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The 2021 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!

Dickens of a Christmas

December 3, 10, 17 - 2021

The Roanoke Valley’s largest holiday celebration, The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas, returns to it's original format this year, taking place on the first three Friday nights in December.

We're celebrating the 39th year of this community favorite event with loads of free activities. View the event details below with more information to follow. If you're interested in being a vendor at Dickens, download our vendor application. If you're interested in being in the parade, download our parade application.

  • Night 1 - December 3 - City of Roanoke Christmas Tree lighting on Salem Avenue in Wells Fargo Plaza. The ceremony begins at 5:30pm with tree lighting at 6:20pm and will include live stage performances.

  • Night 2 - December 10 - The City of Roanoke Christmas Parade begins on Jefferson Street at Elm Avenue, turning onto Campbell Avenue, going past Market Square, and ending at Williamson Road. This year’s parade will start at 6:30pm.

  • Night 3 - December 17 -  The Roanoke Valley SPCA brings back its beloved Pet Costume Contest December taking place on Salem Avenue at Wells Fargo Plaza. Pet owners may start registering their pets at 5:30pm the night of the event. Contest begins at 6:30pm.

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

Illuminights - Explore Park's Winter Walk of Lights

Explore your holiday spirit through a unique experience featuring over 600,000 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

ll proceeds from Illuminights go to support the valuable missions of Center in the Square and Explore Park!

Admission Rates

  • More Information Coming Soon!

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 - 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) 

* Time slots will be sold in advance every 15-minutes, with strict participation limits.

To reserve your space, please visit the event website.


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