While open carriage rides is one of the victims of COVID-19 this holiday season, a full slate of events are scheduled in and around downtown Tarboro.

Tarboro’s holiday shopping season gets underway this weekend with Small Business Saturday.

And while some people may be a bit more reluctant to go out than in the past because of COVID-19, local merchants will be open and ready to welcome shoppers as part of Small Business Saturday.

In addition, the first of two Tarboro Holiday Markets will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the foyer of the W.S. Clark Building at 409 N. Main St. in downtown Tarboro. A second Holiday Market will be held on Dec. 12.

Following this weekend, there will be the usual lull until the start of a not-so-normal Tar River Christmas, courtesy of the Grinch-like COVID-19 virus.

But in its best Whoville-like effort, a full schedule of events are on tap for the Christmas season.

Activities kick off at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 with the virtual lighting of the Town Tarboro Christmas Tree, located on the Courthouse Square between Main and St. Andrew streets. The virtual lighting will be shown on the town’s Facebook page.

Going on at the same time at the Braswell Center will be the Tarboro Parks & Recreation Department’s Gingerbread House Decorating.

The next night, from 6-8 p.m. at the Tarboro Coffee House, a program on Christmas Craft Making will be presented by the Tarboro Parks & Recreation Department.

Other scheduled holiday events include:

  • Holiday Sing-along and cookie decoration at noon on Dec. 12 at Tarboro Brewing Co. at 526 N. Main St., sponsored by Almentaire, Country Feedback and Tarboro Brewing Company.
  • Pet Pictures with Santa Paws from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Town Common.
  • Wine Tasting from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 12 at On the Square at 115 E. St. James St.
  • Drive-Up Movie featuring The Grinch from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Indian Lake Park, hosted by Tarboro Parks & Recreation.
  • The 57th annual Tarboro Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at East Granville and Main streets and proceed 12 blocks north on Main Street to Walnut, where it will disperse. Face masks and social distancing are encouraged. PPE goodie bags will be provided to entrants at check-in. To participate, contact the Tarboro Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce at 252-823-7241 or by email at There is a Dec. 7 entry deadline.
  • Pet Pictures with Santa Paws from 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 13 on the Town Common.

Participants are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing at outdoor events and respect the wishes of merchants who require masks for entry.

For more information and detains regarding the 2020 Tar River Christmas, contact Tina Parker at 252-641-424.