The Roanoke Valley’s largest holiday celebration, SunTrust Dickens of a Christmas, returns this year during the first three Friday nights in December. Details about the free street festival, which has been named among the Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society since 2002, are included below.
SunTrust Dickens of a Christmas will kick off on December 5 with the lighting of the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree, on Salem Avenue. The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. and will include live stage performances by the Hidden Valley High School Choir and Miss Mona’s School of Dance and Performing Arts.
Haley Toyota’s City of Roanoke Christmas Parade, on December 12, will follow the same route as previous years, beginning on Jefferson Street, turning onto Campbell Avenue, going past Market Square, and ending on Williamson Road. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Elm Avenue and Jefferson Street. Don’t miss this wonderful, “outside the ordinary” holiday parade!
The Roanoke Valley SPCA brings back the Pet Costume Contest on December 19 on Salem Avenue and Market Street. Pet owners should report by 5:30 p.m. to register their pets the night of the event. Contest begins at 6:30pm.
Downtown Roanoke, Inc. is once again guaranteeing snow on December 19. Snow My Yard, a company based in North Carolina that uses a snow-blowing machine to turn ice into snow, will bring in eight to 10 tons of snow. This artificial snow will fall on Salem Avenue, near the Taubman Museum of Art, on December 19 in the Coca Cola Snow Zone. The free Coca Cola Snow Zone will also include a sledding area, encouraging kids to take advantage of this promised snowfall!
New this year is the Winter Wonderland at 16 West Marketplace and the Cactus Joe Choo Choo. Let the free Cactuc Joe Choo Choo take you to 16 West Marketplace to see the miniature village and train on display, enjoy weekly crafts, live performances, and surprises throughout the evening. The vendors inside 16 West will remain open for the duration of the event with craft beverages, food, locally roasted coffee, sweet treats, and more.
On all three nights, festivities continue throughout the evening until 10:00 p.m., including live stage and street performances by acts such as Mill Mountain Theatre, the Southwest Virginia Ballet, the New Covenant Living Church, the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge, Our Lady of the Valley Retirement Community Bell Choir, and more! Each night of Dickens will feature street performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by students from the William Fleming High School Theatre Department.
Other activities taking place throughout the Historic Market area include the McDonald’s Kids Zone, carriage rides, vendors, live carolers, a magician, a fire-eater and sword swallower, photos with Santa, a living nativity scene, and more! Tickets for the carriage rides are $5 per person and are available at area SunTrust branches. Tickets can also be purchased nightly at Dickens.
The City Market Building will house SunTrust’s Santa’s Workshop for all three nights of Dickens, on the Mezzanine level. The Market Building will also house entertainment on each night of the event! Center in the Square will also host Carols and Corals, an old fashioned holiday sing-along in the atrium. Guests are invited to enjoy complimentary coffee and cookies while exploring the aquariums. The Taubman Museum of Art will host an igloo, created by Burton Center for Arts and Technology, Visual Arts and Museum students, a photo op with Frosty, letterpress printing and card making with an exclusive design each Friday, and the opportunity to create an ornament for the holiday season. They will also be offering a discount on the Beg, Borrow, and Steal special ticketed exhibition during Dickens.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.DowntownRoanoke.org/
There is an opportunity for holiday B-roll today, from 10am to 3pm on the Historic Roanoke City Market during the Greening of the Market. Stop by any time for shots featuring decorated light poles, market stalls, and more.
Friday Night Street Closures:
The following streets will be closed on December 5, 12, and 19:
- Campbell avenue (Jefferson to Williamson)
- Market Street (Campbell to Church)
- Church Avenue (Williamson to Jefferson)
- Kirk Avenue (Jefferson to Williamson)
- Wall Street
- Short Market
On December 12, the following streets will close at 6:15 pm and open up directly after the parade:
- Albemarle Avenue
- Jefferson Street from Albemarle to Campbell Avenue
Dickens of a Christmas is sponsored by SunTrust, City of Roanoke, Haley Toyota, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, Coca Cola, Cox Communications, McDonald’s, Kroger, Big Lick Entertainment, Ethos Technologies, Center in the Square, the City Market Building, the Roanoke Valley SPCA, WSLS10, Q99, and The Roanoke Times.