Roanoke, VA

Dickens of a Christmas transforms Roanoke City Market into a Winter Wonderland

Cheryl E Preston
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J Grace and FrostyPhoto byCheryl E Preston

40 years of Christmas magic

Dickens of a Christmas has been taking place at the Roanoke Virginia City Market since 1982. No two years are the same and this only adds to the mystique of what attendees can expect. The first night in 2023 was Friday, December 1 and it was truly a Winter Wonderland. My daughter, two of her children and I stepped out of the parking garage in time to see the annual tree lighting ceremony which was covered by WDBJ7 and could be watched on a big screen.

Frosty the Snowman was greeting children and there were lights and decorations everywhere illuminating the surroundings. The drizzle of rain had stopped but the streets were just wet enough to sparkle under the glow from the lighting. There were bouncy houses for the kids and market businesses were open past their usual times giving the feel of the big city.

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Divine Dance Troup and the Roanoek Christmas treePhoto byCheryl E Preston

Holiday Spirit and Christmas joy

Youth and teen dancers from the Divine Dance Center dressed like Santa in red and white performed on stage to music from many popular Christmas carols. My favorites were Silent Night and O Holy Night because they reflect the spiritual meaning of the season. As we walked through the market area it had been transformed and it was as if we had been transported to a magical place and were no longer in Downtown Roanoke.


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Southwest Virginia Ballet dancersPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Something for everyone

Carriage rides with beautiful horses, kettle corn, apple cider donuts, and cherry cider added to the atmosphere. As we made our way across Market Square there were many vendors selling holiday items. At Century Plaza the Southwest Virginia Ballet Theater was performing on a different stage.

The air was charged with Christmas spirit and holiday joy and a family-friendly atmosphere. It was fun to watch young children singing and dancing to the music and enjoying themselves and the chill in the air was just right for the evening.

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Market square and the Star City starPhoto byCheryl E Preston

Dickens returns for two additional Friday nights

Dickens of a Christmas will host the annual Roanoke City Christmas parade on Friday, December 8, and on the 15th the carriage rides will return. There will also be a pet costume contest and a smores station on the final night.




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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA
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