AYDEN, NC (WITN) The holiday spirit is spreading across the east and crowds lined the streets of Ayden ahead of the town's Christmas Parade of Lights Thursday.
The celebration started with Ayden's Christmas Town, which had vendors, food and fun throughout downtown. The family event starred Santa Claus who posed for pictures and listened to gift wishes before the parade started.
Santa says he made the trip to eastern Carolina without his reindeer.
"I flew on a private jet to the States and then I jumped on a bus. Then I drove the rest of the way so it was a long trip but worth it. I like Ayden," said Santa Claus.
There were some other familiar faces in the parade, including WITN's Jim Howard and Grace Holland. The ECU Marching Pirates also performed.
Parade goers say that sense of community is what makes the holiday season so special.
"Just looking at the kids smile, it's enough to make anyone smile looking at them," said Felicia Cherry.
Several other eastern Carolina cities will hold holiday celebrations this week. Greenville, Washington, Kinston and New Bern all host their parades on Saturday.