Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg

The Grand Illumination, a spectacular event in which the night is full of Christmas lights, carols and impressive pyrotechnics, is the only way to officially begin the Christmas season in Colonial Williamsburg.

In the 18th century, illuminations were sometimes held to commemorate the birth of the reigning sovereign. Today, Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination celebrates the winter holidays. With musical performances on multiple stages and fireworks coming from four different locations within the historic area, this event is not to be missed!

The event also features the lighting of candles that will burn throughout the season in the colonial village. Popular with young and old alike, make plans now to start the Christmas season off in style with the Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg.

The celebration begins at 5:00PM with the lighting of the candles in the windows of the public buildings of Colonial Williamsburg. Live entertainment begins at 5:15PM on four outdoor stages. For the first time in history, thousands of spectators will participate in the lighting ceremony when they’re asked to activate glow sticks simultaneously to illuminate the town. The holiday season officially begins when the Fifes and Drums are heard after the ceremony.

The fireworks begin at 7:00PM and will fill the sky over the historic area, coming from four different locations! Following the fireworks (about 7:30PM) the Fifes and Drums will march down Duke of Gloucester Street.. don’t be afraid to join them!