Marvin Williams kicks off Speedway Christmas

Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams served as honorary pace car driver for the opening night of Speedway Christmas on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

With a caravan of race fans following him, Charlotte Hornets forward Marvin Williams led the first parade through Charlotte Motor Speedway's remarkable ninth edition of its Speedway Christmas light show on Sunday, Nov. 18.

The opening night for Charlotte's immensely popular drive-through light show saw Williams - the honorary pace car driver aboard a Speedway Christmas Toyota Camry - kick off the festivities with a Cabarrus County Convention and Visitor's Bureau sleigh featuring Santa Claus and Lug Nut in tow.

Williams and his family were the first to tour the 3.75-mile course, which features a record 3.5 million lights strewn across the infield, grandstands and concourse.

"I truly enjoyed the show last year and I enjoyed it just as much this year," Williams said. "The light show itself is fun, the village is great and it's all family-friendly. Just seeing my daughter so happy, she loves the light show. It was a great night for us. I'll try to tell some of my teammates to come. Several of my teammates have families and kids, so if they get a chance they should come check it out."

Speedway Christmas - which runs from 6-10 p.m. every night through Dec. 31 but is closed Christmas Day - features an infield Christmas village Thursday-Sunday nights. The show also includes a 50-foot Ferris wheel, crafts, games, s'more roasting, vendors, and photos with Santa.

The first in a series of FOX 46 Movie Nights on the giant, 16,000-square-foot Speedway TV kicked off with "Home Alone" on Sunday. Attendees can enjoy holiday-themed movies from Thursday through Sunday each week.

In addition to Sunday's activities, more than 1,600 participants took part in the high-energy Egg Nog Jog 5K on Saturday night at the speedway. Runners of all ages donned holiday-themed attire before coursing through the fun run.

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