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The 2020 Holidays


Voted #1 in World Property Journal and Great Destinations Top Christmas Holiday Getaways in U.S.!

The holiday season is one of the best times to visit Viriginia's Blue Ridge!

Below is just a sampling of the different ways to get into the festive spirit this season. Downtown Roanoke, Roanoke Outside, and Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge also feature a plethora of daily events and activities occuring during the holidays.

Make your Virgina's Blue Ridge holiday experience complete by booking The Holiday Package!

25 Days of Dickens of a Christmas

Dickens of a Christmas has been a holiday tradition for the past 37 years. It’s an event that the community enjoys together and one that our downtown businesses rely on to bring a large audience to their doorsteps to shop and eat local. 

It's clear our businesses need us to move forward with Dickens and work to bring the boost in business they hope can help sustain them through what we expect to be a challenging winter. Bringing 35,000 – 40,000 people together over 3 Friday nights cannot happen but we will celebrate in a new, more spread out way. 

With this in mind, we’re excited to share 2020 Dickens of a Christmas, reimagined as 25 Days of Dickens. This 100% FREE event will bring fun, festive activities and events to Downtown Roanoke.

Event highlights include: The Elf on the Shelf® Adventure sponsored by Gentry Locke, Kids Pass for free admission into museums and attractions, Festive Downtown Lighting, Local Arts organizations performances in Elmwood Park, Santa’s Workshop featuring live Zoom with Santa, and much more

COVID Guidelines:

  • Masks are required during all Dickens activities (children under 2 are excluded per CDC guidelines).
  • While inside, maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more between parties.
  • Stay home if you are experiencing a fever, symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have a known exposure to someone who has COVID-19.

To learn more about Dickens of a Christmas, visit Downtown Roanoke, Inc.

Explore Park's Winter Walk of Lights

Explore your holiday spirit through a unique experience featuring over 500,000 lights, dazzling features and memorable moments. Travel down our half-mile wooded path while taking in the sights and sounds of the season.

While you’re here, shop for artisan crafts, roast marshmallows around the campfire, and enjoy additional family activities on select nights. #Illuminights #ExplorePark #CenterInTheSquare

Admission Rates

  • Adult (ages 15+) = $14 in advance*
  • Child (ages 2-14) = $6 in advance*
  • Savings Days (shown in green) = $2 off individual admission 
  • Groups of 10+ = Save an additional $1 on Savings Days, available by phone only at (540) 387-6078 ext. 0.

How to Purchase Tickets

  • Option 1 (preferred): Online Purchase - Use the calendar shown here to select a date and proceed to our online registration portal.
  • Option 2: Phone Purchase - Reserve your tickets with credit card only via phone at (540) 387-6078 ext. 0. Available weekdays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Option 3: Walk-in Purchase- COMING SOON! Reserve your tickets with cash or credit card at the following locations
    • Public Service Center, 1206 Kessler Mill RD 24153  (M-F, 9 AM - 5 PM)
    • Brambleton Center, 7415 Brambleton AVE 24018  (M-F, 9 AM - 5 PM) 
    • Explore Park Visitor Center, 56 Roanoke River PKWY 24014  (Th-Su, 9 AM - 5 PM) 
    • Center in the Square Box Office, 1 Market SQ 24011  (Tu-Sa, 9:45 AM - 4:45 PM, Su, 12:45 PM - 4:45 PM) 

* Please note that due to COVID-19 precautions, walk-up tickets will not be available at the event this year. Time slots will be sold in advance on the half-hour, with strict participation limits.

To reserve your space, please visit: https://www.roanokecountyparks.com/545/Illuminights


As most things in 2020, our Annual Christmas Parade will have a different look.  COVID-19 has caused many events to "revamp" or cancel all together.
We think this event will still let us welcome in the Holiday season while still keeping everyone safe. We hope that you will still join us in these unpredictable times.

Parade entries will be stationary along the normal parade route, and the attendees will drive
past the parade line up.

6:30pm:  'Facebook Live' Christmas Tree Lighting
7pm - 9pm:  Parade starts at Highland Road; ends at Mountain View

To learn more visit here


This year, the Southwest Virginia Ballet's Nutcracker 29-year Christmas classic will be played on screens instead of on stage this year.

In an extraordinary collaboration between Southwest Virginia Ballet, Blue Ridge PBS, the Berglund Center, the Grand Old Lady and many generous community organizations and businesses, SVB’s Nutcracker ballet will be broadcast, and streamed for free — as a gift to viewers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and beyond.

The performance will be shown in all Hotel Roanoke guest rooms and on Blue Ridge PBS on Friday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m., Sunday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, December 24 at 7:00 p.m. and Friday, December 25 at 1:00 p.m.  On-line viewers can catch the full program in a Nutcracker Marathon on BRPBS’ YouTube channel “Blue Ridge Streaming” the weekend of December 11-13 and again throughout the holiday season. Learn More | https://www.svballet.org/dance-company/nutcracker/


Start the holiday season by singing along with Carolers before the Farmers Market Christmas Tree is lit. Stay for the holiday parade immediately following the Tree Lighting. Bring lawn chairs and blankets while watching the parade from Main St. or College Avenue.

Date: Friday, December 4, 2020
Time: Christmas Tree Lighting begins at 6:00 p.m. The Christmas Parade begins at 6:30 p.m.
Location: The Tree Lighting will be at the Salem Farmers Market, The Christmas Parade will be held at the Civic Center
Food Vendors: There will be food and drink vendors along with businesses along Main Street
Where: Salem Farmers Market     


Step back in time and enjoy the Bank of Fincastle Tinsel Trail and Botetourt County Historical Museum Open House. This year the Museum open house includes the unveiling of the Bank of Fincastle Tinsel Trail, which features Christmas trees decorated by community businesses and organizations. Join us for this special holiday experience that is sure to warm hearts, and bring joy and amazement to all those who attend. On opening night, participate in small group tours of the Museum and enjoy home made mulled cider, hot chocolate, and appetizers. All these memories to make in the beautiful setting of historic Fincastle. This event is free and open to the public.

To learn more visit here