Christmas Concerts Dec. 10 – 11, 2011

Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit faster than music and this weekend offers some wonderful options. Today at 2:00 p.m. head to the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church at 215 Richmond Road for the Virginia Choral Society‘s Family Festival of Carols. They’ll perform contemporary seasonal music and traditional Christmas carols. Tickets are $18 at the door ($15 for mil/sr/stu).

This evening, enjoy acoustic sounds of the season at Lana Puckett and Kim Person’s Christmas Show at 7:30 p.m. at the Williamsburg Regional Library. You can hear  Kim Person‘s lyrical voice on her web site.  The concert will feature original and traditional songs from the duo’s  Christmas CD releases  “At Christmas the Heart Goes Home” and “The Gift of Christmas.”  I’ve never been disappointed by groups in the Dewey Decibel series at the library.

Tomorrow, opera fans will love the Williamsburg Choral Guild’s free presentation of Amahl and the Night Visitors, a one-act opera by Gian Carol Menotti, sung in English. It tells the story of a poor shepherd boy’s meeting with the three kings and the miraculous healing of his lame leg when he gives his crutch to the kings as a gift for the baby Jesus. No tickets required; if you care to take a canned or non-perishable food item, it will be give to Fish or Grove Christian Outreach.Performances are Sunday, December 11, 2011, 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at King of Glory Lutheran Church, 4897 Longhill Road.

Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination Dec. 4, 2011

The big event this weekend is the Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg. If the weather is good, you can expect tens of thousands of people to celebrate the start of the Christmas season with you. The Illumination activities begin at 5:15, with fireworks at 7:00 p.m. Get there before dusk so you can stroll Duke of Gloucester Street and enjoy the decorations. Colonial Williamsburg has a full day of activities planned, plus some  a capella programs at the DeWitt Wallace Musem. It’s free to walk around the historic area and enjoy the sights; you need tickets to go inside the exhibits.

Be sure to make your way to Merchants Square, where the following activities are planned:

Dec. 4  Grand Illumination Sunday on Merchants Square

  • A Christmas Carol, Noon–12:30 p.m., 1:30–2 p.m.
  • Santa visits the College of William & Mary Bookstore, 12–3 p.m.
  • Strolling Santa, 3:30–5:30 p.m.
  • Strolling Musical Entertainment, throughout the day
Don’t miss Ed Whitaker’s 15-minute version of A Christmas Carol. It’s laugh-out-loud funny. Not convinced yet? See last year’s pictures.

William & Mary Christmas Art & Craft Show

This annual show is fun to attend and admission is free. Exhibitors from 6 states show and sell fine art, jewelry, folk art, clothing, paper, baskets, pillows, photography, quilts, Christmas decorations, food and more.

Location:  Trinkle Hall at the back of the Campus Center on Jamestown Road (across from the Wren Building).

Dates: Dec. 3, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Dec. 4, 2011, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Handel’s Messiah in Williamsburg

You have at least two great options to hear a live performance of Handel’s Messiah this year.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Volunteers perform at the Williamsburg Methodist Church on Jamestown Road. See their 2009 performance on YouTube.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. the Virginia Symphony Orchestra performs at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William and Mary. Tickets $20.

Family Activities After the Thanksgiving Feast

Having the whole family in town for Thanksgiving? You’ll need to plan some activities for the non-football fans. There’s always shopping on Black Friday, but if that’s not your thing, try these ideas:

  • For theme park fun lovers, Busch Garden’s Christmas Town is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Nov. 25-27, 3:00-10:00 p.m.)
  • Visit Colonial Williamsburg
  • Catch a performance of Coyote Run‘s Celtic Solstice Celebration at the Kimball Theater on Merchants Square. This popular local band is back in town for their annual Thanksgiving weekend concert. Read last year’s review. Call 1-800-447-8679 for tickets: $20/$17/$14.
  • Get a copy of The Art-Full Tree by local authors Jan Gilliam and Christina Westenberger. It’s available at Colonial Williamsburg and Barnes and Noble locally, as well as online. The book shows you how to make Christmas ornaments inspired by objects in the museum’s collections from household materials and supplies readily available at craft stores.
  • Visit the Williamburg Antiques Mall for a trip down memorabilia lane with your older relatives. You can also score some vintage Christmas gifts. Be sure to laugh lovingly at the people circling for parking spots at the Premium Outlets on your way to the other side of the railroad tracks. (Closed Thanksgiving Day)
  • Get some exercise at Freedom Park, at the intersection of Longhill and Centerville Roads. There’s a brand new interpretive center where you can learn about Hotwater Plantation in the 1650s and one of the earliest free black settlements. With more than 20 miles of wooded trails, you’ll be hungry for turkey leftovers in no time.
  • Head to Jamestown Settlement for their new exhibit The 17th Century: Gateway to the Modern World. You’ll learn how explorers helped transition from the old world of Mediterranean and European centers of commerce to the globally connected world in the 1600s—with lots of gorgeous paintings and artifacts for illustration.
  • Check out the paintings of Amy Hautman     and ceramics by Lynn Trott at This Century Art Gallery.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Celebrate VA Archaeology Month at Historic Jamestowne

If you can’t make it to the special dinner on Jamestown Island Thursday night, you have another option on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn about the most recent discoveries at James Fort during the 2011 field season. This special day will include historic trades demonstrations, ranger and archaeologist tours, and kids’ activities. Admission is $10 for adults, free for children under 16.

Special evening at Historic Jamestowne

Enjoy beautiful scenery and learn more about Jamestown and the Civil War at a special dinner on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. and includes a picnic dinner. Historic Jamestowne’s web site says you’ll “explore the story of Fort Pocahontas, one of five Civil War-era forts constructed on Jamestown Island … hear first-person accounts of Confederate soldiers stationed at the fort … and enjoy an update with Jamestown Rediscovery Senior Archaeologist Dave Givens on the most recent findings from the fort’s excavated bomb shelter.”


Italian Festival

There’s no shortage of fun things to do this weekend! The Italian Festival is being held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 & 9 at Walsingham Academy, 1100 Jamestown Road in Williamsburg from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  They’ll have wine tastings, great food, and entertainment.

There’s an admission fee, in addition to the cost of the food, because this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Colonial Italian American Organization. This group funds $2,000 scholarships for 4 high school students annually, as well as providing grants to other local educational charities.


  • $12 advance, $15 at gate with Wine Tasting
  • $5 advance, $8 at gate
Get your advance tickets at a number of local merchants, or purchase online at the festival web site.

Fish Fry at the Firehouse

If you’re still hungry when you leave the Hickory Neck Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 8,  there’s a convenient solution for you. Just up the road, the James City-Bruton Volunteer Fire Department in Toano is holding its annual Fall Fish Fry from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Meet the volunteer fire fighters and see the trucks and equipment they use to protect us and our property. Tickets are $10/adults, $5/kids under 12. The spread includes fried flounder, baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies, water, iced tea, or coffee.

Fall Festival to Support Local Charities


The 11th Annual  Hickory Neck Family Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event is great fun for the whole family while raising funds for local charities including Grove Christian Outreach Center, SpiritWorks Foundation, Faith in Action, Angels of Mercy, H.E.L.P., and others.

Enjoy homemade BBQ and other luncheon favorites followed by treats from the “Amazin Grazin” bakery and gourmet items sale.  There are lots of children’s activities while you enjoy live music.  Browse the Arts & Crafts show or find a treasure at Attic Antiques.

The Silent Auction offers incredible bargains including gifts certificates to local shops, restaurants, golf venues and many other great values.  Tours of the historic chapel are available.  For additional information call (757) 566-0276 or visit (Disclosure: Williamsburg Native is a member of Hickory Neck Episcopal Church)

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