News Release
November 2013

Capture the Holiday Spirit in Virginia's Blue Ridge

The holiday season will kick off this year when the Capitol Christmas tree stops in Roanoke en route from Washington State to Washington DC on November 22nd.  Visitors will have a chance to view the tree before it heads to the Nation's Capital from 4pm-6pm on Franklin Road in downtown Roanoke. 

Enjoy a true main street experience...everyone loves a parade!

Historic Grandin Village will host its annual Holiday Children's Parade, Saturday November 23rd at 11am.  Held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, neighbors and local businesses come together to celebrate the season.  Look out for synchronized shopping carts from the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op and Santa on top a Fire Engine.  If you arrive early, grab a bowl of Brunswick stew from the Raleigh Court United Methodist Church, warning: it sells out quickly!

Downtown Roanoke celebrates "Dickens of a Christmas" the first three Friday's in December.  The capstone event is Haley Toyota's City of Roanoke Christmas Parade on Friday, December 13th from 6pm to 10pm. This free, family-friendly event happens annually in Downtown Roanoke and includes favorites like roasted chestnuts, carriage rides, street performers, and more!

Downtown Rocky Mount celebrates "Christmas in the Country" with this year's Franklin County Christmas Parade December 1s t at 3pm. Downtown Vinton's Christmas Parade is held the first Thursday after Thanksgiving,  December 5th at 7pm.  "Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas" features the "Biggest Little Parade" on December 6th at 5pm.   Salem will celebrate its 57th Christmas Parade, December 6that 6:30pm. Historic Fincastle's Christmas Parade will be December 7th from 2pm-4p.  "Rediscover an Old Fashioned Christmas!" in Downtown Buchanan, December 14th, parade starting at 4pm. 

The 2013 Flotilla for Toys Boat Parade of Lights will be held Saturday November 30th 7:00pm-9:00pm. The Virginia Dare leads numerous boats with lights glistening on the waters of Smith Mountain Lake. This event raises Toys for the LOCAL Children of need. Boats depart from the Virginia Dare Marina at 7:00pm, cruise to Halesford Bridge arriving approx. 8:00pm and then back to Port at 9:00pm. Don't own a boat? Ride on the lead boat, the Virginia Dare, with Santa & Rudolph leading the way in the Flotilla. Get on your Jingle Bells and pull out those Christmas Sweaters!!

Holiday Shopping Made Easy!

No need to stress over holiday shopping. Downtown Roanoke merchants extend their holiday shopping hours the first three Friday's in December until 10pm with the Annual Dickens of a Christmas celebration.  This celebration is centered in the Historic City Farmers Market and features a wide array of vendors offering holiday wares and treats.  Historic Fincastle will hold a Holiday Marketplace on December 14th from 9:30am-3pm in conjunction with their holiday homes tour.

Santa Spottings!

Santa will start his journey to Virginia's Blue Ridge on November 30th at 1pm, when he arrives by boat to Bridgewater Marina at Smith Mountain Lake.   He'll be available for pictures until 4pm and will be back again from 12pm-4pm December 7th, 14th and 21st.

Santa will experience our rich railroad history with a visit the O. Winston Link Museum for Santa by Rail on November 30th from 5pm-8pm.  He'll be back again for a ride aboard the Candy Cane Express at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Saturday, December 7, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, December 8, 1 to 5 pm. Enjoy train rides, take your own pictures with Santa, decorate an ornament for your tree, family friendly activities, model train displays, and more!

CHIP of Roanoke Valley's 14th Annual Breakfast with Santa Presented by Bright Services will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center at 8:30am and 11:30am.  There will be a scrumptious breakfast buffet, pictures with Santa, children's entertainment and holiday music and crafts.  Tickets go on sale November 1st.

Ride with Santa and Rudolph on the Virginia Dare and lead the 2013 Flotilla For Toys Boat Parade of Lights, November 30th from  7:00pm-9:00pm. This event raises Toys for the LOCAL Children of need.

Be Inspired!

For holiday inspiration, explore the 4th Annual Fashions for Evergreens held at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, which runs from Thanksgiving Day to New Year's Day.  Over 25 trees are designed and decorated by local groups which compete for ‘The People's Choice' award.   To date, over $10,000 has been raised to benefit The United Way.  While you're there, be sure to treat yourself to peanut soup and spoonbread in the newly renovated Regency Room.

Neighbors will open their homes for holiday parlor tours in Historic Old Southwest, Salem and Fincastle showcasing beautifully decorated historic homes.  The 34th Annual Old Southwest Holiday Tour of Homes will be held December 7th from 5pm-9pm and December 8th from 1pm-5pm.  The Salem Museum Holiday Homes Tour will be December 8th from 1pm-5pm.  The Historic Fincastle Holiday Home Tour will be held December 14th from 10am-4pm.

Step Back in Time!

For a historical perspective on the holidays, step back in time with An Old Virginia Christmas Special Event "Wash Comes Home", December 7th at the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Learn how Christmas was celebrated by the free and enslaved residents of the plantation where Booker T. Washington was born by taking part in candle-lit costumed interpretive programs. Light refreshments, children's activities and entertainment provided.

Be Entertained!

The holidays come alive on stage this year with performances by the Mannheim Steam Roller at the Roanoke Civic Center November 24th. Attic Productions presents "It's a Wonderful Live" December 5th-14thCirque Dreams: Holidaze will dazzle on December 1st. Showtimers presents "Messiah on the Frigidaire" December 4th-15th.  Mill Mountain Theatre, located in the newly renovated Center in the Square, returns this season with "The Sound of Music".  The Roanoke Children's Theatre presents "A Little House Christmas" in their new location at the Dumas Theatre in downtown Roanoke. The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (RSO) Holiday Pops "Anniversary" will be held at the Salem Civic Center on December 6th. Be one of the first to join the brand new RSO sing-along with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony Chorus, and the Roanoke Valley Children's Choir.  The Southwest Virginia Ballet performs "The Nutcracker" on December 14th and 15th at the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre.

Remember the Fallen

The National D-Day Museum presents Flames of Memory and Christmas in Wartime Presentation, December 14th-15th from 6pm-10pm.  Luminaries sold throughout the year will shine in honor of the 4,413 men killed on D-Day.

Burn off Extra Calories this Holiday Season with Community Runs!

Start your Thanksgiving morning with the Stellar One Drumstick Dash 5K family run/walk in Downtown Roanoke, November 28th.  This fun, family friendly event will keep you entertained along the route with a variety of musicians.  All proceeds go to support the Rescue Mission which provides food, shelter and clothing to over 350 men, women and children daily.

Grab your bells on and join the largest holiday 5K race series aimed to fight arthritis, December 14th for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Downtown Roanoke.

Bring the family for a free Christmas Eve Fun Run/Walk on the Roanoke River Greenway on December 24th at noon. Choose from a 1 mile or 3 mile course and starts at Vic Thomas Park, located behind Black Dog Salvage.

Start the New Year off with the Resolution Run 5K on January 1st at 10am to benefit Bethany Hall.  Course starts on the Roanoke River Greenway at Wiley Drive.

For additional event information contact -
Christa Stephens, Public Relations and Visitors Services Manager
Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau or (800) 635-5535 (Ext. 122)