Get that Holiday Glow in Virginia

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Millions of lights, grand illuminations and celebrations bring families together for the holidays.

Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights in Virginia

Share the holidays with family and friends where the lights are aglow and the embers are Virginia warm.

Families looking to add sparkle to the holidays will find hundreds of ways to celebrate together in Virginia. The state’s legendary grand illuminations, 100 Miles of Lights, historic carriage rides and parades are the perfect way for loved ones to completely connect with each other this holiday season. Visit Virginia.org/holidays for more information on the events below and other destinations to share the best of the season with family and friends.

100 Miles of Lights– November 20, 2010 – January 1, 2011
Richmond, Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va.
Six cities, two million twinkling lights and special events draw visitors to Virginia’s 100 Miles of Lights, which stretches from Virginia Beach to downtown Richmond. Illuminated parades on land and sea, magical lighted drive-throughs, sparkling city skylines and country lanes viewed by Victorian horse-drawn carriages make Virginia’s 100 Miles of Lights an unforgettable experience. The 100-mile display features more than 100 events, including:

  •     Festivities begin in Norfolk on November 20 with the Grand Illumination Parade, where 100,000 voices take part in a community countdown to illuminate downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth skylines. This illumination signals the start of an unforgettable parade with lighted floats, giant balloons, dancers and Santa Claus.
  •     Newport News Regional Park showcases Virginia’s first and longest-running drive-through – a Celebration in Lights – from November 25 to January 1. This spectacular two-mile experience illuminates the beauty of the park’s forests, fields and ponds with more than 750,000 lights and 200 displays, including the animated “Old Man Winter” and “Battle of the Ironclads.” Multi-colored flakes, leaping reindeer, whimsical toys and more provide a kaleidoscope of dazzling color.
  •     GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond offers more than half a million lights arranged in botanical themes throughout the garden from November 26 to January 10. Holiday dinners are available at the Garden Café and in the Robins Tea House. Merry Mondays include storytelling with the Garden Keeper and Butterfly Fairy.
  •     Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination on December 5 begins the historic area’s holiday season and is a highlight of Williamsburg’s portion of 100 Miles of Lights. Revelers assemble to celebrate with musical performances, holiday merriment and 18th-century fireworks.
  •     A December 3rd Hollydazzle event in Newport News combines fireworks, special effects and music in a spectacular show on the five-acre Fountain Plaza. There are also free children’s activities and holiday performances throughout City Center in the Oyster Point area. Those who come early can enjoy a festive dinner at one of the restaurants in City Center and shop along Merchant’s Walk.
  •     The Hampton Holly Days Parade on December 11 is the area’s largest illuminated parade and includes well-crafted floats and marching bands. There is an equally festive daytime Coliseum Central Holiday Parade as well on November 20 where Santa makes an early appearance.    

Mount Vernon by Candlelight– November 26-28 and December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2010
Mount Vernon, Va.

"Mrs. Washington" will host guests for an enchanted evening of candlelit tours, fireside Christmas caroling and hot cider and ginger cookies. This newly formatted tour includes the first and second floors of the historic home and features characters from the Washingtons' world who will guide visitors through the residence where Washington lived. Tickets are $20 per adult and $14 per child.

Festival of Lights– December 2-3, 2010
Foster Falls, Va.
This holiday charity event in Southwest Virginia is great for the whole family. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., the village of Foster Falls sparkles with more than 100,000 colorful lights and there are free horse-drawn carriage rides as well as antique tractor hayrides. Hot chocolate, coffee and pastries warm up visitors and Santa is on hand to hear holiday wishes. The event is free for those donating canned food or an unopened toy.

Celebration of Holiday Lights– November 29, 2010 – January 3, 2011
Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley will be aglow with the Celebration of Lights in Staunton. The city’s Gypsy Hill Park will be a beautiful site with 214 acres of holiday lights displays. This is a drive through lighted display that families can enjoy from the comfort of a warm vehicle.

Historic Candlelight Tours– December 11-12, 2010
Alexandria, Va.
Visitors can experience the historic charm of Old Town Alexandria with candlelight holiday tours of the Carlyle House, Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Lee-Fendall House and more. Tickets are $20 per adult, $15 for seniors and $5 for children ages 6-17. Reservations are recommended.

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Visit http://www.Virginia.org/holidays for more trip ideas or call 1-800-VISITVA for a free Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.

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Tamra Talmadge-Anderson
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