As many are aware, this time of year offers a plethora of events and activities–some religious and some secular, some fee-based but many are free. A quartet of Victorian-era carolers from Winston Salem, North Carolina were at Dickens of a Christmas on the Roanoke City Market on December 4. One caroler remarked his group has been making the two-hour trip to the Star City to participate in Dickens for twenty-one years, and last night was the biggest crowd he remembered ever seeing. It seems the combination of unseasonably warm weather and the pent-up desire to get out after the lockdowns of last year are motivating many folks to partake of the season’s festivities.
Previous articles have already highlighted Explore Park’s Illuminights, The December 6 Roanoke County Christmas Tree Lighting, and Dickens of a Christmas. Here are some other events to add to the holiday smorgasbord.
- The Roanoke College Choir, conducted by Jeffrey Sandborg, will perform Handel’s Messiah at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke at 4:00 on Sunday, December 5. A freewill offering will be received to support performance costs.
- Candy Cane Express Train Rides, Virginia Transportation Museum, December 5, 12:00-4:00. For more information call: (540) 342-5670 or visit the website.
- Churches too numerous to count are offering special concerts, drive-thru or walk-thru nativity scenes, Christmas Eve candlelight services, etc. Such church activities are almost always free of charge. Two to mention are the Live Nativity at Shenandoah Baptist Church in Hollins on December 5, 10, 11 and 12 and “Journey to Bethlehem” at Goodview Baptist Church in Bedford County on December 5.
- “Fashions for Evergreens” Christmas Tree decoration contest at The Hotel Roanoke. Over the past decade, this partnership with “The Grand Old Lady” has raised over $62,000 for the Roanoke Valley United Way and other non-profits. View website.
- Christmas Farm–7051 Back Creek Road, Boones Mill, VA 24065. This private display boasts a whopping 650,000 lights. Admission is free, but they take a freewill offering that goes to support our veterans and first responders. Visit website.
- Christmas light viewing. For many families, this is a perennial (and free) favorite. As in years past, many residents on Westover Ave. in Roanoke City right off Grandin Village have outdone themselves and festooned several blocks with an abundance of lights and displays.
- Within about an hour’s drive or so east from Roanoke is the Elks National Home in Bedford. Now in its 68th year spreading holiday cheer, their drive-thru display has become a Central Virginia legend. For its Golden Jubilee, the Virginia Christmas Spectacular at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg is now bringing its 50th year of performances. One can purchase tickets here.
As always, guests are encouraged to verify the events’ times and locations first and also to be careful while driving.