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Holiday events 2019

Holiday events 2019

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Earlier this week, the Centra Alan B. Pearson Regional Cancer Center unveiled its Trees of Hope and the Bedford Welcome Center its Festival of Trees.

Both feature trees decorated by people and groups within the community and are among a slew of events happening locally this holiday season.

Trees of Hope, which also features wreaths and centerpieces, will remain up through Dec. 13, after which the décor can be bid on to benefit the patient support fund. The center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and more information can be found by calling (434) 200-4522.

Bedford’s Festival of Trees continues through Jan. 3; this year’s theme is “Celebrate Love” to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers slogan. Visitors can vote for their favorite trees, and there also will be a scavenger hunt to find hidden elements in the displays.

The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Dec. 6, 13, 14, 15 and 20. There also will be special nights where children can visit with Santa, make crafts and have hot chocolate and cookies. For more information, call (540) 587-5681 or visit

Now, on to the list.

The number of events happening in the area is, quite frankly, overwhelming. This list became so long that we decided to eliminate New Year’s Eve events, which we’ll run separately later on in December.

The following list offers a wide variety of events — 70 of them, in fact — spread around Central Virginia. It is by no means a complete list, so keep checking our calendars in the coming weeks for even more (if you’re hosting a holiday event that we’ve somehow missed, send the details to, and we’ll include it in an upcoming calendar).

Remember that dates and times always are subject to change, so check with the venue before heading out.

Saturday, Nov. 30» The Lynchburg Community Market’s annual Mistletoe Market begins during Small Business Saturday, with extended hours until 3 p.m. It will continue throughout December, running from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, with horse-drawn carriage rides and photos with Santa, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14. Visit for more information.

» Second Stage Amherst’s Holiday Market & Santa Paws runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring apple cider, gifts, handmade treasures and pet Santa photos from 10 a.m. to noon.

» Goose Creek Studio Gallery and Custom Framing is hosting Handcrafted Hometown Holiday, an indoor/outdoor market featuring fine art and crafts from more than two dozen local artisans, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gallery is located at 302 Court St. in Bedford. (540) 586-8482,

» The Bower Center for the Arts, 302 North Bridge St., is hosting a Mistletoe Maker’s Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The free event includes local crafters, artists and makers exhibiting handmade items, as well as music, selfies with Santa, face painting, crafts, holiday mimosas and more. (540) 586-4235,

» “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show,” a theatrical recreation of Eric Carle’s stories, will be performed at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Academy of Music Theatre. In addition to “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, the production also adapts Carle books including “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” “10 Little Rubber Ducks” and the newly added “Dream Snow.” Tickets are $14 for children and $25 for adults, with $46 box seats available and a character meet-and-greet for $35 more. (434) 846-8499,

» The Downtown Lynchburg Association’s Deck the Hills, featuring a series of events culminating with the lighting of the Craddock Terry Hotel’s 20-foot-tall tree, runs from 4 to 7 p.m. It includes community performances, vendors, an ugly sweater competition, an appearance by Santa and the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 3» Puppets Alamode, a professional musical and theatrical puppet program offered to special needs individuals in the area, is hosting its 10th annual Christmas show at 7 p.m. in the University of Lynchburg’s Memorial Ballroom. The program is now being operated under The Arc of Central Virginia. Admission to the show is free, but donations will be accepted. (434) 384-8343.

» The Liberty University School of Music’s “Christmas on the Boulevard: Handel’s Messiah,” featuring the School of Music Combined Choirs, Symphony Orchestra and faculty soloists, is set for 7:30 p.m. in the LU Center for Music and the Worship Arts. The series continues with “Christmas Ornaments” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5; “President’s Encore Performance” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; and “Amahl & the Night Visitors” at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

Thursday, Dec. 5» Poplar Forest’s Candlelight Tours, which focus on “the ways the Jefferson family and their enslaved workers spent the holidays,” begin, with more tours scheduled on Dec. 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 21. Thursday night tours are held once, at 5:30 p.m., while Friday and Saturday tours are held at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and reservations are required. (434) 534-8120,

» Smith Mountain Lake’s Westlake Towne Center, 75 Builders Pride Road in Hardy, is holding a Christmas Celebration and Tree Lighting from 5:30 to 8 p.m. It also includes live Christmas music, free photos with Santa, crafts, face painting, free holiday refreshments, a live nativity, gift basket giveaways and more. The tree lighting will be held at 7 p.m. The first 150 guests to bring a new, unwrapped toy for We Care of Franklin County will receive a complimentary pass to a screening of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” at Westlake Cinema following the event.

» “Cool Yule: A Holiday Cabaret,” featuring Broadway show tunes and Christmas favorites, will be presented at 7 p.m. by Jefferson Forest High School’s Cavalier Theatre, with more performances at 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14 and 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets are $10. (866) 811-4111,

Friday, Dec. 6» The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center’s Christmas Camp Open House runs from 4 to 7 p.m. The historic cabins will be decorated for the holidays, and the event also includes a bonfire, hay rides and games. New, unwrapped gifts for Toys for Tots will be collected. (434) 248-5444.

» The Lynchburg Art Club’s Annual Christmas Show and Sale, featuring original paintings priced at $99 and under, handmade crafts, art and food for sale, opens during First Friday, from 4 to 8 p.m. It also will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Dec. 8. (434) 528-9434,

» Bedford’s English Meadows-Elks Home Christmas Light Display will open at 5:30 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. each night through Dec. 31. Pantasia Flute Choir — a group of musicians that play various types of flutes, from piccolo to bass — also will perform there at 2 p.m. Dec. 14, playing holiday favorites and a few pieces from “The Sound of Music.”

» Christmas in Clifford, featuring Jimmy Fortune and special guest BoCo, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Clifford Baptist Church, 635 Fletchers Level Road in Amherst. Tickets are $18, and all proceeds support the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office’s DARE program. (434) 946-9301, extension 1,

» Brookville High School’s production of “Miracle on 34th Street” opens at 7 p.m., with more performances at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children 12 and younger.

» Heritage High School’s “Scrooge! The Musical” opens at 7 p.m., with more performances at 7 p.m., Dec. 7, 12, 13 and 14 and 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. (434) 515-5400.

» Effulgent Productions’ “All Is Bright,” a community holiday pageant featuring members of the Acting Out Theatre Club and local performers, at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7 and 3 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Bedford Science and Technology Center’s Gibson Memorial Auditorium, 600 Edmund St. Tickets are $5.

» The University of Lynchburg Concert Choir, Lynchburg Singers, and Choral Union will present “Christmas in the Chapel,” a musical celebration of Christmas, at 7:30 p.m. in Snidow Chapel, with another performance at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

» Renaissance Theatre Company will present “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!” at 8 p.m., with more performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21 and 3 p.m. Dec. 15. Tickets range from $18 to $20. (434) 845-4427,

Saturday, Dec. 7» The 2nd Annual Happy Holi-Gay Makers Fair, featuring LGBTQ+ artists, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Virginia Diversity Center, located on the second floor of Riverviews Artspace.

» A Holiday Cookie Walk & Bazaar will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 670 Patrick Henry Highway in Clifford, featuring holiday shopping items, baked goods, casseroles, soups and handmade gifts.

» The Experience the Holidays in Appomattox celebration runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in downtown Appomattox. The event includes a Merry Market featuring artisans and vendors, living history, live music, food, children’s activities and more.

» Hill City Handmade is hosting a series of Holiday Pop Up Markets in the former Macy’s location at River Ridge Mall. They will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22.

» Christmas in Centertown Bedford runs from 3 to 6 p.m., featuring a visit from Santa, live music and dance performances, a letter to Santa station, carriage rides and trackless train rides, a live ice carving show, hot chocolate and cider, face painting, an ornament station and more. The tree lighting will be held at 6 p.m.

» Cocoa and Carols on the Bluffwalk will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28. Each evening will feature different performers and hot chocolate, surrounded by Lights on the Bluffwalk.

» Poplar Forest is hosting a Holiday Candlelight Wine Reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The event includes a candlelit tour of the villa, followed by the catered reception, which includes a performance by Sons of Liberty. Tickets are $75 per person. (434) 534-8120,

» Jefferson Choral Society’s “A Magnificent Season,” a collection of holiday favorites sung with soloists and a chamber orchestra, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Heritage United Methodist Church, 582 Leesville Road. Tickets are $10.

Sunday, Dec. 8» A Naughty or Nice Drag Brunch, presented by the Academy Center of the Arts, Spectrum Arts Society and the Water Dog, runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Academy’s Warehouse Theatre, 519 Commerce St. The show will feature four queens performing three songs each, with brunch catered by Water Dog and a holiday-themed photo booth. Tickets range from $20 to $50. A cash bar also will be available onsite. (434) 846-8499,

» Point of Honor’s 37th Annual Christmas Open House runs from noon to 4 p.m. Riddle on the Harp will be playing Christmas music in the parlor, hot apple cider and cookies will be served, and arts and craft activities will be held for children in the Carriage House. (434) 847-1867,

» Old City Cemetery’s Holiday Open House runs from 1 to 5 p.m. The cemetery’s Pest House, Mourning Museum, Train Station and Chapel will be open and decorated; hot cider and cookies will be served; and last-minute gifts will be available. (434) 847-1465,

» The Bedford Council of Garden Clubs’ A Holly Jolly Christmas Home Tour, featuring five homes, runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served to ticket holders at the Bedford Welcome Center, 816 Burks Hill Road. Tickets are $20.

» Opera on the James and the Liberty University School of Music are presenting “Amahl and the Night Visitors” — a retelling of the story of the Three Kings and the first opera conceived for the medium of TV — at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Academy of Music Theatre. Tickets are $20 for students and $36 for adults. (434) 846-8499,

» A Christmas Open House at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill will run from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring docent-guided tours of the historic buildings at Red Hill, which will be decorated for the holidays, as well as hot mulled cider, Brunswick stew and cookies. (434) 376-2044,

» Sweet Briar College’s Holiday Pops and Vespers, featuring a community sing-a-long led by the Sweet Briar Community Choir, will be held at 6 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

» The University of Lynchburg’s Carols by Candlelight, an annual program of lessons and carols, will be held at 7 p.m. in Snidow Chapel.

» Randolph College’s annual Vespers Concert, featuring a traditional candlelight procession, readings and performances by Randolph musicians, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel.

» Appomattox Court House National Historical Park’s Holiday Open House runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The historic village will be decorated with greenery, while the visitor center will be serving up cookies, crafting and a visit with Santa dressed in a Civil War-era suit. (434) 352-8987,

Wednesday, Dec. 11» The University of Lynchburg Wind Symphony and Orchestra and Community Big Band are presenting a holiday concert, “Unwrap the Magic of Giving,” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, 12 and 13 in Sydnor Performance Hall. Free tickets can be requested by calling (434) 544-8344.

Thursday, Dec. 12» The University of Lynchburg Theatre’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” will open at 7 p.m., with more performances at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 in UL’s Studio Theatre. The performance is free and no tickets are required, but seating is limited.

Friday, Dec. 13» The National D-Day Memorial’s Flames of Memory and Christmas in Wartime runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13, 14 and 15. The event honors the 4,413 men killed on D-Day with thousands of luminaries and also includes World War II camp displays, Christmas crafts, and pictures with a G.I. Santa. (540) 586-3329,

» Bethlehem Village, a fully fledged, modern-day reprisal of the village of Bethlehem, will open on the grounds of Hebron Baptist Church, 66 Tanbark Road in Afton, on Dec. 13, running nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 17. The village opens early at 5 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 15, and a Hispanic tour will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 15. (540) 456-6863,

» Brian Clowdus Experiences Presents A Very Wintergreen Christmas, a cabaret featuring cast members from Wintergreen’s recent production of “The Sound of Music,” runs on select dates from Dec. 13 to 31. Performances are at 6 and 8 p.m. Fridays; 2, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 and 6 p.m. Sundays, with tickets starting at $50. (434) 325-2200,

» Thomas Road Baptist Church’s annual Virginia Christmas Spectacular will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 13; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 14; and 4 p.m. Dec. 15. Tickets range from $8 to $18, with some limited view seats available for $5. This year’s story, “Time for Christmas,” focuses on a family that has owned a toy company for generations.

» Ecclesia School of the Arts is presenting “The Nutcracker,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at R.S. Payne Elementary School, 1201 Floyd St. Tickets range from $10 to $14. (434) 818-1844,

» Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra’s Happy Holidays with the LSO — featuring traditional hymns and carols along with classics such as “Sleigh Ride” and music from “Frozen,” presented alongside the LSO Festival Chorus, the Hurt Elementary School Children’s Choir and soprano Adelaide Trombetta — will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy of Music Theatre. Tickets range from $25 to $82. (434) 846-8499,

» Veritas Winery, 151 Veritas Lane in Afton, is holding a Christmas Caroling Party from 7 to 10 p.m., featuring dinner, wine by the fire and a sing-along. Tickets are $44, and reservations can be made by calling (540) 456-8000.

» Lovingston Village will host a tree lighting and caroling at 7 p.m. on Front and Main streets in Nelson County, followed by the home decorating contest judging at 7:15 p.m., when judges will walk the parade route and judge participating homes.

Saturday, Dec. 14» Amazement Square’s Children’s Holiday Festival, featuring a pancake breakfast with Santa, holiday crafts, cookie decorating and more, runs from 9 a.m. to noon in the Genworth Education Center. Tickets are $25 for children and $10 for adults. (434) 845-1888,

» The Virginian Hotel will be holding a Breakfast with Santa, which also includes carolers and a make-your-own ornament station, from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 14 and 21. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4 to 12; $5 from each ticket will be donated to Miriam’s House. (434) 616-4436,

» Historic Sandusky’s Christmas Open House runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring holiday decorations, music, tours, a Civil War Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., ornament making and more. (434) 832-0162,

» Interfaith Outreach Association’s Downtown Historic Lynchburg Church Open House runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eight historic churches will be open during the tour, each giving a 20-minute holiday concert at a designated time. All are within a five-block radius downtown. The tour is free this year, but donations still can be made to Interfaith Outreach. The full schedule of performances can be found at

» Christmas in Sedalia runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring selfies with Santa from 1 to 4 p.m., music by Riddle on the Harp, kids’ crafts, Christmas carols and more. Admission is free.

» Wreaths Across America, a special ceremony that honors veterans by placing fresh evergreen wreaths on their graves, will be held at noon at Old City Cemetery, 401 Taylor St. The ceremony, in its 12th year here, is sponsored by the Blue Ridge and James River chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. (434) 847-1465,

» Campbell County’s 1st Annual Candy Cane Family Fun Run will be held in Timbrook Park from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Runners and spectators are invited to wear their favorite holiday attire. Registration is required and costs $10 before Dec. 2 and $15 after.

» Charlottesville Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be performed at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 4 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Academy of Music Theatre. The production features local dancers performing alongside Charlottesville Ballet’s professional company, with live music by Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra and Cantate Children’s and Youth Choir. Tickets range from $20 to $75, with VIP options available. (434) 846-8499,

» Poplar Forest’s Holiday Candlelight Wine Dinner runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., featuring actor Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson, a multi-course dinner with wine pairings and a performance by Sons of Liberty, followed by a talk about holiday traditions. Tickets are $150 per person or $275 per couple. Seating is limited. (434) 534-8120,

» The Bower Center for the Arts’ Latin Navidad — a celebration of music from Latin America and Mexico performed by two ensembles, Mariachi Navidad and Marimba mi Feliz — will be held at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but seating will be limited. (540) 586-4235,

» The SML Model Railroad Group’s annual Charity Chug model train open house, benefiting Lake Christian Ministries’ “A Child’s Christmas,” returns with a display at Trinity Ecumenical Parish (TEP), 40 Lakemount Drive in Moneta, plus three home layouts to visit. Hours at the church are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a visit from Santa between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There also will be a white elephant table, educational sessions on select train modeling skills, a children’s activity table and more. Admission is free but donations for “A Child’s Christmas” will be accepted.

Sunday, Dec. 15» The Lynchburg Symphony Youth Orchestra and Junior Strings, with special guests from the Lynchburg City Schools Elementary Honors Strings, will present “Sound of the Season” at 3 p.m. in the E.C. Glass High School Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students.

» Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s Sanctuary Choir and orchestra will present Part I of Handel’s Messiah, featuring soloists Wayne Kompelien, Dora Purvis, Adelheid Terry and Luke Jackson, at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and a nursery will be provided. (434) 846-3441, extension 14.

Tuesday, Dec. 17» Forest Dance Academy’s “Christmas in Arendelle,” a “holiday dance journey with Elsa and friends,” will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18 in the Academy of Music Theatre. Tickets range from $25 for standard seating to $100 for box seats. (434) 846-8499,

» Bells of the Blue Ridge’s Simply Christmas will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church, with two more performances scheduled for 5 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at the University of Lynchburg.

Wednesday, Dec. 18» Lynchburg Parks and Recreation is hosting a Tacky Lights Tour on Dec. 18 and 19. The bus tours begin at 5:30 p.m. each evening, featuring holiday music in a 45-minute circuit that starts and ends at the Miller Center, where cookie decorating and hot cocoa will be available. Attendees must register for a time slot three days in advance. Tickets are $5.

» The Lynchburg Underground Movie Club’s (LUMC) screening of 1964’s “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is set for 7:30 p.m. at Riverviews Artspace, 901 Jefferson St. LUMC is a monthly film program focusing on cult classics, B movies, golden oldies and weird indie films. Here, the Mystery Science Theater edition will be shown. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is free, and popcorn and a cash bar will be available.

Thursday, Dec. 19» Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of “A Christmas Carol” — featuring new arrangements and renditions of holiday songs like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Away in a Manger” and “Greensleeves” — comes to the Academy of Music Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $14 to $87. (434) 846-8499,

Friday, Dec. 20» “Exchange of Gifts,” a play by 57 Hours Productions, will be performed at the Bower Center for the Arts, 305 North Bridge St. in Bedford, at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and at Riverviews Artspace, 901 Jefferson St. in Lynchburg, at 3 p.m. Dec. 22. 57 Hours is the production arm of Virginia playwright Dwayne Yancey; this play tells the story of three international students who are snowbound in an American airport and unable to get home for Christmas. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door at both performances.,

Saturday, Dec. 21» The Barter Players’ “Frosty” makes a stop at the Academy of Music Theatre for two shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for students. (434) 846-8499,

Sunday, Dec. 22» Cantate Children’s and Youth Choir and St. John’s Choir present A Festival of Christmas Lessons and Carols at 4 p.m. Admission is free but an offering will be taken.

» Jefferson Forest High Schools’ Cavalier Theatre Holiday Gala, featuring dinner and musical numbers performed by students, will be held at West Manor. Tickets are $35 per person and proceeds go to cover the costs of sending the cast of “The History of Tom Jones” to compete in the SETC Conference in Louisville in February. (866) 811-4111,

Casey Gillis is the features editor at The News & Advance and editor of weekly entertainment publication The Burg. Reach her at (434) 385-5525.

Casey Gillis is the features editor at The News & Advance and editor of weekly entertainment publication The Burg. Reach her at (434) 385-5525.

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