2016 Tree Lightings, Grand Illuminations, Santa and More!

christmas tree lightingThere are so many fun events in Richmond when things are lit and illuminated.  Check out this list – enjoy one or them all!

Friday, November 11th

Santa’s Arrival Parade & Grand Illumination.  7:30pm.  Short Pump Mall Main Plaza.  The Grand Illumination of Short Pump Town Center.  Santa will arrive along with  holiday characters.  Magic Wands available for children 10 and under while supplies last.  Free.

Saturday, November 12th

Community Tree Lighting.  5pm-7pm.  Stony Point Fashion Park. Enjoy live music from the Kings of Swing, giveaways for kids 10 & under, characters from Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker, complimentary holiday balloon creations and strolling Dickens themed carolers. Snow will fall as we lite the 42’ tall animated tree!  Free.   In addition, from November 13th – January 2nd, enjoy nightly animated light shows. Animated light shows take place at the top and bottom of each hour, beginning at 5 pm at the Community Tree.

November 18th – January 1st

Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village.  Nightly 5:30pm – 10:00pm.   The Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia.   The light show consists of hundreds of thousands of LED lights synchronized to music from your car radio, and features an 80-foot tunnel of lights, 50-foot Christmas trees, dancing snowmen, singing trees and Santas and festive decorations.  At the conclusion of the drive, guests can visit Santa’s Village, which will include opportunities for photos with Santa, Bounce 2 The Moon, Inc. Fun Zone, Model Railroads, and more!  Fee.

Monday, November 28th

The Jefferson Hotel Tree Lighting.  101 W Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220.  The evening’s festivities begin at 5:00pm with holiday musical performances. The Tree Lighting ceremony begins at 5:45pm and includes a host of holiday characters. The ceremony concludes with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus for the lighting of the tree.  This event is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to the Empire Ballroom following the ceremony to enjoy complimentary refreshments.  Guests of the event will also be the first to enjoy the annual Gingerbread Display prepared by Executive Pastry Chef Sara Ayyash and her talented team. Thousands of pounds of gingerbread, royal icing and candy are used to create a child-sized depiction of a classic holiday scene. The display will be in the Palm Court Lobby through Sunday, January 1st.  The hotel will be decorated for the season beginning Monday, November 28th for Tree Lighting through Sunday, January 1st, 2017. Hundreds of poinsettias, yards of garland and ribbon, thousands of twinking lights and dozens of toy soldiers will adorn the public spaces.  Free.

Wednesday, November 30th – 6th

Bethlehem Walk.  Salem Baptist Church/Broad Street Campus, 465 Broad Street Road, Manakin, VA 23103.  An interactive outdoor drama where guests experience first century Bethlehem.  As you enter the city, allow the sights, sounds and smells to carry you to a period of time that changed the world. Journey through the heart of the city to the marketplace that is bustling with activity from over a dozen authentic shops; enjoy samples from the baker’s shop, see the blacksmith at work making crucifixion nails, marvel at the potter’s crafts and listen for the rumor of a king’s birth from excited townspeople.   The tour is outside and takes approximately 45 minutes. Wait times for the event could be anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Dress appropriately for the weather. The rough terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs; however they do have “chariots” to accommodate person who need help. Admission is free and parking is available on the property. Shuttle service is provided to and from satellite parking locations. Donations to help defray the costs of construction and maintenance are accepted.   Visit the website for times and fees.

Friday, December 2nd

James Center Illumination.  5:45 pm – 7 pm.  The James Center, between 9th-12th & Cary Streets.  Reindeer and Buildings Illuminate at 6 pm.  Free.

Saturday, December 3rd

Annual Tree Lighting.  4:30pm.  Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.  Celebrate the annual tree lighting event at The Cultural Arts CenteTree Lightingr at Glen Allen. The Center welcomes you to this beloved holiday event featuring magical holiday music performances, hot chocolate and cookies, a toasty bonfire, and of course a special visit from Santa to light the 60-foot cedar Christmas tree at The Center’s entrance. Free.

Sunday, December 4th

Colonial Williamsburg Fireworks.  5pm-7:30pm.  In the 18th century, illuminations, which included the firing of guns and lighting of fireworks, were held to celebrate major events, such as great military victories, the anniversary of the reigning sovereign’s birth, or the arrival of a new colonial governor. Join Colonial Williamsburg for this special day by strolling the Revolutionary City and viewing all the unique decorations. Enjoy musical performances from multiple stages and delight in the fireworks displays from three different locations.  Free, but some events require paid tickets.

Saturday, December 10th

James River Parade of Lights.  4pm-8pm.  Osborne Park and Boat Landing.  Enjoy holiday music, a bonfire, and activities to celebrate the magic of the season while watching the parade of decorated boats sail by.  Free.