The Roanoke Valley's largest holiday celebration, SunTrust Dickens of a Christmas, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year during the first three Friday nights in December.  Details about the free street festival, which has been named among the Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society since 2002, are included below.

Dickens of a Christmas will kick off on December 7 with the lighting of the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree, which returns to its original location, on Salem Avenue. The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. and will include live stage performances by choir groups.  


December 14 will feature Haley Toyota's City of Roanoke Christmas Parade, which will follow the same route as previous years on Jefferson, then turning onto Campbell Avenue, past Market Square. DRI Is pleased to welcome Haley Toyota as the sponsor of the Christmas Parade this year.  The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Elm Avenue and Jefferson Street. Don't miss this wonderful, "outside the ordinary" holiday parade!


The Roanoke Valley SPCA brings back its beloved Pet Costume Contest on December 21 on Salem Ave.  Pet owners should report by 5:30 p.m. to register their pets the night of the event.  Contest begins at 6:30pm.  


Due to the popularity of it, Downtown Roanoke, Inc. is guaranteeing snow on December 21. Snow My Yard, a company based in North Carolina that uses a snow-blowing machine to turn ice into snow, will bring in eight to 10 tons of snow. This artificial snow will cover Market Street, adjacent to the City Market Building, on December 21 in the Coca Cola Snow Zone. The free Coca Cola Snow Zone will also include a sledding area, encouraging kids to take advantage of this promised snowfall!


On all three nights, festivities continue throughout the evening until 10:00 p.m., including live stage and street performances by acts such as Mill Mountain Theatre, the Hollins University Talmadge Singers, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Virginia Ballet, and more!  Each night of Dickens will feature street performances of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" by students from the William Fleming High School and Roanoke Catholic Theatre Departments.


Other activities taking place throughout the Historic Market area include carriage rides for $5 per person, with tickets for the rides available at SunTrust branches, vendors, live carolers, a magician, a fire-eater and sword swallower, photos with Santa, a living nativity scene, and more!  


Dickens of a Christmas is also expanding this year to include entertainment in the City Market Building and the Taubman Museum of Art.   The Market Building will house SunTrust's Santa's Workshop and live entertainment.  The Taubman Museum will feature vintage cartoon shorts, the Taubman Community Stage with live performances that include the Radford Drum Line, and will be free for all three evenings of Dickens of a Christmas!


A full schedule of events can soon be found at


There is an opportunity for holiday B-roll today, from 10am to 3pm on the Historic Roanoke City Market during the Greening of the Market. Stop by any time for shots featuring decorated light poles, market stalls, and more.


Friday Night Street Closures:

The following streets will be closed on December 7, 14, and 21:

  • Campbell avenue (Jefferson to Williamson)
  • Market Street (Campbell to Church)
  • Church Avenue (Williamson to Jefferson)
  • Kirk Avenue (Jefferson to Williamson)
  • Wall Street
  • Short Market



On December 14, the following streets will close at 6:15 pm and open up directly after the parade:

  • Albemarle Avenue
  • Jefferson Street from Albemarle to Campbell Avenue



Dickens of a Christmas is sponsored by SunTrust, City of Roanoke, WSLS10, Q99, The Roanoke Times, Haley Toyota, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, Coca Cola, Optima Health, Shenandoah Life Insurance Company, the City Market Building Foundation, Blue Ridge Copier, and the Roanoke Valley SPCA.



Downtown Roanoke, Inc. is a tax-exempt member organization first chartered in 1960 to provide services and support to downtown property owners, businesses and residents.  DRI provides services throughout the Downtown Service District under a contract with the City of Roanoke and also manages the Historic Roanoke City Market which is the oldest continuously-operating open air market in Virginia. DRI also presents a number of showcase events in downtown Roanoke including the Harvest Festival, and the SunTrust Dickens of a Christmas - a major holiday season street festival taking place each year on the first three Fridays of December.

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