Families took a ride through High Point University’s campus on the Polar Express train during its ninth annual Community Christmas event.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 12, 2019 – High Point University kicked off night one of its ninth annual Community Christmas Celebration, celebrating the sights and sounds of the holiday season with 15,000 friends and neighbors. Night two will be held on campus Friday, Dec. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will feature complimentary entertainment, hot food, Christmas decorations and more.
From families attending for the first time to those who come every year, members of the community came out to enjoy this special event, including High Point resident Mariana Gonzalez, who came with her husband and five children.
“This is our first time attending Community Christmas,” said Gonzalez. “We are looking forward to seeing Santa and having fun as a family.”
Others like High Point resident Scott Wilhelm, Heather Blackerby and Kristin Bogs are Community Christmas veterans.
“I grew up in High Point, I’ve seen the university grow, and I’ve seen this event grow,” said Wilhelm. “The university has done a good job putting this event together, and I enjoy it because it brings people from all walks of life together. You don’t see that very often.”
For those who come each year, they have a plan mapped out before they even arrive.
“We come every year, our kids look forward to it and it has become a tradition for us,” said Blackerby. “We hopped on the train as soon as we got here tonight.”
For others, HPU is a symbol of the holidays – and Santa.
“Every time we pass by HPU, the kids point and say that’s where Santa lives,” said Bogs. “I think it’s amazing that HPU does this for the community, all the details and everything they put into it.”
Each year, the university welcomes community members while 3,500 faculty, staff and students volunteer to make the event possible.
“This is our ninth year doing Community Christmas. If you are a family who has been coming here for nine years you can line the photos up from the Nativity scene and watch your children grow up in this setting,” said Preston Davis, minister at HPU. “It’s a time capsule, and it’s done with HPU as its backdrop.”
Free and open to all ages, HPU’s Community Christmas Celebration has grown into the premier complimentary Christmas celebration in the Piedmont Triad.
“HPU is a God, family and country school,” said HPU President Nido Qubein. “We thank God for our many blessings, including that we live in America and are able to celebrate this season of joy and faith and the birth of Jesus Christ together as a community.”
Regardless of Friday’s potential for rain, HPU’s Community Christmas Celebration will continue. Indoor events on Friday include a photo and gift for children who visit Santa inside the Slane Student Center, complimentary hot chocolate and hot dogs at the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe, robotics activities in the Crafty Elf Lego Workshop, live Santa tracking in Congdon Hall’s Culp Planetarium, arcade games, musical performances and surprise visits from Anna and Elsa of “Frozen.”