LIST: Holiday events, festive fun across Central Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While you might still be working through the Thanksgiving leftovers in your fridge, the winter holiday season is now upon us.

There is technically no official start to “the holiday season.” Some get out their lights and wreaths as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, while many others start celebrating way before Turkey Day.

Christmas, the Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, is often the holiday that takes center stage in December in the United States. But there are many other holidays celebrated this month. You probably know about Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah), an eight-day Jewish holiday beginning on Dec. 18 this year, or Kwanza, an African-American holiday celebrating black heritage that begins on Dec. 26. But other December holidays include Santa Lucia Day, a festival of light often celebrated in Scandinavia and Sweden, and Yule, a midwinter festival that has been celebrated since the 4th century.

No matter what you celebrate this season, there is plenty to do across Central Virginia to get in the spirit. From lights displays to local markets to musical celebrations, 8News has complied a list of festive events that will keep you busy into the New Year.

RVA Illuminates

Friday, Dec. 2

  • It’s an RVA and 8News tradition! Tune in live on TV or online as Deanna Allbrittin, Eric Phillips, Delaney Hall and John Rogers, alongside meteorologists Matt Dinardo and John Bernier, turn on Richmond’s holiday lights at Kanawha Plaza.
  • Live coverage for the event starts at 4 p.m. on 8News and, and we’ll be “flipping the switch” to light the skyline at 6 p.m.
  • For those able to attend in person, family-friendly festive fun kicks off at 4 p.m., and a more adult-oriented celebration will begin at 6 p.m.

Maymont’s Merry Market

Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Relax by a fire pit, shop from local artists, or learn a bit of history with a tour of the festively decorated Maymont mansion.
  • The two day market runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
  • Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased online. Tickets are free for Maymont members and Museums for All recipients.

Christmas Under the Clock Tower

Friday, Dec. 2 to Sunday, Dec. 18

  • This year’s RBI Services Christmas Under the Clocktower tree decorating event will feature tree designs by 23 nonprofits from across the Richmond region.
  • A special opening ceremony will be held at at Richmond’s Main Street Station on Dec. 2, where visitors can vote on their favorite tree. There will be cookies and hot cocoa for all guests to enjoy.
  • The trees will be on display until Dec. 18, giving guests the chance to learn about local nonprofits and support the work they do through donations. 

Henrico Holiday Plant Sale

Thursday Dec. 1 to Friday, Dec. 2, and Friday, Dec. 8 to Saturday, Dec. 9

  • Get your holiday wreaths, poinsettias and other greenery at two plant sales put on by students in the horticultural and landscaping programs at the Advanced Career Education Center at Virginia Randolph and the Advanced Career Education Center at Hermitage.
  • The first sale will be at the ACE Center at Virginia Randolph in Glen Allen from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, and the second sale will be at the ACE Center at Hermitage in Henrico from Dec. 8 to Dec. 9.

Hopewell’s Light Up the Night

Sunday, Dec. 4

  • Celebrate the holidays in historic downtown Hopewell with an illumination ceremony for the city’s Christmas tree, a Christmas parade, winter festival and visits with Santa.
  • The parade will begin at 4 p.m. and the winter festival will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Petersburg Symphony Orchestra ‘Home for the Holidays’ concert

Sunday, Dec. 4

  • The Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will present its “Home for the Holidays” concert alongside the One Voice Chorus and four soloists, featuring popular holiday tunes.
  • Tickets for the concert, which will be held in-person this year at the Petersburg High School Auditorium located at 3101 Johnson Road, cost $23 for adults, $18 for seniors ages 62 and older and $6.50 for kids under the age of 18.

Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert

Friday, Dec. 5

  • The Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra will hold their Holiday Pops concert at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, featuring a night of favorite winter songs and even a sing-along.
  • Admission is free to all.

Winter Wander at The Valentine

Sunday, Dec. 11

  • Guests throughout the Richmond region are invited to celebrate the winter holidays in the city’s Court End neighborhood.
  • The Valentine is partnering with the Court End Council to offer free tours of historic sites like St. John’s Church and the Virginia Executive Mansion.
  • There will also be carriage rides, live music, crafts and more on Clay Street.
  • The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. and is free.

Richmond Holiday Lights Show

Friday, Nov. 18 to Saturday, Dec. 31

  • Visitors are invited to drive through dozens of dazzling lights and holiday-themed display sand tune in to the synchronized light show on their radio as they go.
  • The route starts at Richmond Raceway and spans one mile.
  • Visitors have the option to buy either a general admission ticket, which allows them to enjoy the show during a specific date and time of their choosing, or a seasonal pass that gives them unlimited access on any day the event is open. Tickets are available online.

Winterfest at King’s Dominion

Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Jan. 1

  • “Winterfest” is back at Kings Dominion for select nights until New Year’s Day.
  • Catch the Wonderland parade, watch live holiday shows, and enjoy some holiday treats. And, if you’re a thrill seeker, you can always brave 20 available rides.
  • Advance-purchase tickets are available now.

Holidays at Stony Point Fashion Park

Saturday, Nov. 19 to Monday, Jan. 2

  • Conquer your shopping list and celebrate the holiday season all December long with a full agenda of events at Stony Point Fashion Park.
  • Highlights of this year’s celebrations will include the return of the popular Stony Point Ice-Skating Rink, weekend holiday vendors and a family-friendly New Year’s celebration.

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Monday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Jan. 8

  • Come enjoy more than a million lights decorating 50-acres at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  
  • While you’re there, check out the model train exhibit in the Kelly education center and Christmas Trees decorated by Henrico County Public School students, and a 20-foot-tall, cut, live tree in the Conservator.
  • Tickets are can reserved at

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

Friday, Nov. 11 to Sunday, Jan. 8

  • Check out “Christmas Town” at Busch Gardens on select days until Jan. 8.
  • Visitors can watch six holiday shows, take a picture with Father Christmas, eat a holiday meal or take in the holiday light display featuring 10 million individual lights and a 50-foot Christmas tree.
  • Tickets can also be purchased online.

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