Colonial Williamsburg®

History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

CW Foundation navigation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

November 14, 2010

Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination Sunday, Dec. 5

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 carries on this tradition on Dec. 5 with Grand Illumination.

Guests can be part of Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday season that features fireworks, music and candlelit buildings. The celebration begins in the late afternoon with a variety of entertainment, starting at 4:45 p.m. on multiple outdoor stages throughout the Historic Area. The Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums provides 18th-century music appropriate to the season. Other performers present holiday entertainment found in Williamsburg two centuries ago and today.

At 5:45 p.m. the Fifes and Drums signals the beginning of Grand Illumination, from all four stages. At 6:15 p.m., candles are lit in public buildings, shops and homes, and fireworks are launched at three Historic Area locations: the Governor’s Palace, Magazine and Capitol. After the fireworks, entertainment resumes on the outdoor stages and continues until 7:30 p.m.

The tradition of Grand Illumination originated in 1934 with a “White Lighting.” The first re-creation of an 18th-century Christmas in Williamsburg featured single candles in the windows of the Historic Area’s restored and reconstructed buildings, as well as garlands and greens on the outside of the buildings.

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 www.history.org.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121



Footer