Christmas in Williamsburg: The weekend shortlist

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

The calendar has turned from November to December and, marking the start of the Christmas season, an exceptionally event-filled weekend lies ahead.

There are the traditions, like the annual Christmas parade and Grand Illumination, and there are also opportunities for new memories to be made.

While checking out everything likely won't be possible, here are some events to keep in mind.

•Williamsburg Christmas Parade — Close to 100 participating units present their interpretation of this year's theme: "The Night Before Christmas." The parade starts at Brooks Street and Richmond Road, continuing along Richmond Road through Merchants Square onto Henry Street. It then splits, with some floats continuing along Henry Street and others turning left onto Francis Street. 8 a.m., Saturday. Free.

•Christmas Homes Tour — The annual tour by Green Spring Garden Club allows a look inside historic homes, all decorated with floral arrangements appropriate to the period. This year's tour includes six homes: Custis Tenement, Elkanhah Deane House, Charlotte Brooks House, J.C. Darlington House, Plumeri House and The President's House. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday. $35/tour, $10/single house.

•Holiday Pops — The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra's annual Christmas concert this year features the vocal stylings of Brett Cahoon of Good Shot Judy. At one point, a member from the audience will step to the stage to conduct. 1:30 and 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Kimball Theatre, 424 W. Duke of Gloucester St. $30.

•Ford's Colony Model Railroad Club display — The club's 12th annual display includes seven operating layouts of G, O, HO and N scale model trains. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and 1-5 p.m., Sunday. James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road. Free.

•A Colonial Christmas — Experience holiday traditions from the 17th and 18th centuries at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown's American Revolution Museum through demonstrations and decorations. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. Admission required.

•Caroloke and Cocoa — Belt holiday favorites for a chance to win karaoke contests for kids, families and adults and sip cocoa while waiting your turn. A tree lighting occurs at 6 p.m. 5-8 p.m., Saturday. Civic Green (gazebo) at New Town. Free.

•Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade — The York River transforms each year into a floating parade of lights as sail and power boats compete for "Best in Show." While there, warm up by the bonfire, sip hot cider and carol to your hearts desire. 6-8 p.m., Saturday. Riverwalk Landing, 331 Water St., Yorktown. Free.

•Cantori Choral Ensemble — The small auditioned ensemble will perform two a cappella works, followed by John Rutter's seven-movement setting of the "Magnificat." 7:30 p.m., Sunday. Walnut Hills Baptist Church, 1014 Jamestown Road. Free.

•Colonial Williamsburg's Grand Illumination — The 20-minute fireworks display starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, launched from the Palace, the Magazine and both sides of the Capitol, but the day starts at 9 a.m. when the Historic Area opens. Among the day's events, Santa Claus visits the William and Mary Bookstore from 12-3 p.m., while Father Christmas strolls Merchants Square from 7-9 p.m. Virginia Theatre Machine performs "A Christmas Carol" in Merchants Square at 12:30, 2 and 3 p.m. Live entertainment begins at 5 p.m. at four stages: Palace Green, Market Square, Gaol and Capitol.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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