Hometown Christmas event to take place in Downtown Raeford

Event to include vendors, hayrides and even an appearance from Santa Claus

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RAEFORD — The Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the annual Hometown Christmas event Friday, December 2, on Main Street in Raeford.

The event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include hayrides, vendors and tours of the Raeford-Hoke Museum, and will even have special guests such as Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch.

“We’ll close down all of Main Street, from Prospect Ave all the way down to Central Ave,” said Executive Director Liz McNeill. “We’ll also close off down past the museum because we will do hayrides that start across from McLaughlin [Elementary]. They’ll go all the way down to the museum and back and drop off people down there so they can tour the museum. Usually, Santa is down there, but this year, Santa is going to be across the street from the chamber in Freedom Park. We’re going to have a big blow-up house for him to sit in so the kids can go there and drop off letters and talk to Santa and all that good stuff.”

It will be the second straight year that Hometown Christmas will take place since it had to be canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it’s an event that goes back several years prior to that.

“It’s nice because the businesses downtown, they like to stay open, and now that we have downtown here, it’s another place to stop in and eat and just gather with people,” McNeill said.

The event will also have events for kids, carolers, performances from some of the schools on the library stage, and even a martial arts demonstration, according to McNeill.

“I’ve also talked with the [Raeford United] Methodist Church about having some Christmas music playing over their speakers so that at least there’s some music going on all the way down Main Street,” McNeill said. “They’ve done it in the past and are looking into doing it again for us this year. That’ll be nice to have something in the background getting everybody in the Christmas spirit.”

In terms of food, McNeill mentioned that there would be at least one food truck at the event, but they will also be encouraging people to drop by some of the Downtown restaurants such as The Grill, Cheap Shots on Main, Wangz Bar and Grill, and Edinborough Family Restaurant.

There will also be more than 28 vendors, which will surpass last year’s total.

However, vendors are not able to sell any products so as not to take away any customers from the businesses in Downtown Raeford. Instead, vendors can distribute business cards, samples, or other free products.

“It’s just a way for them to get their business out there, so people know that they are around town,” McNeill said. “Whether it’s in Raeford or Hoke County. I also have a few coming from Fayetteville. It’s nice that we have people from out-of-town who do want to come and try and break into the Raeford area.”

If you’re in the area, Friday looks to be a great day to make it out to Raeford to enjoy some good cheer and soak in plenty of that Christmas spirit.