Virginia invites travelers to take part in wide variety of festive deals, packages, events, and illuminations around the Commonwealth

The 2013 holiday season shines bright with festive deals, packages, and events around the Commonwealth

Richmond, VA, USA, 2013-12-11 — / — This holiday season, Virginia invites travelers to take part in a wide variety of festive deals, packages, events, and illuminations around the Commonwealth. Whether you’re up for a lively celebration or a cozy night by the fire at one of our many resorts, inns, or cabins, this holiday season is sure to delight every Virginia visitor.

In Virginia, attractions all over the state are brimming with good cheer and holiday spirit, offering travel packages featuring rustic inns, relaxing spas, and family favorites that will make the holidays memorable for all.  There is also a bevy of seasonal events happening all around the state, uniting communities under twinkling lights. Fun-filled parades, exciting Santa sightings, and heartwarming getaways are bringing families even closer this holiday season.   Complete details on the following seasonal events, as well as holiday home tourstravel packages, and heartwarming getaway ideas, are available at

Here are some events around the state that make Virginia “home for the holidays”:

*Note to editors and reporters: VTC has several high-rez images and b-roll video for the events and localities below. If you would like access to those files, please email Caroline Gibson,


Virginia’s 100 Miles of Lights You have seen no light show like Virginia’s 100 Miles of Lights. Come share the warmth of the season and experience millions of lights and hundreds of events from Virginia’s capital city to the Atlantic Ocean. The region will glitter and glow, sparkle and shine with lights, lights and more lights. 100 Miles of Lights features holiday events and activities in Richmond, Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. Click here for information about 100 Miles of Lights in your area.

*Note to editors, link to b-roll can be accessed here:  

Blue Ridge Highlands  


November 30-January 4: “O’ Christmas Tree!” at Fields-Penn 1860 Museum During the third annual “O’ Christmas Tree!” community event, local organizations will decorate their trees as a way to raise food donations for needy people and animals. Nearly one thousand people attended the premiere event last season and more than 6,000 food items were collected for Faith in Action’s Stone Soup and Animal Defense League.  

December 21: Kringle Mingle Breakfast with Santa at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway For just $5 per person, enjoy a farm-to-form breakfast of hoecakes and sausage, a Southwest Virginia specialty. Then visit with Santa and take as many photos as you’d like. Breakfast is served from 9:00am – 11:00am, and reservations are recommended. Call 276-492-2400 to make your reservation today.


December 7: Christmas at Claytor Join us for an afternoon of Christmas fun. Enjoy refreshments and a cup of cheer by the fire whileoverlooking the wintry waters of Claytor Lake. There will be crafts and games, and fine festive listening music. Build crafts to showcase the season for both you and your animal friends. Don’t forget about the most important thing of all…capture your Christmas memories by having your picture taken with jolly Saint Nick! Pictures with Santa – $5.00 per picture. Park Admission is waived for the event.    

Central Virginia  


December 8, 15: Gingerbread Workshops at Boar’s Head Inn Spend a fun afternoon at Boar’s Head with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Boar’s Head Pastry Chef Erinn Paris designing and building your own edible masterpiece at this ever-popular event. All ingredients and construction materials will be provided. Light refreshments will be served. Prizes will be awarded for Chef’s Choice, Most Creative and Neatest.     Admission Fee: $90 for family of four  

Glen Allen

December 21-22: James River Cellars Holiday Open House It is the season for celebrating with friends, family and of course our seasonal wines. Taste our award winning wines, check out our gift shop, visit with special craft vendors and pick up some unique Holiday gifts. Stock up on wine, gifts and especially, holiday cheer!


December 8: Orange Community Memorial Christmas Tree Lighting  Come join us for our Orange Community Christmas Tree Lighting. The Tree Lighting ceremony follows the holiday parade and begins at 5:30pm in Taylor Park.


November 29-January 13: Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Dominion GardenFest of Lights: a holiday tradition featuring half-a-million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. This year’s theme “A Natural Love Affair” celebrates all we love about the natural world. Discover larger-than-life forms of lightning bugs, bees and native flowers that illumine your path. Meander through a caterpillar tunnel of lights.  The magnificent glass Conservatory includes a 20-foot tall holiday tree dripping with ornaments featuring birds, bees and flora of all seasons. A model train display and Cottage Garden wing features scenes of woodland creatures inspired by The Wind in the Willows and Mossy. The Children’s Garden has a fire pit for toasting s’mores (available for purchase), a maze and views from the CWDKid’s Tree House.  


December 23-30: Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas and New Year’s Celebration Celebrate the most magical time of the year at Wintergreen with holiday craft workshops, Santa on the slopes, story time with Mrs. Clause and New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Don’t forget fabulous skiing, riding, ice skating and tubing. Call 434-325-8180 for program details.


December 13: Friday for the Arts in Old Towne Petersburg Join in the fun the second Friday of each month for Petersburg’s celebration of the arts. This is the 10th year for Friday for the Arts!  Activities begin in Old Towne/Downtown Petersburg at 6:00pm. Stroll, shop, and dine in beautifully decorated historic buildings! Listen to music, attend a play and visit the galleries showcasing wonderful art. 

Chesapeake Bay  

King George

December 6-8, 13-15: Christmas Candlelight Tours at Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast Cindy’s Corner in Bowling Green is decorating the mansion inside and out. Musical entertainment from the area will accompany you as you move through the house. At the end of the tour, the King George Historical Society will offer hot beverages to warm the soul and brighten the spirit.


December 7: Historic Christmas House Tour The Historic Urbanna Christmas House Tour will feature Lansdowne, one of Virginia’s finest early Georgian-style mansions and believed to have been built as early as 1750 and was home of Arthur Lee, a prominent member of Virginia’s Lee family.  Williamson House, James Scottish Mill Factory, James Ross River Plantation, Fort Nonsense, Historic Middlesex County Courthouse and the Urbanna United Methodist Church.  This is an exciting opportunity to tour all of these historic homes in their holiday best!  Each house will be decked out for the holidays and you will be able to come inside to see the festive living history.  Admission Fee: $15.00 for advanced tickets, $20.00 the day of the tour.


December 13: Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade Possibly the longest running night parade in Virginia-it’s the 35th annual parade Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade sponsored by the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce, along with their partner, Dominion Virginia Power. Join us for the only Lighted Christmas Parade on the Northern Neck. A must see event. This year’s pre-parade events kick off on Friday, December 13 at 5:00PM, with games, music, prizes, and a visit from Santa at the Kilmarnock Fire House. The parade will begin at 7:00 pm along Kilmarnock’s Main Street and lasts approximately one hour. It’s fun…it’s free!  Starts at Chesapeake Commons Shopping Center in Kilmarnock and travels down Main Street to Irvington Road, ending at Lancaster Middle School. Bring the family, friends and come out for an evening of fun! 

Eastern Shore  


December 7: Old Fashioned Christmas Parade Christmas parade featuring floats, marching bands, color guards, Saltwater Cowboys, Fire Companies from around the Eastern Shore, and much more. Of course there will be a special visit from Santa. There are awards and prizes given for various categories of entries. The awards ceremony and up close visit from Santa takes place at the Firehouse after the parade.


December 14: Onancock Christmas Homes Tour Step inside some of this historic wharf town’s finest homes, all decked out for the season. Then go “on the town” to enjoy music, theater, or fine dining to put you in a holiday mood. The Christmas Homes Tour is presented by the Onancock Business & Civic Association to benefit local nonprofit organizations. Tour tickets can be purchased the day of the tour or in advance.   Admission Fee: $15 pre-sale; $20 after Thanksgiving  
Hampton Roads  

Newport News

December 21: Holiday Evening at the Planetarium Experience the journey of the Magi around you in the Virginia Living Museum’s “Star of Wonder: Mystery of the Christmas Star.” Presented since 1965, the show was completely revised in 2008 to offer a truly immersive look at the journey of the magi while examining the latest clues and seeking more to understand the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem. Get into the holiday spirit with music of the season and dazzling laser effects in “Laser Holidays!” featuring classic holiday favorites like Burl Ives’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” modern hits like Randy Travis’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” and unique reimagining of timeless songs like Enya’s beautiful “Oiche Chiun (Silent Night),” this delightful program is fun for the whole family. It’s an animated Christmas light display like no other you’ve ever seen! See “Star of Wonder” at 6:30pm and “Laser Holidays!” at 7:30pm. Shows $3 for VLM members, $6 for non-members.

Virginia Beach

December 7: TowneBank Holiday Parade at the Beach Officially ushering in the holiday season at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, the Holiday Parade at the Beach features giant balloons, marching bands from area schools and the community, lighted floats, equestrian units, fire trucks, performing dance groups, motorcycles, and more to present a dazzling and entertaining night of fun for all ages! And best of all, Santa Claus himself makes a grand appearance to greet all his loyal fans as the parade makes its way down Atlantic Avenue. The Holiday Parade at the Beach steps off at 5:30pm. The parade travels north along Atlantic Avenue from 15th Street to 25th Street. The reviewing stand is located at 25th Street. Parking is conveniently located in municipal parking lots and garages. Finish the evening by visiting McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach, which will be open until 11:00pm!


November 22-January 5: Christmas in Williamsburg Nationally recognized as one of America’s favorite Christmas destinations, there is always something in Williamsburg to delight every member of your family. From Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town, Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday celebrations and A Colonial Christmas at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center to fine holiday dining and shopping galore, start planning your Christmas in Williamsburg vacation today!  See website for complete details.

Heart of Appalachia  

Big Stone Gap

November 10-December 31: Festival of Trees Join us for our annual Festival of Trees. Eighty trees will be decked out for the season as will doorways, banisters and mantles. Area businesses, schools, churches, civic groups and individuals pitch in by creating variously themed decorations. It’s a great way to celebrate the holidays. Guided tours for groups are available.


December 7: A Frontier Christmas Join us for a festive, yuletide celebration of music and caroling as the Christmas spirit illuminates the Virginia frontier. Enjoy a candlelit tour of Historic Martin’s Station at the height of the season. Take part in the historic festivities or just sit back and enjoy a warm fire in a settler’s cozy cabin. Except for a parking fee, it’s all free.    


December 7: “Happy Hollandaise” by Tim Koenig at Appalachia Cultural Arts Center All sister and brother Claire and George Finley want for Christmas is a pleasant holiday dinner with their invited guests, the town’s new minister and his very pregnant wife. But father Philip Finley, a retired stage actor, is recreating every lead role he ever played in the living room, the German chef they’ve hired is soon wielding a mean frying pan, a pair of cat burglars bungle their way in and out of the house, and a clueless police inspector tries to pin down just the facts, ma’am. Tim Koenig’s fast-paced farce “Happy Hollandaise” is the silly season at its silliest.  


Northern Virginia  


December 7: A Rippon Lodge Christmas Take a candlelight tour of Rippon Lodge and experience holiday celebrations from colonial Virginia through WWII. Visit with Santa in the cabin during your stay. Tours on the half hour. Reservations required for candlelight tours but not visiting Santa. Visits to Santa are free for everyone. Please dress for the weather as some activities are outdoors.


December 6-8: Merry Old-Town Manassas Celebrate the holidays in historic Old Town Manassas. Festivities begin Friday night when Santa arrives by train to greet children at the historic train depot and light the tree. Enjoy holiday music, take a spin around the outdoor ice rink, then cozy up for dinner inside one of the locally owned restaurants. Return Saturday for the 68th annual Christmas parade, and Sunday for free carriage rides throughout the historic district and annual merchant open house. Shop for holiday gifts while enjoying refreshments and live music in several stores.


December 7: A Visit from Santa at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre In December of 1862, artist Thomas Nast made one of the first known illustrations of Santa Claus. Santa was shown giving gifts to soldiers in the field at Fredericksburg during the American Civil War. This year, Santa will dust off that old suit he wore back then and make an appearance at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre. Guests can make old-time holiday decorations and Pomander balls with citrus fruit and cloves to take home for decorating their tree or give as gifts. Pictures with Santa available for $5 for 4×6 or $10 for 8×10.


Shenandoah Valley  


December 14: Buchanan Christmas Parade For more than six decades, hundreds have returned to Buchanan’s Main Street to cheer floats, marching units and bands as they announce the arrival of the Christmas Season. This year’s parade features the award winning James River High School Marching Band, dozens of marching units and floats prepared by area churches and civic organizations as well as antique autos, clowns and horses and our most honored guest, old St. Nick. The Parade will begin its way down Main Street at 4PM and children may visit with Santa at the Buchanan Theatre following the parade.  


December 8: Historic Harrisonburg Downtown Holiday Tour
This holiday season, we invite you, your family and friends to tour a selection of Old Town‘s finest homes and visit downtown lofts and work spaces decorated for the holidays. Tours begin at the Virginia Quilt Museum where you can pick up maps and tickets and tour exhibits about local quilting heritage.

Massanutten Resort

December 31: New Year’s Eve 2013 at Massanutten Resort Snowtubing until midnight, karaoke at the Hideaway Lounge, champagne toasts and more. You’re sure to ring in the New Year in style at Massanutten Resort, which boasts being the first resort in Virginia to offer snowboarding and snowtubing, as well as two quad chairlifts, lighting all 14 trails for night skiing, and 1,110 feet of vertical – the most in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania.


December 12-15, 19-22: Lantern Tours at Frontier Culture Museum Tour the different farms of the museum and hear short traditional holiday stories from the past.  Take a covered wagon ride from the Old World to the New World and join us after your tour in the Dairy Barn for cookies and hot cider.  Tours leave every half-hour beginning at 6:00pm.  Final Tour is at 8:00pm.     Admission Fee: $12.00; Reservations Required   

Southern Virginia

Chase City

December 7: Christmas Bazaar MacCallum More Museum & Gardens sponsors the annual Christmas Bazaar at the Estes Community Center in downtown Chase City, VA.   There will be vendors with gift and holiday items, baked goods, wreaths, ornaments, arrangements,handmade wooden items, flowers, original artwork by local artist, raffles of gift baskets, and much more.  Santa will be there for portraits with the children of all ages.  Come out and join us for a day of fun and shopping in beautiful downtown Chase City, VA.


December 14: Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive Martinsville Speedway and the Grace Network will hosts their 17th Annual Toy Drive on December 14th. In addition to the opportunity to ride in a real Sprint Cup car or drive your personal car around the track, there will also be a morning 5K race, the Girls on the Run 5K. The toy drive is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fans will be able to lap the historic track in a real Sprint Cup car. They will be dressed in full racing gear, fire suit, helmet and HANS Device for the ride-along with Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. Cost for the ride-along is a $50 donation. Those donating a toy or making a $10 donation will be able to drive their personal vehicles around the track. Pace cars will lead you. The Speedway staff will be making and serving the Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot DogTMalong with Pepsi products for $1, with proceeds to purchase toys. Santa Claus will make an appearance at noon and will listen to children’s Christmas wishes. If you can’t attend and would like to make a donation, stop by the ticket office Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm. The Grace Network will distribute the collected toys to families in need.  

South Hill

December 7: Christmas Farmer’s Market Our Christmas Farmers Market will be held on Saturday, December 7 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Market Square.  We have over 25 vendors featuring holiday-themed gifts, food and baked goods.  Here are just a few of the items available:

  • Local Honey
  • Christmas wreaths, cards, decorations and gifts
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, baked goods and greens
  • Cake pops, breads and dinner rolls
  • Handmade local jewelry and miniature art reproductions
  • Assorted local jams and jellies, including blueberry, blackberry, grape, peach, apple, plum, fig and more
  • Locally raised, all natural, high quality meat products from Taylor-Wright Farms
  • Tables, chairs, birdhouses and cutting boards
  • Barbecue sandwiches
  • Milk soaps, lotions, lip balms, herbal salves and felted items

In addition, guest chef Hunter “Bo” Satterwhite will be back cooking delicious treats in the demonstration kitchen at our Market using Market goods. Don’t miss out on the fun; plan to attend this popular event!

For a complete list of events around the Commonwealth, please click here.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit for more holiday trip ideas or call 1-800-VISITVA for a free Virginia is for Lovers travel guide. To access VTC’s image library, please click here.


Holiday Lights at the Homestead The Homestead. Courtesy Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Holiday Lights at the Homestead
The Homestead. Courtesy Virginia Tourism Corporation.