The annual SunTrust Dickens of a Christmas will return 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, were announced at a press conference this morning.Dickens of a Christmas will kick off on December 3 with the lighting of the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree, which will be relocated to the SunTrust Plaza on Franklin Road, directly across from the Elmwood Park entrance. The ceremony begins at 5:30pm and will include live stage performances.
December 10 will feature the City of Roanoke Christmas Parade, which will follow the same route as previous years on Jefferson, then turning onto Campbell Avenue, past Market Square. Participants must pre-register at no cost, and can find the parade form at Downtown Roanoke, Inc.’s website. DRI Is pleased to welcome Magic City Ford, Lincoln, Mercury as the official vehicle sponsor of the Christmas Parade this year. The parade starts at 6:30pm at the intersection of Elm Avenue and Jefferson Street.
The Roanoke Valley SPCA brings back its beloved Pet Costume Contest on December 17! It also has been relocated and will take place in Market Square. Pet owners should report by 6:00pm to register their pets the night of the event. Contest begins at 6:30pm.
New this year will be a special aerial ballet and a sparkling fountain fireworks ground show by Creative Flame Company. This special performance will be held at 9pm on December 17.
On all three nights, festivities continue throughout the evening until 10:00 p.m., including live stage and street performances by acts such as the Mill Mountain Theatre & Roanoke’s Children’s Theatre, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest Virginia Ballet, and more! Each night of Dickens will feature street performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by students from the William Fleming High School and Roanoke Catholic Theatre Departments.
Other activities taking place throughout the Historic Market area include carriage rides for $5 a person, live carolers, a magician, a fire eater and sword swallower, photos with Santa, a living nativity scene, ChicK-fil-A’s Santa’s Workshop, and more!
Also new this year is an expansion of Dickens of a Christmas into “Dickens of a Saturday!” On December 4 and 11, DRI invites the community to return to Downtown to participate in holiday traditions such as Fantasy Land, Shopping on the Historic Roanoke City Market, The Roanoke Ballet and exciting new events such as Wooden Snowflakes at Studio Roanoke, and a viewing of Yellow Submarine by The Shadowbox at Kirk Avenue Music Hall. To facilitate visitors to various Downtown attractions on Saturdays, DRI is excited to sponsor the extension of the StarLine Trolley to run from 10am until 8pm. The StarLine route will offer express service from Crystal Spring to the Market District. An additional route will also run from the Hotel Roanoke and the Historic Market District through the Downtown Arts District to the Virginia Transportation Museum (with limited service to the Jefferson Center and Downtown West on December 11). Many venues will host exciting holiday events those Saturdays. Please visit https://www.downtownroanoke.org/ for a list of those events. A trolley map will be distributed to the media once it is finalized. Free daytime parking is available at all Park Roanoke facilities until 4:00 and visitors are encouraged to patronize free parking at the Elmwood Park Garage and Williamson Road lots after 4:00.
Have dinner at one of the many downtown restaurants, and don’t miss the many vendors who will be selling some fantastic seasonal items. Over 40 downtown shops will offer extended holiday hours to add to your holiday shopping experience!
A full schedule of events can soon be found at https://www.downtownroanoke.org/!