Main Street holiday celebrations across the nation!
Lynch’s Landing Foundation is a member of the Virginia Main Street program and (like San Luis Obispo in 1999) is a recipient of the Great American Main Street Award in 2006. This beautiful historic district is located along the banks of the James River and offers a full slate of holiday activities for visitors including: free photos with The Grinch, free carriage rides, Mistletoe Market featuring a crafts fair and seasonal greenery, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a White Glove Tea and an Open House at Point of Honor, an 1815 architectural jewel decorated as it would have been in the early 19th century. There’s also a Children’s Holiday Festival at Amazement Square and “Christmas on Diamond Hill,” a tour of homes in the historic neighborhood showcasing Victorian Homes. www.downtownlynchburg.com.
Holiday activities kick off the weekend before Thanksgiving with the Holiday Stroll featuring holiday sales, roasted nuts, hot chocolate, giveaways and Santa Claus. The annual Christmas Parade and “Gingerbread Dough” events are held the first Saturday in December starting with the three-hour-long parade and then after the parade, adults 18 years and older gather on Main Street as the music begins and a bucket truck swings back and forth over the crowd dropping “SNOWBALL” ping pong balls which are redeemed at the Main Street office for gift certificates and cash, courtesy of area merchants. www.mainstreetduncan.net
Grass Valley, California
In the gold country east of Sacramento, CA, they recapture the spirit of Christmas past amid the charming surroundings of historic downtown Grass Valley during the annual Cornish Christmas Celebration. Mill and W. Main Streets are filled with the sights and sounds of an old fashioned Christmas; carolers, jugglers, musicians, the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir, Tommyknocker Cloggers and, of course, Santa Claus. Handmade arts and craft from artists throughout California are displayed on the streets. Delicious food and drink can be purchased from a number of restaurants and specialty food. Join them for the 42nd annual event every Friday night from 6 to 9 pm, Nov 27 thru Dec. 18, 2009. Grass Valley added a new holiday event to its lineup last year: Holiday Open House. This specialty retail activity features in-store specials, treat and music with 35 businesses participating. www.grassvalleydowntown.com
Each year, Ferguson MO (an historic suburb of St. Louis) hosts its Northern Lights Christmas Parade and Market under the Stars to kick off its holiday events. This year’s theme is “Christmas on Main Street” and includes numerous holiday craft and food vendors as well as carolers, brass ensemble, strolling entertainment, petting zoo, trackless train rides—plenty of fun for all ages. The lighted parade proceeds down Main Street and ends with people coming back to the market for the tree lighting ceremony, parade awards, visits with Santa and free cookies and cocoa. www.fergusoncitywalk.com
Visit this Main Street community, the Des Moines, IA county seat, on Thursday December 3rd and experience a magical night in Downtown Burlington. More than 65 window fronts will come alive during the 10th annual Living Windows celebration! This huge holiday event will include carolers, drama clubs, a live nativity, church choirs, Santa Claus, Free Horse drawn trolley rides and much more. The Lighted Holiday Parade is a holiday tradition that gets bigger, brighter and better every year. Guests are invited to find a comfortable spot along Jefferson Street and relax while they watch one of Burlington’s best shows. Guaranteed to get them into the holiday spirit – especially when they see Santa Claus coming down the lane. www.growburlington.com
Raytown is a one-year-old Main Street program and will begin taking over existing downtown events as it gets on its feet. Activities on slate for this year include: Raytown’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony with caroling and a visit from Santa. Downtown businesses will be holding open houses, and guests can enjoy Hay Rides, Choir and Jazz bands, a Gingerbread House and strolling the downtown area. Organizers credit decorating long-time vacant spaces with festive themes including the Snowman (pictured) for bringing in new tenants to the shopping area. Raytown is a ‘first-tier’ suburb of Kansas City, MO. www.raytownmainstreet.org
Natchitoches, the oldest permanent settlement in the Lousiana Purchase, invites everyone to visit during its holiday season for “45 Nights of Christmas Lights” in the National Historic Landmark District overlooking Cane River Lake. Guest will stroll Front Street, the 100-year-old brick thoroughfare line with shops, restaurants, an art gallery and more. Thousands of Christmas lights will be turned on November 21 and fireworks and entertainment will be held every Saturday through January. www.christmasfestival.com.
Grapevine’s truly a spectacular sight as it becomes blanketed with MILLIONS of lights, enormous decorations, animated characters and a myriad of special events. No wonder it’s considered “the Christmas Capital of Texas!” Holiday magic begins with ICE!, an extraordinary and magical display of elaborate life-sized ice sculptures, ice slides and monuments with dramatic lighting created from nearly two MILLION pounds of ice. Other events include “Home for the Holidays,” bringing back memories of a simpler time, the North Pole Express, an adventure filled train ride for kids, Carol of Lights, Parade of Lights and the Twinkle Light Boat Parade. www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com
Cambridge Main Street community is transformed into a picturesque Dickens Victorian Village from November to January with 143 life-sized figures posed in 76 vignettes depicting life in the Dickens period of olde England. Visitors will be amazed nightly by the spectacular Courthouse animated lights and display with vendors peddling wares and carolers strolling the streets in the historic downtown area. www.dickensvictorianvillage.com or www.downtowncambridge.com
Del Mar, California
Downtown Del Mar, north of San Diego, is pulling out all the stops offering reason after reason to celebrate the season in this coastal city: Del Mar Plaza Live Friday Music Nights, Holiday Wonderland, Make Pizza with Santa, Holiday Performances, Fine Art Exhibits. www.DelMarPlaza.com or www.DelMarMainStreet.com
Goffstown, New Hampshire
Goffstown’s holiday story involves four towns on the General John Stark Scenic Byway – Goffstown, Dunbarton, New Boston, and Weare, NH. The first weekend of December includes events in each of the town. The first one is our Friday Night Under the Lights, December 4th, with tree lighting, free hayrides in horse-drawn wagon, carolers, reading of Polar Express, photos with Santa, and retail open houses. On Saturday, the Goffstown Historical Society hosts an open house with a model train display. The town of New Boston has a dance and a fire department breakfast, Dunbarton has their tree lighting, and Weare’s historical society has its annual Christmas party. The highlight for all the towns is an open house at the Molly Stark House celebrating Caleb Stark’s 250th Birthday. Caleb was the son of Molly and John Stark, and fought at Bunker Hill. His father, General John Stark, Revolutionary War hero, is the person who said “Live free or die— death is not the worst of evils” from which our state motto is derived. www.goffstownmainstreet.org
San Angelo, Texas
For the past 14 years, San Angelo’s Concho Christmas Celebration has been, and continues to be, the largest display of Christmas lights in West Texas. The 2.5 miles tour has more than three MILLION lights including breathtaking, animated scenes and beautifully hand painted Christmas cards by local artists. An average of 75,000 people visit this holiday celebration each year. Other activities include: Annual Holiday Bazaar, Christmas at Old Fort Concho, Community Tree Lighting and Parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by helicopter, Run Rudolph Run, Downtown San Angelo Light Contest, and the Pony Express riders pick up children’s letter to Santa. www.conchochristmascelebration.com
Nacogdoches will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the 2009 Nine Flags Festival with more than three MILLION holiday lights, a sparkling fireworks display and the largest lighted Christmas parade in East Texas. This annual celebration of Texas history and culture runs through December 12. Nine different flags have flown over the oldest town in Texas throughout its rich history and this year’s festival will pay tribute to the Texas flag. Events include: Tour de Nac Holiday Bike Ride, Historic Tour of Homes, Lighting Ceremony and Holiday in the Pines market shopping extravaganza. A full slate of activities is listed at www.nineflagsfestival.com
Georgetown invites visitors to come experience the magic as they kick-off the holiday season with their annual Lighting of the Square on Friday, November 27 at 6 p.m. Other holiday festivities include the showing of Annie at the Palace Theatre, starting November 20 and running through December 30 with performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. First Friday, “T’was the Night before Stroll…”, preludes the Christmas Stroll this year, so enjoy the holiday spirit in downtown Georgetown’s boutiques, galleries and shops. The Christmas Stroll on Saturday, December 5 will feature Tuba Christmas and Bethlehem’s Village. Finally, the Holiday Home Tour in Historic Georgetown will showcase five beautifully restored homes along Georgetown’s charming Main Street. www.GeorgetownHoliday.com
Bastrop’s warm embrace and a full schedule of great tourist-friendly events has prompted the branding of the weekend of December 11-13 as “A Lost Pines Christmas.” Activities include “Sanders Family Christmas,” a special play at the Bastrop Opera House, River of Lights, Holiday Open House and Music Festival, Home Tour of historic buildings and neighborhoods, Holiday Business Open Houses on Main Street and a Lighted Christmas Parade. www.LostPinesChristmasBastrop.com
Located 35 Miles NW of Waco, TX, Clifton’s holiday activities showcase the Norwegian Country Christmas Home Tour. Now in its 17th year, this tour of Homes, History and Art reflects the town’s Norwegian heritage with a tour of two Norwegian churches built in the 1800s, the impersonation of Cleng Peerson, Father of Norwegian Immigration telling stories of the early migrants, musical performances and more. There’s also a tour of the Bosque Museum and the newly renovated, longest continually operating theatre in Texas, Heritage Village and a slate of arts and crafts, Norwegian foods and dancers and free carriage rides. www.cliftontexas.org
Goliad’s 26th annual Christmas in Goliad celebration will be held December 4 and 5 around the district’s Courthouse Square starting with a lighted parade, music and local merchants offering refreshments. The evening is always very festive with about 135 booths around the square offering crafts, food and drink. Throughout the day, other activities include the arrival of Santa on a longhorn steer followed by a “Best Dressed Dog Show,” offering prizes for the dogs with the best holiday themed costumes. At dusk, the activity moves to Goliad’s Spanish presidio for a posada followed by a Christmas concert in the chapel of the historic museum. Thousands of people visit Goliad, a Texas Main Street town about 90 miles SE of San Antonio, one of Texas’ most historic towns for these activities. www.goliadtx.net