Annual Christmas traditions are beloved in Roanoke
Roanoke has some Hometown Holiday traditions that locals look forward to each year that bring much joy and they do not disappoint. Post-Covid they are back and bigger and better than ever. The season begins with the annual Grandin Village Children's Parade which was Saturday, November 19 at 11:00 am. The weather was warm and Grandin Road was lined with spectators waving and saying Merry Christmas to the participants. For many the parade signals that the official Christmas season has begun.
The main event in Roanoke is Dickens of a Christmas which takes place the first three Fridays each December. Everything happens in the downtown City Market which turns into a winter wonderland of fun. It's exciting each year to see families with multiple generations come out to support this popular event. Four generations of my own family have made this a holiday must.
Locals take part in the festivities
There are people dressed up in the fashions that were worn during the days of Charles Dickens when he wrote A Christmas Carol. Dickens of a Christmas has horse-drawn carriage rides, (nights 1 and 3) a kid zone, kettle corn, holiday music, and cider. 2022 marks 40 years of this popular event and on December 2 things kicked off with the annual tree lighting ceremony behind Market Square.
On December 9 the annual Roanoke Christmas parade began on Jefferson Street at Elm Avenue, then turned onto Campbell Avenue, went past Market Square, and ended at Williamson Road. The final night will be December 16 and the Roanoke Valley SPCA Pet Costume Contest is returning. It
takes place on Salem Avenue at the Plaza behind the Market Building. Pet owners can begin registering their pets at 5:30 pm on the night of the event and the contest will begin at 6:30 pm.
Christmas trees and the Nativity
Just a few steps away from Downtown Roanoke is the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center where the annual Christmas tree exhibit is taking place until January. Local businesses decorate trees each holiday season and people come from miles around to view them. It's fun each season to see how creative people can be and vote for your favorite tree.
For those who desire to reflect upon the reason for the season, you can drive a few miles north to Shenandoah Baptist Church (6520 Williamson Road) where a Live Nativity will be taking place on December 9, 10, 11, and 6, 17, and 18. These yearly holiday events are looked forward to and bring the kind of joy that children decades ago would get from anticipating Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman coming on network TV
There are other Christmas activities in Roanoke but these four are hometown holiday favorites and bring the magic and wonder of the season to life. The Grandin Village Children's Parade. Dickens of a Christmas, The Hotel Roanoke trees, and the Shenandoah Baptist live Nativity give us something to look forward to and fond memories to hold us until the next Christmas season. These traditions are held dear by those who reside in the Star City of the South.