown away by how popular the Nativity was. And really, it was all about the baby Jesus. That’s what Christmas is all about.”
“They got their picture made with Santa and got their toboggan,” said Kernersville resident Michele Davis, while she and her family enjoyed hot food from the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe. “Then we did two bouncy houses, then we came in here to get food. This past summer, my daughter did the STEM camp here. Now, all three of my kids want to come here.”
“We’ve come the past two years,” said local resident Dorothy Smith. “I love it, and the kids love it. That’s why I bring them back. It’s great what you guys are doing for the community.”
“This is our first year coming here,” said High Point resident Leslie Goodson, who brought her entire family. “I like bringing my kids out and letting them see different things. It’s really interesting. “
“This is our second year,” said High Point resident Brittney Covington, who brought her two children Mykel and Christian. “The kids, actually, were the ones who made us come back this year; one wanted to see the horses, and the other wanted cookies. That’s what they remembered from last year. It’s also great because things seem to be moving a lot quicker than last year.”
“I told Santa I want a sleigh and I want a reindeer named Rudolph,” said Christian Covington, son of Brittney Covington.