Roanoke Lights up Christmas

Roanoke, Virginia—the Star City—sparkles this holiday with festive events and a spectacular lighting display.

Explore Park’s  Illuminights Winter Walk of Lights, a half-mile wooded path festooned with an incredible 600,000 lights,  runs November 20—December 30. In addition to enjoying the lights, holiday music and displays, visitors can roast marshmallows and shop for presents at the Artisan Christmas Market at the Explore Park Visitor Center. The Market features unique, hand-crafted Christmas items from fifty local and regional artisans.

The new Snowville Miniature Christmas Display, featuring thousands of twinkling lights and miniature Christmas scenes, is open on select nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the Big Guy himself—yes, that’s Santa– is confidently expected to appear December 13-16 and 20-21.

Elsewhere in Roanoke, the Southwest Virginia Ballet will be performing the classic Nutcracker at the Berglund Center on December 11 and  12.

Meanwhile, if your idea of Christmas cheer is less “ho ho ho” and more “you’ll shoot your eye out,” you’ll be happy to know that the modern classic “A Christmas Story” is playing at the Mill Mountain Theatre December 1—23.

The Roanoke Times’ Dickens of a Christmas offers traditional holiday fun.
Credits: City of Roanoke and VisitVBR

For fans of a more traditional celebration, Roanoke Times’ Dickens of a Christmas livens up Wells Fargo Plaza on select Friday nights with carriage rides, the Christmas Tree Lighting December 3, the Christmas Parade December 10, and a Pet Costume Contest December 17.

Fashions for Evergreens lets visitors vote for their favorite festive tree.
Credits: Sam Dean photography and VisitVBR

The elegant Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center is headquarters for the holiday display Fashions for Evergreens  November 25– January 1. This beloved tradition features trees all decked out in festive style and gives visitors the opportunity to vote for their favorite tree, with proceeds going to United Way of Roanoke Valley.

For more information on visiting Roanoke and other festive locations in Viginia’s Blue Ridge, check the website at

Kathie Farnell
Kathie Farnell
Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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