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November 30, 2016

Grand Illumination Lights Up the Revolutionary City this Sunday, December 4

Colonial Williamsburg’s signature holiday kickoff culminates with free fireworks at four Historic Area locations and a torch-lit procession by the Fifes & Drums

Colonial Williamsburg’s annual Grand Illumination kicks off the holiday season this Sunday, Dec. 4, when guests are invited to enjoy a full day of fun culminating in free fireworks at four Revolutionary City locations followed by a torch-lit procession by the Fifes & Drums.

“During the holidays, Colonial Williamsburg’s guests enjoy an experience unlike any other in the world, with the Historic Area’s handmade decorations lit by cressets and the scent of hot cider and ginger cakes filling the streets,” said Colonial Williamsburg’s President and CEO, Mitchell B. Reiss. “We extend warm holiday wishes to our friends, family, neighbors and all our guests, as we invite them to join us for this year’s Grand Illumination and to celebrate here with us throughout the season.”

Events begin at 9 a.m. Sunday:

• Historic Area sites open at 9 a.m. to guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission.

• Christmas Decorations Walking Tours depart the Lumber House Ticket Office at 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ($15 ticket).

• Dominion Presents Liberty’s Ice Pavilion on Duke of Gloucester Street near Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $12 for skaters ages 13 and older and $10 for ages 3-12. Skate rental is available for $4.25.

• The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, accessible via the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 Francis St. West, are open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to guests with Colonial Williamsburg or Art Museums admission. Seasonal exhibit highlights include perennial favorite dollhouse exhibit “The World Made Small” plus the return of “A Carolina Room Christmas” and the new “German Toys in America.”

• Chowning’s Tavern is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. with no reservations required. King’s Arms Tavern and Shields Tavern are open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and for dinner; Christiana Campbell’s Tavern is serving dinner only. Dinner seating at the taverns begins at 4:15 p.m. Reservations are available online at, by calling 855-296-6627 or via

• At the Hennage Auditorium in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, “Jazz for the Holidays” features the Harris Simon Trio playing favorite holiday songs at 12:15, 2:15 and 4:15 p.m. ($10 ticket required in addition to museum admission).

• Bassett Hall, the local home of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, is decorated for the holidays and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission.

• Santa Claus makes an appearance at the William & Mary Bookstore in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square from 12 to 3 p.m. (free).

• The Virginia Theatre Machine performs Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. (free).

• A colonial auction beginning at 1 p.m. on the Market Square stage offers guests a chance to bid on rare and one-of-a-kind items.

• Author David Baldacci signs his newest release “No Man’s Land” at 2 p.m. at the William & Mary Bookstore in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square.

• Beginning at 4 p.m. food trucks on Nicholson Street between Queen and North England streets and on Blair Street will offer hot sandwiches, barbecue and tacos for purchase. Hot cider, hot cocoa and cookies will be available outside various Historic Area locations including the Roscow Cole House, Levingston Kitchen, the Lumber House Ticket Office, the Gunsmith, Shields Tavern garden pavilion and Chowning’s Tavern garden. The Raleigh Tavern Bakery, Dubois Grocer, Chowning’s cider stand and the McKenzie Apothecary will remain open until 9 p.m.

• Father Christmas strolls Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square and Liberty’s Ice Pavilion from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (free).

• Fireworks shows begin at 7 p.m. with viewing in the following locations (free):
o The Palace Green
o Market Square
o The Capitol Green (south side of the Capitol)
o The northeast lawn of the Capitol opposite the Gaol

• Following fireworks, the Fifes & Drums march up Duke of Gloucester Street from the Palace Green to Botetourt Street (free).

• The Kimball Theatre in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square features “A Grand Medley of Entertainments,” an 18th century-style variety show, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for youth ages 6-12.

Information, admission and special program tickets are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at or by calling 855-296-6627.

Media Contact:
Joe Straw