Marshmallow roasting pits are a hit during Carolina Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Photo: CMS

With Carolina Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway in full swing, visitors are enjoying the many attractions the event has to offer. Whether it’s driving through the spectacular light show, walking through Bethlehem Village or going on pony rides, Carolina Christmas has something for each member of the family. 

Open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31, excluding Christmas Day, the second annual Carolina Christmas has a longer route that includes more than 3 million LED lights and an extended drive-the-track experience to enhance the enjoyment for visitors.

After visiting three times last year and coming back once already this year, Brandon Popovich, from Charlotte, N.C., is planning on attending at least one more time when his family comes to visit for the holidays. 

“I love the longer route,” said Popovich. “I think the whole thing is great. There is so much to do. You drive and watch the lights, listen to music, the big screen TV is on and there’s animals, toys, crafts. Everything is here.”

Popovich is referring to the world’s largest HDTV, which is located on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s backstretch and plays popular holiday movie clips during Carolina Christmas. While driving through the lights, visitors can listen to holiday music and hear their favorite NASCAR drivers share holiday memories by tuning into 91.1 FM.

Charlotte resident Nikki Rainey recently took in Carolina Christmas for the first time with her husband, son and niece. They loved seeing all the lights during the drive, as well as stopping at the Christmas Village.

“We enjoyed it,” said Rainey. “My son is two and he really liked it, so that’s been part of the fun. He really liked the kiddie train ride and the trees that you see right before you go through the tunnel.”

The Christmas Village at Carolina Christmas is open Thursday through Sunday and offers a petting zoo, pony rides, marshmallow-roasting pits, local food vendors, Santa’s Workshop and a live Nativity scene at the Bethlehem Village. For Aimee Soniat and her family, also of Charlotte, the animals were especially entertaining.

“The petting zoo was our favorite part,” said Soniat. “The animals were great. The white camel in the Bethlehem Village was a little strange, but it was so cool to see!”

The Bethlehem Village includes actors and live animals reenacting a large-scale Nativity
scene. More than 200 volunteers from 12 area church groups work to bring the village to life.

“The Bethlehem Village is really great,” said Monroe, N.C., resident Jeremy Hill, who visited Carolina Christmas with his wife and two kids. “It’s a way to show kids what Christmas is all about.”

One of the largest holiday drive-through light parks in the United States, Carolina Christmas has a new, more convenient entrance at zMAX Dragway. The event is the anchor attraction for the new Boulevard of Lights, which features three miles of twinkling lights and more than 140 light pole Christmas decorations running down Bruton Smith Boulevard from Concord Mills Mall to the speedway.

Tickets for Carolina Christmas are available online or at the gate nightly during event hours for drive-up traffic. Admission is just $20 per car, truck or SUV, which includes admission for up to eight passengers. Group and motorcoach packages are available.

Families may also take advantage of The Speedway Club's Holiday Dinners and Carolina Christmas packages, which includes a speedway-provided ride through the Carolina Christmas display and a holiday meal.