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2020 Roanoke Holiday Events

2020 Christmas & Holiday Events in Virginia's Blue Ridge

The holiday season is a festive time in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. We celebrate with classic holiday flavors, decorations and light displays, tree lightings, parades, holiday tours, markets, and more!

Like so many things in 2020, the holiday season will be celebrated differently this year in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, and that includes changes to many popular annual events.

However, event hosts and organizations are taking steps to ensure attendees can enjoy events while following necessary guidelines regarding safety and social distancing measures.

Here’s a guide to holiday events happening in our region this season, including a list of virtual event options that can be experienced from anywhere.

We also have a page with information about where to see Christmas Lights & Holiday Decorations in Virginia's Blue Ridge > 

Virtual Holiday Events

Illuminights 

Roanoke County's Explore Park - Illuminights

Roanoke County’s Explore Park | November 25 - January 2
The dazzling display of over 500,000 holiday lights on the ½ mile wooded path at Explore Park returns for another magical year! The event will also feature a miniature Christmas display, artisan market, and marshmallow roasting around the campfire. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are for specific time slots. These are going quickly so reserve yours now!
Illuminights Tickets & Details >

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The Nutcracker 

Roanoke Ballet Theatre | November 20 - December 19 (Weekends)
See the timeless tale of The Nutcracker in an intimate setting with a performance by Roanoke Ballet Theatre in Grandin Village. Tickets are only available online and there will be limited seating for each show.
RBT’s The Nutcracker Tickets & Details >

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Harvest Candlelight Wine Dinner 

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest | November 21
Raise a glass to the holiday season, fine wine, and gourmet food with this special dinner at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest estate.
Wine Dinner Details >

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Botetourt Holiday Market 

Botetourt Farmers Market | November 21 & December 12
Pick up all kinds of great local items for your Thanksgiving feast and knock out some of your Christmas shopping at the Botetourt Farmers Market's special Thanksgiving Holiday Market.
Holiday Market Facebook Event >

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The Roanoke Times 25 Days of Dickens 

Downtown Roanoke | November 24 - December 18
Dickens of a Christmas is changing things up this year celebrating the holiday season with 25 Days of Dickens. Sponsored by The Roanoke Times, you’ll find numerous activities and experiences throughout Downtown Roanoke during the 25 day celebration, including holiday decorations, live performances in Elmwood Park, an Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt, and other special things to do for the entire family.
25 Days of Dickens Website >

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Grand Thanksgiving Celebration at The Regency Room 

The Regency Room at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center | November 26
Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at The Regency Room at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, which will be presenting a family-style meal with all the traditional Thanksgiving food favorites!
Thanksgiving at The Regency Room >

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Thanksgiving Day Specials at the Elephant Walk Restaurant 

Elephant Walk Restaurant & Lounge at Holiday Inn Tanglewood | November 26
The Elephant Walk Restaurant & Lounge at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood will help you take care of this year's Thanksgiving meal with either dine-in or carry-out options, featuring plated or family-style dinners with many classic Thanksgiving dishes.
Elephant Walk Website >

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Fashions for Evergreens 

The Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center | November 26 - January 1
The foyer of The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center will feature 15 creatively designed trees for the 2020 Fashions for Evergreens competition. The public is encouraged to come see the trees and vote for their favorite.
The Inn at Virginia Tech Website >

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5th Annual Festival of Trees at Natural Bridge State Park 

Natural Bridge State Park | November 27 - January 1
As part of your visit to the iconic Natural Bridge, stop by the Natural Bridge State Park Visitor Center and check out the 5th Annual Festival of Trees, featuring holiday trees decorated by local businesses & organizations.
Natural Bridge Festival of Trees Details > 

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Land of Lights 

Franklin County Recreation Park | November 27 - January 1
The Franklin County Parks & Recreation Department has created a special Land of Lights with a beautiful light display at the Franklin County Recreation Park. It'll be open every evening from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and you can listen to holiday music on 107.7 FM on your radio as you drive the 1/2 mile loop through the park.
Land of Lights Facebook Event >

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Black Friday Alternative 

Big Lick Brewing Company | November 27
If you're looking for an alternative from the typical Black Friday shopping, head to Big Lick Brewing Company for an afternoon of relaxation and craft beer. Enjoy a local brew and grab a spot near one of the fire pits in Big Lick's awesome outdoor patio space.
Black Friday Alternative Event Details >

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Small Business Saturday 

Various Locations | November 28
Take part in Small Business Saturday in Virginia’s Blue Ridge by shopping local and supporting our amazing retailers throughout the region. Pick up something special for yourself or find holiday gifts that are sure to make someone in your life feel special.
Shopping in VBR >

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Buchanan Festival of Lights 

Buchanan Town Park | November 28 - December 27
The Town of Buchanan will feature its first Festival of Lights display at Buchanan Town Park for a fun, family-friendly, outdoor viewing experience. There will be thousands of lights on display and the event will be a walkable viewing experience on weeknights (Monday through Thursday) and drive-thru viewing on weekends (Friday - Sunday).
Buchanan Festival of Lights Details >

Gingerbread House Competition 

Salem Museum | November 28 & December 1-5
As part of the annual Gingerbread Festival in Salem, the Gingerbread House Competition will be on display at the Salem Museum leading up to the day of the festival on December 5, which will take place in Longwood Park. However, as a way to help limit crowds and provide more opportunities for people to see the decorated houses, you can visit the Salem Museum in the days leading up to the festival to see these fun holiday creations.
Gingerbread House Competition Details >

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Museum Store Sunday 

Taubman Museum of Art | November 29
Did you know that Museum Store Sunday is an international event intended to help support museums and arts & cultural organizations around the world? All shop merchandise in the Taubman Museum of Art will be 10% off and they have all kinds of unique items, including jewelry, ornaments, books, and more.
Museum Store Sunday Details >

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Holiday Brunch Series 

Martin's Downtown Bar & Grill | November 29 - January 1 (Sundays)

Every Sunday during the holiday season, Martin's Downtown Bar & Grill will be hosting a special holiday brunch series. The menu will include special brunch menu items like chicken & waffles, steak & eggs, shrimp & avocado toast, and pickle infused bloody marys. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Holiday Brunch Series Facebook Announcement >

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Holiday Candlelight Tours 

Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest | December 3-18 (Thursday - Saturday)
Take a step back into what Christmas was like during Thomas Jefferson’s era with a special guided candlelight tour of Poplar Forest, where you’ll learn what the holiday season meant to Jefferson, his family, and the enslaved people who lived there.
Candlelight Tour Details >

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2020 Bank of Fincastle Tinsel Trail 

Downtown Fincastle | December 3-28
The Bank of Fincastle Tinsel Trail in Historic Fincastle will showcase Christmas trees decorated by local community businesses and organizations, offering a fantastic opportunity to explore this adorable small town of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and get a beautiful look at our holiday spirit.
Bank of Fincastle Tinsel Trail Details >

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Festive Fridays 

Christmas - Rocky Mount, Virginia

Town of Rocky Mount | December 4, 11, 18
During the first three Fridays in December, the Town of Rocky Mount will be celebrating the holiday season with a series of Festive Fridays events! It’s a great time to shop & dine at local businesses, see the holiday lights & decorations, listen to holiday music, and take part in the special themes of each event - December 4: Flannel Friday, December 11: Ugly Christmas Sweaters, December 18: Christmas Characters.
Festive Fridays Facebook Event >

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Holiday Craft & Vendor Fair 

Berglund Center | December 4-5
Browse items from 175 vendors at the 5th Annual Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair at Berglund Center. It’s the perfect place to finish your holiday shopping!
Holiday Craft & Vendor Fair Details >

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Flames of Memory 

National D-Day Memorial | December 4-6
The National D-Day Memorial will honor the 4,415 men killed on D-Day with thousands of luminaries throughout the grounds that will shine in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice each man made in defense of our nation’s freedom.
Flames of Memory Details >

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Live Nativity 

Shenandoah Baptist Church | December 4-13 (Friday - Sunday)
Shenandoah Baptist Church will host a special Live Nativity, featuring live music, live drama, & live animals, and it’s free to attend.
Live Nativity Facebook Event >

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Santa’s Winter Wonderland 

Blue Ridge PBS | December 4-24 (Open Daily, except Mondays)
Blue Ridge PBS will be hosting a special drive-thru experience where kids will have a chance to hear Santa talking to them from a special FM radio frequency. There will also be special light displays at the Elf Village and opportunities to interact with Santa.
Blue Ridge PBS >

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Gingerbread Festival 

Salem Gingerbread Festival

Salem’s Longwood Park | December 5
This year’s Gingerbread Festival will take place in Salem’s Longwood Park, and you’ll be able to enjoy hot cider, roasted marshmallows, roasted chestnuts, and check out the Gingerbread House Competition, along with other kid-friendly activities.
City of Salem Events >

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The Polar Express 

Salem Memorial Ballpark | December 5
The Salem Red Sox will host a special screening of The Polar Express as part of its Salem Sox Cinema Series at Salem Memorial Ballpark. You're encouraged to wear your pajamas and they'll be also accepting non-perishable food donations at the front gate for Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
The Polar Express Facebook Event >

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Santa Photos 

Virginia Museum of Transportation | December 5
Celebrate a red, white, and blue Christmas and get your photo with Santa on the classic 1776 locomotive at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Reservations are required and social distancing guidelines will be in place for a safe experience. There will also be special Gingerbread Trains available for purchase.
Red, White & Blue Christmas Details >

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Drive-Thru Santa Photos 

Salem Civic Center | December 5-6
Get some socially-distanced photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus in this special drive-thru photo session at the Salem Civic Center. It's $10 per vehicle with a maximum of 6 people per carload, who can hop out of the car for a quick photo with the Christmas Couple while maintaining proper distancing guidelines.
Drive-Thru Photo Details >

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Gazebo Holiday Lights 

Claytor Lake State Park | December 5 - January 3
Take a walk down to the edge of Claytor Lake and see the holiday gazebo in all its glory as part of a visit to the Claytor Lake State Park. It's a great spot for a family photo or to simple take in the surrounding natural beauty of the park.
Claytor Lake State Park Website >

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Christmas Open House at The Early Inn 

Early Inn at The Grove | December 6
The Early Inn in Rocky Mount will be celebrating the season with a free Christmas Open House that will include Christmas lights, music, candy, trees, carolers, cookies, hot chocolate & apple cider, and many of the favorite things that make the holidays special.
Christmas Open House Facebook Event >

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Dog Bowl Market - December Edition 

Black Dog Salvage | December 6
Over 70 artisans and vendors will be located in The Marketplace at Black Dog Salvage, and this special event will also include food, wine, live music, and plenty of great shopping, including fresh greenery & holiday decor.
December Dog Bowl Market Facebook Event >

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Holiday Sunday Brunch 

Preston's Restaurant - The Inn at Virginia Tech | December 6, 13, 20, 27
Every Sunday during the month of December, Preston's Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center will be preparing a holiday feast with a special plated brunch. You'll love dishes like Noels Eggnog French Toast or Santa's Sleigh Eggs Benni.
Dining at The Inn at Virginia Tech >

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Salem Crafty Christmas 

Santa - Salem VA

Salem Farmers Market | December 12
The Salem Crafty Christmas Event will be held at the Salem Farmers Market in Downtown Salem and feature more than 40 crafters and artisans, selling seasonal & homemade items, as well as favorites you’d normally find at the Farmers Market.
Salem Farmers Market Website >

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Salem Holiday Market 

Salem Civic Center | December 12
Shop small with the Salem Holiday Market at the Salem Civic Center. You can find unique items and gifts from crafters, artists, and direct sell companies that feature all kinds of one-of-a-kind products.
Salem Holiday Market Event Details >

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Buchanan Christmas Parade 

Town of Buchanan | December 12
The Town of Buchanan is adjusting this year's Christmas parade to a COVID-safe, Drive Thru, Backwards Christmas Parade. Participants for the parade will set up their floats along the side of the street in parallel parking spaces and then the public will drive along Main Street to view the parade from their cars.
Buchanan Christmas Parade Event Details >

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Big Lick Ugly Sweater Holiday Party 

Big Lick Brewing Company | December 12
Put on your tackiest and ugliest holiday sweater and take part in the Ugly Sweater Holiday Party at Big Lick Brewing Company in Downtown Roanoke! There will be great craft beer on tap, food available to order from Tuco's, Beamer's 25, and Clutch Smoked Meats, as well as some great prizes being given out for the ugliest sweaters.
Big Lick Ugly Sweater Holiday Party Facebook Event >

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Santa's Candy Cane Hunt 

Fishburn Mansion | December 12
The kids will love this special scavenger hunt at Roanoke's Fishburn Mansion. Santa's elves have hidden candy canes all over the grounds of the mansion and children will try to find them before the hungry reindeer gobble them all up. Preregistration is required.
Santa's Candy Cane Hunt Facebook Event >

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Breakfast with Santa 

Salem Memorial Ballpark | December 12
The Salem Red Sox will host the inaugural Breakfast with Santa event with two different seatings on December 12 - 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. The event will include an all-you-can-eat breakfast with a menu that features scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, bacon, sausage, potatoes, grits, and more.
Breakfast with Santa Facebook Event >

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Salem Sox Cinema Series: Elf 

Salem Memorial Ballpark | December 12
Make it a night out at the ballpark with a special screening of Elf at Salem Memorial Ballpark, courtesy of the Salem Red Sox as part of their fun Salem Sox Cinema Series. The Red Sox Grill will be open and food is available for purchase, and there will also be a special ornament decorating station.
Salem Sox Cinema Series Facebook Event >

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Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge State Park 

Natural Bridge State Park | December 12-20
Natural Bridge State Park will be a magical holiday scene with an after-dark walk along the Cedar Creek Trail and an opportunity to see the bridge lit up from a new light system. At the pavilion, you can warm up and relax with refreshments around a campfire.
Luminary Nights Event Details >

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Southwest Virginia Ballet’s The Nutcracker Watch Party 

Grandin Theatre | December 13
As part of this year’s special production & presentation of The Nutcracker by Southwest Virginia Ballet, the Grandin Theatre will be hosting a special watch party on December 13! Tickets are available via the Grandin Theatre website.
The Nutcracker Watch Party Details >

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The Tacky Christmas Sweater Murder! 

Beliveau Farm Winery | December 13
Jump Into Mystery will host a special Tacky Christmas Sweater Murder event at Beliveau Farm Winery. You’ll talk, laugh, eat, drink and see if you can use the clues and solve the mystery of who committed the murder.
Jump Into Mystery Website >

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Salem Sox Cinema Series: Christmas Vacation 

Salem Memorial Ballpark | December 19
2020 has been the equivalent of getting the Jelly of the Month Club as a Christmas bonus. If you don't get that reference, you definitely need to educate yourself by joining the Salem Red Sox for a special screening of Christmas Vacation as part of their Salem Sox Cinema Series at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
Christmas Vacation Facebook Event >

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Home Alive in '45! 

Salem Museum & Historical Society | December 19
The Salem Museum & Historical Society will host a special Home Alive in '45! Celebrating Christmas After WWII event, showcasing the particularly joyful holiday season of 1945, when troops had returned home from World War II. It'll be a glimpse into how people celebrated during that time, with special holiday music, decorations, and soldiers' gifts.
Salem Museum Events >

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Buchanan Christmas Eve Luminaries 

Buchanan Christmas Eve Luminaries

Town of Buchanan | December 24
The lighting of luminaries along Main Street in Buchanan on Christmas Eve is a favorite holiday tradition in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Not just for decoration, the luminaries have historical significance, representing one gallon jugs of water that were donated to the town and people of Buchanan following the flood of 1985, when the town had no potable water.
Christmas in Buchanan >

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Christmas Eve Feast 

Preston's Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech | December 24
Let Preston's Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center take care of the cooking with a Christmas Eve Feast. Space is limited and reservations are required so don't wait to secure your spot at the table.
The Inn at Virginia Tech Website >

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New Year's Evening 

Preston's Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech | December 31
Wrap up 2020 in style at Preston's Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. Reservations are available from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the experience will include a plated dinner and champagne toast.
The Inn at Virginia Tech Website >

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Virtual Holiday Events

Star City Half Marathon & 10K 

Downtown Roanoke | Through November 29
You can participate in this year’s Star City Half Marathon & 10K and run the official race course in Roanoke or virtually from anywhere with multiple runner options!
Star City Half Marathon & 10K Website > 

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Atlantic Union Drumstick DASH 

Roanoke Rescue Mission | Through November 30
The annual Drumstick DASH typically serves as Roanoke’s biggest family reunion every Thanksgiving, but this year’s event is being held virtually. Participants can complete the race from anywhere throughout the month of November!
Drumstick DASH Website >

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Fashions for Evergreens 

The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center | November 30 - January 1
The annual Fashions for Evergreens event at The Hotel Roanoke is a favorite holiday tradition for many, with the hotel & conference center full of amazingly decorated trees. This year's event will be held virtually, providing attendees the opportunity to see the trees through an online gallery. You can vote for your favorite and make a donation - proceeds will benefit the United Way of Roanoke Valley.
See the Trees >

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Run from 2020 

Fleet Feet Sports | December 1-31
Anyone else excited to run away from this year as past as possible?! Fleet Feet Sports is organizing and hosting a virtual run/walk event throughout the month of December as we celebrate the end of 2020 and head into the new year. It's open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.
Run from 2020 Website >

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Vinton Virtual Christmas Tree Lighting 

Town of Vinton | December 3
The Town of Vinton will stream the lighting of the official town Christmas tree from a special Facebook Live event for a virtual viewing experience.
Town of Vinton Facebook Page >

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Salem Virtual Christmas Tree Lighting 

Salem Farmers Market | December 5
The City of Salem will celebrate the annual lighting of the Salem Christmas Tree on December 5 at 5:00 p.m. with a special Facebook live stream from the Salem Farmers Market.
City of Salem Facebook Page >

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A Tacky Christmas Sweater Whodunnit 

Jump Into Mystery | December 5
Wear your favorite tacky Christmas sweater and take part in this special virtual murder mystery event with Jump Into Mystery, which may end being the most fun you’ll ever have on a Zoom call!
Jump Into Mystery Event Details >

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Mill Mountain Theatre Virtual Homecoming Concert 

Mill Mountain Theatre | December 5
Mill Mountain Theatre will host a special virtual concert on December 5 where performers from many classic productions of the past will reprise their roles and take part in this exciting reunion show. It will be streamed for free on the Theatre’s YouTube channel and there will also be a special announcement about the upcoming 2021 season.
MMT Virtual Concert Details >

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4th Annual Holiday Lights Tour 

RIDE Solutions - Roanoke | December 6-12
This is a special virtual event that you can still experience on your own, in-person. RIDE Solutions is hosting its annual Holiday Lights Tour bike ride as a route people can complete on their own. Everyone is encouraged dress up in their best holiday costume or attire, complete the ride and check out the beautiful Christmas lights along the route, and then post a pic of yourself on Twitter or Instagram with the #RoanokeHolidayLights hashtag and tagging Ride Solutions.
Holiday Lights Tour Info >

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Roanoke County Annual Christmas Tree Lighting 

Roanoke County | December 7
Roanoke County will celebrate the annual lighting of its Christmas tree with a special virtual ceremony this year, which will be streamed at 6:00 p.m. on multiple Facebook pages, including the Roanoke County page, Roanoke County Parks, Recreation & Tourism page, and the Roanoke Valley Television RVTV-3 page.
Roanoke County Facebook Page >

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Southwest Virginia Ballet’s The Nutcracker 

Southwest Virginia Ballet - Virtual Nutcracker 2020

Blue Ridge PBS | December 11, 13, 24-25
While things will certainly be different, the show goes on with Southwest Virginia Ballet’s annual holiday production of The Nutcracker. Instead of its tradition of live performances at Berglund Center with an audience, this year’s edition of The Nutcracker will be aired and streamed via Blue Ridge PBS. The show will also include special footage filmed at various locations around the region, such as The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Taubman Museum of Art, and Roanoke Star. Tune in and show your support for this classic holiday event in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
The Nutcracker Event Website > 

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2020 Jingle Bell Run Virtual Event 

December 11-13
Jingle all the way with this year’s special Jingle Bell Virtual Run! You can join the festive race from anywhere and run your favorite 5k route as the event raises money for the Arthritis Foundation.
Jingle Bell Virtual Run Event Details >

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Manual Cinema's "Christmas Carol" Virtual Event 

Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech | December 11-13
The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech will present the classic tale of "A Christmas Carol" in this special livestreaming adaptation from the innovative puppet company Manual Cinema. There will be hundreds of paper puppets and silhouettes for this truly unique take on Dickens' story of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Manual Christmas Carol Details >

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Virtual Holiday Brass 

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra | December 12-13
The members of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Brass Virtuosi will present a special virtual concert featuring songs and sounds of the holiday season. Reserve your concert time on the Symphony website.
Holiday Brass Virtual Concert >

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Zoom with Santa! 

Jump Into Mystery | December 12 & 19
With Zoom becoming such an integral part of every day life in 2020, it only makes sense that a Zoom session with Santa would be part of the holiday season! Jump into Mystery is organizing special sessions with Santa and Mrs. Claus from the North Pole, which your kids are sure to love.
Jump into Mystery Website >

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Virtual Christmas Concerto 

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra | December 18, 21, 24, 25
Tune into Blue Ridge PBS to see Maestro David Wiley and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra for a one hour, live concert that'll feature the classical holiday music of Corelli, Bach, Vivaldi, and Vaughn Williams.
Christmas Concerto Details >

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Holiday Pops from the Vault 

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra & Moss Arts Center | December 19-20
It's not a holiday season in Virginia's Blue Ridge without a Holiday Pops performance by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra! This year, we'll be celebrating with a virtual showing from the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech's vault of previous performances.
Holiday Pops from the Vault Details > 

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A Very Merry Soul Sessions 

The Spot on Kirk | December 20
The Spot on Kirk will host a special holiday edition of Soul Sessions on its Facebook page, with a night of music and poetry that will fill you with holiday cheer. It's free to attend but donations will be accepted, which will benefit the Bethany Christian Church food pantry.
A Very Merry Soul Sessions Event Details >

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Murder at the Stroke of Midnight! 

Jump Into Mystery | December 31
Take part in a virtual New Year's Eve Murder Mystery with our friends at Jump Into Mystery! You'll receive a character role in advance and everyone is encouraged to wear party attire for this unique Zoom murder mystery experience.
Murder at the Stroke of Midnight Details >

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Jefferson Center - Listen Now, Gather Later Series 

Through December 31
The Jefferson Center is hosting a special “Listen Now. Gather Later” virtual concert series on its website, offering access to shows from a variety of performers, including Rene Marie, Hsiang Tu & Alan Weinstein, Ariel Pocock & Chad Eby, Amici Musicorum, Jayna Brown, and Bumper Jacksons.
Listen Now, Gather Later Series >

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Visit our Calendar of Events for a full list of upcoming events in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. You can also check out the Holidays section of our website for resources related to the holiday season and head to the Hotels & Lodging section to book a room for your holiday getaway to the mountains!

Roanoke Valley Spotlight

A list of events and locations where to see Christmas light displays and holiday decorations in Virginia's Blue Ridge.


Check out our local take on the 12 Days of Christmas tradition!


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