Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

October 19, 2010

Colonial Williamsburg Guests Experience Music, Dance and Merriment Throughout the Holidays

Colonial Williamsburg guests can immerse themselves in the customs of the past and pleasures of today during the 2010 holiday season. Throughout the Historic Area and the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, families can experience 18th-century celebrations ranging from Grand Illumination, renowned holiday decorations, dance and music from across Virginia, and sumptuous dining.

Illuminations—firing guns into the air and lighting fireworks—were commonly used during the 18th century to celebrate major events such as great military victories, the birthday of the monarch or the arrival of a new colonial governor. Colonial Williamsburg guests can experience the tradition of Grand Illumination on Dec. 5. This event is free and open to the public.

Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday decorations are firmly rooted in the traditions of Christmas and have emerged as a universal standard for the creative use of natural materials. Guests can see how these materials are used through two different programs. Williamsburg Decorating Ideas for Your Home explores the evolution of the “Williamsburg Christmas look” and sends guests home with tips on how to decorate in the Williamsburg style during any season. This program can be enjoyed Dec. 6-10 and 13-17 in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Museum admission is required in addition to a separate $5 ticket.

The Christmas Decorations Walking Tour offers a guided tour of the all-natural holiday displays on buildings in the Historic Area throughout the holiday season. Ticket price is $10 with a general admission ticket and $15 without one.

Christmas is for kids and families can discover the magic of the season during Kid’s Holiday Weekends on Nov. 27-28, Dec. 11-12, 18-19 and 26. Young guests between the ages of six-12 share fun, food preparation and festive entertainment. These programs are included in all Historic Area admission passes.

Guests can put their best foot forward during Dance, Our Dearest Diversion throughout the holiday season. Dancers discuss and demonstrate types of 18th-century dances from country dances to minuets. Tickets are $12 for children ages six to 17 and for adults and $6 for children under six. Lady Dunmore’s Ball celebrates the birth of Lady Virginia, the daughter of Royal Governor Dunmore and Lady Dunmore on Dec. 11 at the Governor’s Palace. Families can partake of entertainments featuring music, dancing, traveling players and refreshments, and interact with the finest of colonial Virginia society. Ticket price is $65.

What would the holidays be without music? The multimedia presentation, Virginia Roots Music: A Performance in Story, Image and Song, combines live music, period recordings and images to highlight the roots of Virginia’s and America’s most important musical traditions such as early gospel, Appalachia fiddling and the roots of the blues on Nov. 26. Cost is $5 in addition to museum admission. This concert kicks off the holiday music series which runs through Jan. 2 at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Check your holiday planner for details about concerts including Celtic celebrations, brass quintets, fiddles, dulcimers and much more.

Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns and restaurants offer a taste of the holiday season. Thomas Jefferson, portrayed by Colonial Williamsburg character interpreter Bill Barker, discusses his favorite cuisines and international wines during the Thomas Jefferson Wine Dinner. Tickets are $120 and reservations are required. Rhys Lewis, executive chef at the Williamsburg Lodge, and sommelier Charles Birr discuss wine and cheese pairings during The Nutcracker Series of Wine, Wit and Wisdom. Prices vary with the program. Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, returns to the Williamsburg Inn Regency Room for a holiday tea and a dinner featuring a one-man show of the favorite characters in the classic “Christmas Carol.” Cost for the tea is $45 and $95 for dinner. Reservations are required for each event.

Families can get away this holiday season with two packages. The Christmas Bounce Package starts at $379 for a family of four and features accommodations at the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites, daily breakfast and two-in-one tickets for general admission to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Busch Gardens Christmas Town.

The Holiday Stories Package starts at $499 per couple and includes nightly accommodations at the Williamsburg Lodge, daily breakfast, length-of-stay admission passes, Christmas Decorations Walking Tour tickets and a $100 shopping card.

For more information, reservations or a complete schedule of holiday celebrations, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121