CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - After a year of planning, Carolina Beach unveiled their newest holiday activity, Parking Meters on Parade.
The timing couldn’t have been better, after the pandemic forced the town to call off its annual Christmas parade.
This December, businesses and families decorated 19 of the town’s parking meters. In the winter, parking is free and the meters are inactive, covered with blue bags.
“It’s so COVID friendly we were able to have citizens come out and decorate these parking meters that are normally just sitting there bagged and not looking so great,” said Carolina Beach Parks and Rec Director Eric Jelinski. “Seeing these unique parking meters.. it’s bringing joy to people.”
Beachy Christmas decorations and pieces that pay homage to popular holiday movies are all represented around the central business district. Some parking meters are wrapped in tinsel, some resemble Christmas trees and others are stopping traffic for people to get photos.
“Right when the sun goes down it starts to glow. It doesn’t last all night, but we’ve had to upgrade the lights because it didn’t glow quite enough,” said Cheryl Piner. “It’s gotten a lot of attention we’re kind of surprised. Our friends and family seem to love it and I heard people were coming to take their picture with. "
Down the road, Lake Park Steakhouse has another memorable piece. Owner Noel Stevens says her employees came up with the idea to put the Grinch on their meter.
“Someone mentioned the Grinch, which we love the Grinch so we said ‘yeah!’ So he said ‘What part of the Grinch would we do?’ and of course since we owned Lake Park Steakhouse, we decided that the Grinch should be carving the roast beast,” said Noel Stevens.
And like the story of the Grinch, Stevens hopes seeing the decor will inspire joy, because maybe this Christmas means a little bit more.
”I just think that driving around, people are seeing a lot more lights and it’s making it a lot more fun and giving everyone a little bit of a boost this year,” said Stevens.
The decorations will be up until the new year. Town leaders say the program has been such a success they’re already looking forward to holding it again next season.