Christmas Town is holiday world unto itself

Every year at this time, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg turns into a Christmas extravaganza, appropriately called Christmas Town. The entire park is decorated for the holidays.

“It gets a whole new holiday overlay. Lights and decorations are put up in every country,” says Matthew Edwards, entertainment manager for consumer events.

Decorations fit in with the themes of the countries such as Americana, Aurora Borealis for the polar areas, Santa Experiences in the North Pole and a Victorian theme complete with Scrooge in England. Edwards says visitors get a different feel depending on the area of the park, but it all works to give a cohesive Christmas feel to Christmas Town.

While lots of favorite attractions exist for repeat attendees, Edwards says the park added several new attractions this year. First, Santa’s Worskshop is bigger and more expansive. “It gives us a lot more room to play with,” Edwards says. The new workshop is located in the castle that houses the Curse of DarKastle ride.

Also, a new cookie shop is open in the Rhinefeld, Germany, area offering 15 different kinds of cookies and hot cocoa for sale.

Another new item is the Gift of Harmony show, featuring an a cappella cast singing classic Christmas songs as well as newer holiday classics. Edwards also says local choral groups will perform on different days in Germany near the Oktoberfest building.

For those seeking more thrills, 24 rides will be open during Christmas Town including the newest, the wooden roller coaster, the InvadR.

Christmas Town also offers several special dining experiences such as Dine with Rudolph and Friends at Dasher’s Diner in Holiday Hills, Santa’s Fireside Feast at the Castle O’Sullivan in Ireland and Tastes of Christmas Town in the Das Festhaus.

Christmas Town Dash and Fun Run

The seventh annual Christmas Town Dash and Fun Run is Dec. 3. The 8K race along with the children’s half-mile fun run are sponsored by Casey Toyota. The race takes place throughout Busch Gardens so runners and walkers can enjoy the lights, music and decorations while they compete. A live DJ will spin tunes at the start/finish line and in the post-race area. Participants are encouraged to dress in holiday attire for the event.

Proceeds for the event go to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and Students Run the Streets, a nonprofit organization in Newport News that helps middle- and high-school students achieve their personal best through exercise, mentorship and supplemental education.

Entry fee for the 8K race is $50 while the fun run is $10. Start time is 8:30 a.m.

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