The holiday season is packed with fun festivals and special events in the Roanoke Region in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Throughout December, you can participate in local holiday celebrations, including festive parades, historic home tours, tree & light displays, and numerous performances & concerts.

For a complete guide to holiday-themed events in the region, check out our Holiday Events page >

We also have guides for where to see Christmas Lights & Holiday Decorations, New Year's Eve Celebrations, as well as local options for Christmas & Holiday Shopping >

Special seasonal activities include ice skating in the park at Elmwood on Ice or cheering on the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs hockey team.

For more December fun, here's a guide to 25 special events happening this month in Virginia's Blue Ridge!

NOTE: All info is subject to change. Please check event websites and social media pages for the most updated information.

1. Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas | December 1

Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas - Rocky Mount, VA

Downtown Rocky Mount
The Town of Rocky Mount in Franklin County transforms into The North Pole for its popular annual Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas celebration, with shops and businesses draped in "White Lights" and holiday decorations.

The event also features a Christmas parade, live music, dancers, and lots of local food & craft vendors.

Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas Details >

2. Dickens of a Christmas | December 1, 8, 15

Downtown Roanoke
Held the first three Fridays in December, The Delta Dental Dickens of a Christmas is one of the signature events of the holiday season and has been recognized as one of the best holiday festivals in the Southeast. Downtown Roanoke is decorated for the holiday season, and the festival includes a variety of local vendors and special activities, including:

  • City of Roanoke Christmas Tree Lighting - December 1
  • City of Roanoke Christmas Parade - December 8
  • Pet Costume Contest - December 15

Dickens of a Christmas Website >

3. Roanoke Symphony Orchestra: Holiday Pops | December 1

Salem Civic Center
The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra will present its popular annual Holiday POPS Spectacular show at the Salem Civic Center, featuring over 250 performers on stage, including the RSO Chorus, Virginia Tech Chorus, and the Roanoke Valley Children's Choir, as well as guest soloists.

Holiday POPS Tickets >

4. Botetourt Chamber Tinsel Trail | December 1 - January 1

Historic Fincastle
Friday, December 1, is the Opening Night for the 4th annual Tinsel Trail in Historic Fincastle in Botetourt County.

Experience the fun of beautiful holiday trees decorated by local businesses and organizations in the heart of Historic Downtown Fincastle as part of a festive celebration.

There will also be a holiday open house at the Botetourt County Historical Museum, where you can view exhibits and enjoy homemade mulled cider, hot chocolate, and snacks.

The Tinsel Trail will be displayed throughout December, so stop by and vote for your favorite trees.

Fincastle Tinsel Trail Info >

5. NCAA Division III Men's & Women's Soccer Championships | Through December 2

Kerr Stadium - Roanoke College
The best NCAA Division III Men's & Women's Soccer teams from around the country will come to Virginia's Blue Ridge to compete for the national championships in the City of Salem - Virginia's Championship City.

The matches will mark the 100th national championship the City of Salem has hosted in its rich history of championships and sporting events.

Salem Championships >

6. Elf the Musical | Through December 23

Mill Mountain Theatre
Elf the Musical is the classic holiday tale of Buddy the Elf as he embarks on a journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Elf the Musical Tickets >

7. Land of Lights | Through December 25

Franklin County Recreation Park
Land of Lights is a fantastic drive-thru light experience at the Franklin County Recreation Park. You can drive the 1/2 mile loop and enjoy over 50,000 Christmas lights and unique displays with your family.

The event is free to attend, but cash donations are accepted.

Land of Lights Info >

8. Illuminights | Through December 30

Illuminights - Explore Park - Roanoke, Virginia

Explore Park
Over 500,000 lights and unique displays along the ½ mile-walking path through the woods will provide unforgettable holiday memories at Roanoke County's Explore Park! The event will also feature a Christmas market, campfires, and materials for roasting marshmallows.

Note: Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available on the Illuminights website >

9. Fashions for Evergreens | Through January 1

The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
Fashions for Evergreens at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center is a beautiful holiday tradition presented in partnership with the United Way of the Roanoke Valley. The event showcases beautifully decorated trees throughout the hotel & conference center.

It's an excellent setting for family holiday photos, and you can vote for your favorite trees, which helps raise money for the local chapter of the United Way. The trees are sponsored and decorated by local businesses and organizations.

Fashions for Evergreens Details >

10. 2023 Gingerbread Festival | December 2

Longwood Park & Salem Museum
The Gingerbread Festival is a beloved Salem Holiday Tradition! Longwood Park will be full of holiday fun and great entertainment, local vendors, smores, caricatures, a petting zoo, visits with Santa, and more.

The gingerbread houses will be displayed in the Salem Museum, and visitors can also stop by the museum before the festival.

Gingerbread Festival Website >

11. An Old Virginia Christmas | December 2

Booker T. Washington National Monument
Step back in time to a mid-19th century Christmas and learn about the Holiday's sights, sounds, and smells at the birthplace of Dr. Booker T. Washington. The event is based on the experiences Washington wrote about and described in the 1907 article "Christmas Days in Old Virginia."

Booker T. Washington National Monument Website >

12. A Christmas Carol | December 7-17

Attic Productions
Attic Productions in Botetourt County presents the classic holiday story of A Christmas Carol, an adaptation by Doris Baizley based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Enjoy the tale and transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

Attic Productions will also host a special brunch with the characters on December 15.

A Christmas Carol Tickets >

13. Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas | December 7-17

Ferrum College
The Ferrum College Theatre Arts Department and Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre will present Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.

The story of Emmett Otter is often recognized from the 1989 movie featuring Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, which initially debuted as a television special in 1977 directed by Jim Henson and is based on a children's book of the same name inspired by The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry.

Jug-Band Christmas Tickets >

14. Lost in Yonkers | December 7-17

Showtimers Community Theatre
Lost in Yonkers is a Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning production by Neil Simon, and it's a story that follows two brothers who must navigate through the dysfunction within their family while dealing with the loss of their mother. It is a bittersweet story about the trials and tribulations that test family ties.

Lost in Yonkers Tickets >

15. The Nutcracker | December 9-10 & 16-17​

Southwest Virginia Ballet Nutcracker Roanoke

Southwest Virginia Ballet | Roanoke Ballet Theatre
There are multiple opportunities to enjoy the timeless tale of The Nutcracker during the holiday season in Virginia's Blue Ridge. Southwest Virginia Ballet will present its production of The Nutcracker at the Berglund Center Performing Arts Theatre on December 9-10, and the Roanoke Ballet Theatre will feature its production at the Jefferson Center on December 16-17.

SWVA Ballet Tickets > | RBT Tickets >

16. Salem Holiday Market | December 9-10

Salem Civic Center
More than 90 regional sellers will be participating in this year's Salem Holiday Market at the Salem Civic Center, offering a variety of homemade crafts and delicacies that make for perfect holiday gifts.

Salem Holiday Market Details >

17. Happy Valley Grit Gravel Race | December 10

Carvins Cove
Join the fun of an exhilarating adventure at the 1st Annual Happy Valley Grit Gravel Race, taking place amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of Carvins Cove in Roanoke, Virginia, on December 10th, 2023. 

This event promises an unforgettable day of cycling and camaraderie for riders of all skill levels and a chance to explore the scenic splendor of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains.

Happy Valley Race Registration >

18. Grandin Village Holiday Lights Tours | December 12 & 18

Ride Solutions & Cardinal Bicycle - December 12 | RunAbout Sports - December 18
The Grandin Village neighborhood is one of the best spots in Roanoke to see holiday lights and Christmas decorations. Join the gang from Ride Solutions at Cardinal Bicycle for a group bike ride through the holiday lights on December 12, or check out the lights on two feet as part of the Holiday Lights Extravaganza hosted by RunAbout Sports Roanoke on December 18.

Group Bike Ride Info > | Group Run/Walk Info >

19. Stagg Bowl - NCAA Division III Football Championship | December 15

Stagg Bowl Salem

Salem Football Stadium
The 2023 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl is celebrating its 50th year with a return to the City of Salem - Virginia's Championship City. The NCAA Division III Football National Championship game will be held at Salem Stadium in Virginia's Blue Ridge!

Stagg Bowl Tickets >

20. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies Tiki Xmas | December 16

Harvester Performance Center
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies will present a special swing/jazz sit-down theatre-type show at the Harvester Performance Center, which will be based on a World War II Christmas Canteen theme that is part Tiki, part Benny Goodman.

Tiki Xmas Tickets > 

21. Buchanan Christmas Eve Luminary Display | December 24

Town of Buchanan
The lighting of the luminaries on Christmas Eve along Main Street in Buchanan is a treasured annual holiday tradition in Virginia's Blue Ridge. The 1-gallon plastic jugs used as the luminaries have special meaning to the town, which received water donations and recycled the jugs following the flood of 1985 when the town was left without potable water.

22. Miracle at Stellina | Through December 31

Stellina - Downtown Roanoke
Stellina, the amazing tiny bar in Downtown Roanoke, will transform into a Miracle Holiday Pop-up bar throughout December. The bar will feature incredible holiday decorations and vibes along with holiday-inspired craft cocktails. Put on your best Christmas sweater and enjoy a night of holiday fun. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Miracle at Stellina Instagram > 

23. Fincastle Ringing of the Bells | December 31

Fincastle Courthouse - Botetourt County, VA

Historic Fincastle
The ringing of the bells on New Year's Eve in Historic Fincastle is a classic holiday tradition in Virginia's Blue Ridge. In a ceremony that has taken place for over 150 years, the town pays its respects to the end of the dying year and celebrates the arrival of the new year.

Town of Fincastle Traditions >

24. Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs | Various Dates

Berglund Center
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs professional ice hockey team will host five home games at the Berglund Center in December.

There are some exciting promotional nights and special activities planned, including:

  • December 16 - Teddy Bear Toss Night
  • December 23 - Sleighbells, Slapshots, & Santa
  • December 30 - Diesel 500
  • December 31 - New Year’s Eve

​Rail Yard Dawgs Tickets > 

25. WBDJ7’s Elmwood On Ice | Through January 28

Elmwood Park
Elmwood on Ice is a unique activity for the entire family to enjoy during the holiday & winter season in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Located in the heart of Elmwood Park in Downtown Roanoke, the ice rink is open until January 28 and has space for 75 to 100 skaters at a time.

Elmwood On Ice Details >

Save the Dates for January

  • Kroger Stampede Championship Rodeo - January 5-7
  • Puppy Pals Comedic Stunt Dog Show - January 11
  • International Wine Festival - January 19
  • Dan Tyminski Band - January 19
  • Taste of Virginia Expo - January 20

Remember to visit our Holiday Events page for a guide to holiday-themed events happening this month.

You can also take a look at the Calendar of Events for a complete list of upcoming events, as well as sign up to receive our free e-newsletter and follow us on social media.

Happy Holidays!