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Top five weekend events: RVA Illuminates, Shockoe Happy Hour & Christmas Parade

Top five weekend events: RVA Illuminates, Shockoe Happy Hour & Christmas Parade

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Richmond lights up for the holidays this weekend with RVA Illuminates, a first-time happy hour in Shockoe Bottom at Shockoe Illuminates, the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade and more seasonal fun.

RVA Illuminates


The Grand Illumination has a new name and a new location this year. It’s moving from the James Center to Kanawha Plaza with the city of Richmond taking over the event from the James Center. But there will still be a countdown to the downtown lights turning on for the holidays with Mayor Levar Stoney flipping the switch at 6 p.m. No BS! Brass Band will get the crowd in the festive mood, and the Miles Jones Elementary School hand bell choir and City Dance Theatre will perform. The fountain will be filled with holiday lights and a big Christmas tree. 5:30 p.m. at 801 E. Canal St. Free.


Clyde Goode gave GeoShae Goode, 5, a lift for a view of the Richmond Grand Illumination on Dec. 5, 2014

Shockoe Illuminates


Stroll over to the 17th Street Market for a European holiday market where you can pick up unique gifts from eclectic vendors, visit with Father Christmas, watch Irish dancing from The Baffa Academy, and enjoy horse and carriage rides. Plus, for the first time, you can purchase an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant like Havana ’59 or Rosie Connolly’s and take it to go to enjoy the festivities on the market plaza. 5 to 9 p.m. at 17th Street Market, 100 N. 17th St. Free; pay as you go.


Balloons are marched down Broad Street during the 35th annual Dominion Energy Christmas Parade on Saturday Dec. 1, 2018.

Dominion Energy Christmas Parade


The floats! The marching bands! The people in Star Wars costumes! The Christmas parade drums up the holiday spirit, literally, with a good old-fashioned parade down Broad Street. Starting at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., and ending at Seventh Street. Starts at 10 a.m. Free.

Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass

Let It Snow! featuring Natalie Prass

Saturday and Sunday

Sing along to holiday classics with former Richmond singer-songwriter and indie queen Natalie Prass backed by the Richmond Symphony. Expect poppy versions of “Sleigh Ride” and “White Christmas” and a few of Prass’ own signature songs. 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 600 E. Grace St. $10-$82. (804) 788-1212 or


Staff worked on crafts during The Valentine’s 32nd Annual Court End Christmas. Most activites did not happen but they were still open.

Court End Christmas


Enjoy free admission to the Valentine, the Executive Mansion, The John Marshall House and other Court End locations for holiday festivities, arts and crafts for kids, as well as performances from the Bolden Academy’s Precision Step Team and Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion. With Urban Hang Suite, Zorch pizza truck and Ardent out on Clay Street. Noon-4 p.m. Free shuttle service at the corner of 11th and Clay streets.

– Colleen Curran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

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