There’s a chill in the air and that means the holiday season is upon us. The area will be filled with festivities in the coming weeks.
Take for instance York County — the first full weekend in December brings friends, family and neighbors to Historic Yorktown “to sing, shop and share memories.”
Christmas Tree Lighting
Festivities kick off Dec. 6 with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. The event dates back to 1945 when the pastor of Yorktown Baptist Church, with the help of the County Clerk’s office, decorated a cedar tree that stood at the corner of Main and Ballard Streets, according to a news release from York County.
The York County Historical Committee is the ceremony’s sponsor.
It will be at Riverwalk Landing, but the evening festivities begin at the Yorktown Victory Monument at 6:30 p.m. when the Mt. Vernon Elementary School Mustang Chorus and Fifes & Drums of York Town perform.
The TRADOC Brass Ensemble entertains those who head directly to the waterfront. At 7:30 p.m., the procession from the Monument will head down historic Main Street to Ballard Street, and down to the waterfront where the official ceremony occurs around the large Christmas tree. After the tree is lit, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by firetruck to mingle with guests and take wish list requests from children, according to the news release.
Christmas Market on Main (Dec. 7)
This year, close to 100 vendors, artists, musicians, and food trucks will line the street making it Yorktown’s biggest market to date, officials said.
Visitors can expect chestnuts roasting on an open fire, kids’ activities like DIY colonial ornaments, and jolly greetings from Santa Claus.
The Town Crier rings in the market at 10 a.m., followed by a performance from the Fifes & Drums of York Town to officially open the market. Main Street entertainment begins at 10:30 a.m. with strolling instrumental ensembles, caroling, and holiday arrangements, concluding at 1:45 p.m.
The Peninsula Model Railroad Club presents an exhibit of antique model trains in the lower level of York Hall. The Gallery above opens early that day at 9 a.m. and just down the street, On the Hill Gallery will be selling unique work from local artists. Other historic buildings and museums to visit include: American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Yorktown Battlefield, Nelson House, the York County Historical Museum, the Custom House, the Watermen’s Museum, and Cole Digges House, which has been converted into a coffee shop and café called Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters.
Just a short walk (or Trolley ride) from Main Street, visitors will find Black Dog Gallery and Riverwalk Landing businesses waiting to welcome you in the spirit of the season.
The free Christmas Market is co-sponsored by Village Events and York County.
Lighted Boat Parade
Following the Christmas Market on Dec. 7, the waterfront lights up with the Lighted Boat Parade. This annual tradition is sponsored by the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade Committee with pre-event festivities beginning at 6 p.m. with Centerstage Academy.
Guests can take advantage of Historic Yorktown restaurants and food vendors, and enjoy complimentary hot cider served by Boy Scout Troop 123 of Seaford. The Yorktown Chorale and the Fifes & Drums of York Town will perform by the glow of a beach bonfire as the crowd awaits the magnificent parade of lights which officially starts at 7 p.m.
More than 20 sail, pleasure, and work boats will coast down the York River, competing for “Best in Show.” The judges are looking for four things: Wow Factor, Color and Light, Originality and Theme, and Spirit. They rank each boat accordingly to get an average that determines the winner.
Guests are encouraged to park at the York-Poquoson Courthouse, County Administration Building, and the National Park Service Visitor Center. From there, it’s a short walk to the waterfront. An extended, modified Trolley Route runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. making stops at the Courthouse, Victory Monument, Visitor Center, and the intersection of Water and Read Street. Additional parking (for this evening only), will be available at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown beginning at 5 p.m.
Cookies with Santa
The Celebrate Yorktown Committee presents Cookies with Santa at the Gallery at York Hall on Dec. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. Children and parents can visit with Santa, enjoy complimentary refreshments.
The Gallery showcases the work of hundreds of local artists. Visitors will find ornaments, paintings, quilts, pottery, and so many other one-of-a-kind pieces that make perfect Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.
Officials said as an added safety precaution, families are encouraged to bring flashlights to assist in navigation around town during evening events. No rain dates are scheduled for any of these featured holiday activities.
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