Hillsborough has been painted in shades of autumn as leaves blanket the town, signaling the beginning of the holiday season. 

The Old Courthouse Square features the grand Christmas tree that will brighten the night after the Hillsborough Holiday Parade and tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 2. 

Businesses around town prepare pie baking lists, perfect window box displays, and blast their heaters as patrons stop by to shorten their holiday to-do list.

This year, the Hillsborough/ Orange County Chamber of Commerce will add new flair to several events on their list of holiday happenings.

They will kick off this packed holiday schedule with Small Business Saturday this weekend, followed by the Light Up The Night Hillsborough Holiday Parade and the annual Hillsborough Candlelight Tour: Books By Candlelight on Sunday, Dec. 9. 

For a full list of holiday events throughout November and December visit hillsboroughholidays.com and hillsboroughchamber.com.

Small Business Saturday

The day after Thanksgiving, a shopping frenzy ensues. A rest from the overwhelming large deal-breaking shopping centers isn’t the only thing that the Saturday after Thanksgiving offers. In Historic Hillsborough, businesses are inviting people to shop local and small for all your holiday gift needs on Saturday, Nov. 24. 

The local chamber of commerce has compiled the local specials to help make holiday shopping an enjoyable outing.

Stop by the Orange County Public Library at 137 W. Margaret Ln. for a welcome package including information on participating businesses and items to get your shopping off to the right start.

The library will also be hosting a local Hillsborough Author Book Fair, including works from Lee Smith, Allan Gurganus, A.J. Mayhew, John Claude Bemis, Barbara Claypole White and more.

Throughout the day, the Entrepreneur Expo will be in full swing on the Old Courthouse Square on the corner of Churton and King Streets. Those included in the expo are Wright Brothers Landscaping & Tree Service, Foodlets, Gallery 71, Therapeutic Wellness, and Your Local Business Finder.

Be sure to check out the following participation businesses and their respective specials:

Downtown Hillsborough

  • Carlisle & Linny Vintage Jewelry at 112 S. Churton will offer hot cider along with gifts with purchase of $50 or more.
  • A Little Something, 118 N. Churton, will have scout bags for purchases $40 or more.
  • Margaret Lane Gallery at 121 W. Margaret will offer giftable one-of-a-kind art, ornaments and jewelry from local artists, all chosen to appeal to a wide range of interests and budgets. 
  • 108 Churton, Boutique, & Gifts at 108 S. Churton will have huge savings on selected items.
  • Matthew’s Chocolates, 107 N. Churton, will offer a free “Shop Small” tote bag with a minimum of $50 in chocolates purchase (while tote supplies last).
  • Volume at 226 S. Churton will have beer specials and holiday records for sale.
  • Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, 121 N. Churton, is offering a showcase of giftable art – jewelry, pottery, paintings, wood sculptures, photography, fiber and glass art – and handmade holiday season ornaments.
  • Purple Crow Books at 109 W. King has a special 10 percent off books by Hillsborough authors.
  • Thomas Stevens Gallery at 126 W. King will feature distinctly local landscapes and evocative figures, portraits, drawings and sculptures by local artist Thomas Stevens.
  • Uniquitiques at 125 E. King will have snacks on the porch and lots of fun surprises.
  • Hillsborough Wine Company at 118 S. Churton will offer 20 percent off sparkling wine and champagne.
  • Melissa Designer Jewelry at 116 S. Churton will have 10 percent off storewide.
  • Spiral Studios at 115 N. Churton will provide a free polishing cloth with a $50 purchase.
  • Hillsborough Visitors Center at 150 E. King will have Hillsborough-specific merchandise for sale.
  • Hot Tin Roof at 115 W. Margaret will have $5 Apple Pie Mimosas.
  • King Street Bar at 114 W. King is a participating business.

West Hillsborough

  • Whit’s Frozen Custard at 240 S. Nash is a participating business.
  • Paws at the Corner at 246 S. Nash will be celebrating their 9th Anniversary.

Daniel Boone Square

  • Hillsborough Pharmacy at 110 Boone Square will be offering a free item from their famous “dollar wall” with purchase.
  • Bailey’s Bee Supply at 147 Boone Square will have 10 percent of honey sales.
  • Advantage Tennis, 131 Boone Square, will offer 40 percent off all apparel, 30 percent off footwear and bags, and 15 percent off rackets.
  • Yesterday & Today Frame Shop, 110 Boone Square, is a participating business.

North Churton/ Highway 70 area

  • Steve’s Garden Market & Butchery, 610 N. Churton, will have Certified Angus beef filet fo $1/pound, NC seafood specials, 15 percent off wine and more.
  • Majestic Outdoor Garden & Gifts, 114 Highway 70 E, # 2, will have a free Hillsborough tote with purchase of $50 or more.
  • Gallery 71 Frame Shop & Bar, 121 N. Scottswood Blvd, will have holiday art and picture framing.

Hillsborough Holiday Parade

The beloved annual parade, Light Up The Night Hillsborough Holiday Parade, Community Sing and Tree Lighting, will be on Sunday, Dec. 2, beginning at 4:15 p.m. and presented by the Town of Hillsborough. The parade route will travel south on Churton Street to Margaret Lane and then north on Cameron Street. Food trucks will be set up beginning at 3 p.m. on Sunday. 

Though the echos of a marching band and holiday tunes usually signal the start of the celebrations, this year the parade will kick off with a special “Running of the Elves.”

The Hillsborough Running Club and local school running clubs, in all their “elfishness” will lead off the parade at 4 p.m. with a chip-timed, 1-mile downhill race on Churton Street through the center of Historic Hillsborough. 

The parade will feature local businesses and personalities, churches, fire engines, festive floats, and a number of high school clubs, marching bands, and cheerleaders – and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

After the parade, the Community Sing and Tree Lighting will begin on the Old Courthouse Square.

The Grand Marshal will be ABC11 Eyewitness News Co-anchor Tisha Powell, who is a Hillsborough resident and “huge” community supporter, the local Chamber has noted. She co-anchors ABC11 Eyewitness News every weeknight at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. with Steve Daniels. You can also find the team at 10 p.m. on CW22. 

Former National Hockey League Left Winger Bates Battaglia was originally set to be Grand Marshal, but will not be able to join Hillsborough this year due to an unexpected family conflict. 

Another notable attendee is up and coming country singer/songwriter Sydney Lett who will be riding in the parade as well as singing a few songs in front of the Hillsborough/ Orange County Chamber’s new location at 200 N Churton St. prior to the parade. She will perform in front of Uniquitiques right after the parade and tree lighting.

Lett has shared the stage with country superstars such as Blake Shelton, Diamond Rio, Sammy Kershaw, Ricochet, Gloriana, Joe Nichols, Rodney Atkins, Leann Rimes, The Lost Trailers, Trailer Choir. She has also been in the studio with producer Jamie Tate, working on her debut record due for release spring of 2019. 

Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available at the Visitors Center in the Alexander Dickson House at 150 E King St. from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 9 for a suggested donation of $5. 

The Light Up The Night Hillsborough Holiday Parade, Community Sing and Tree Lighting are sponsored by the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Hillsborough Tourism Development Authority.

Candlelight Tour

During Hillsborough’s 32nd Annual Candlelight tour, the tradition of welcoming people into local homes and historic sites continues. Visitors will be greeted with holiday decor, local musicians, and readings from local students and acclaimed authors. 

The tour is slated for Sunday, Dec. 9 from 1 to 7 p.m. and will feature “pop up” readings from authors who have celebrated the charm of this small town in various writings as testimony of their love for the place they live and work, the Chamber notes in its event description. Authors include Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Barbara Younger, Beverly Scarlett, Bob Burtman, Barry Jacobs and Brooks Graebner.

The tour is self-guided and is a great opportunity for guests to slow down during a busy holiday season and to create meaningful traditions.

Visitors should expect to find more to do than can be accomplished in one afternoon, according to the chamber, so relax and enjoy the stroll.

The tour features 10 locations, including private homes from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and historic places from 1 to 7 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity for special events such as a complimentary miniature train circling the downtown historic district, visits and picture-taking with Santa & Mrs. Claus at the Visitor’s Center, a Gingerbread House exhibit at the Burwell School, Caroling Hayrides to the West End, and new this year, a family-friendly “Hillsborough Passport” series, which is an exploration activity to discover some of the town’s best kept secrets.

Discounted advance ticket prices will be $20 for adults and $12 for children ages 10-17. Children under 9 are free. Advance ticketing may be found online at hillsboroughchamber.com. Regular price for admission Dec.3 through the day of is $30 for adults and $18 for children ages 10 to 17. “Will Call” and “Day Of” ticketing will be located at the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce office, 200 N. Churton St. in Hillsborough.

 For more information call the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce at (919) 732-8156 or visit hillsboroughchamber.com, as well as the chamber office located at 200 N. Churton in Hillsborough.