Five 2019 Christmas Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss
The holiday season is quickly approaching, and with it, the excitement for brilliantly bright lights, festive treats, and fun parties. Yet, for serious fanatics of the holiday season, there’s nothing quite as inspiring as a festival. If you fall into that category, don’t fret! There are a few 2019 Christmas festivals that take their celebrations above and beyond just waiting for your visit.
Christkindlmarket – Chicago
From St. Patrick’s Day to New Year’s, the Windy City knows how to celebrate, and Christmas isn’t an exception. Since 1996, Chicago has held an epic open-air holiday market known as Christkindlmarket, which attracts over one million visitors annually. The festival begins the Friday before Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve, coinciding with the city’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
Regardless of the weather, the German-inspired event creates a magical atmosphere in Daley Plaza with free admission. The warmly lit market features handmade gifts, holiday-inspired decor, and plenty of food and drinks, including German potato pancakes and sauerkraut. There’s also a Kinder Club available, which offers fun events like scavenger hunts and passports for younger market-goers.
A Colonial Christmas – Jamestown, Virginia
If you want to enjoy the holiday festivities with a historical twist, then head to the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. The living history museum provides insight into the traditions of the English colony, as well as those of the Powhatan Indian tribe. Running from December 20th to the 31st, there are daily demonstrations, live music, and performances from the Lord of Misrule.
The celebration extends to the American Revolution Museum in nearby Yorktown. Instead of a recreated fort, the museum is based on a working colonial farm with a Continental Army encampment. During the Christmas festival, visitors get a glimpse of authentic holiday traditions in the 18th century, as well as military demonstrations. You can visit the events separately or purchase a combination ticket at a reduced rate.
Historic Philadelphia Franklin Square Holiday Festival
At Philadelphia’s Holiday Festival, the city looks to both the past and the future by lighting up the night. The family-friendly event features over 75,000 lights strewn throughout Franklin Square park. The festival pays homage to Ben Franklin with its Electrical Spectacle light show, which features a 12-foot-tall lighted kite and lighting choreographed to music. The light show takes place nightly from the middle of November to New Year’s Eve, with vendors on-site throughout the duration.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair – San Francisco
For literary lovers, there’s not a better 2019 Christmas Festival than the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. This Bay Area tradition takes place at the Cow Palace for five weekends in a row, from November 23rd to December 22nd. Not only does the festival pay homage to Charles Dickens’ _A Christmas Carol_, but it brings the beloved novel to life.
Set in Victorian times, the fair transforms the Cow Palace into the streets of London circa the 1850s. There are merchants, dance floors, music halls, and pubs scattered over 120,000 sq. ft. of space. Not only are you able to mingle with hundreds of dedicated actors, but you’re also encouraged to dress up and play the part yourself. Grab a freshly made croissant, hit the dance floor with a waltz, and wind down with a saloon performance before doing it all over again the next day.
Winterfest – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
If you want to see Santa playing the banjo, then head straight to Pigeon Forge, TN. The city’s Winterfest event is one of the longest-running Christmas festivals of the year, beginning on November 22nd and stretching through February 17th. Surrounded by the Smoky Mountains, this hospitable town is transformed with over five million twinkling lights, holiday-themed displays, and family-friendly activities and entertainment occurring regularly.
To take in the spectacular lighting displays of Winterfest, head down Pigeon Forge Parkway for the Tour of Lights, followed by a dinner show at Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Or, stop by the Smoky Mountain Opry for an unforgettable Christmas presentation. There’s also the annual tree lighting at The Island, which features over 40,000 ornaments, along with local music performances at the Community Celebration on December 5th. Regardless of when your trip is scheduled, you’re sure to find a special event that suits your needs.
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