On Friday December 2nd, the City of Charlottesville and the UVa Credit Union are teaming up to present the 19th annual Grand Illumination on the Downtown Mall. The free event features festivities that last all day, including musical performances, crafts, a movie screening, and the illumination of the community Christmas tree.
According to Communications Coordinator Joe Rice, between 500 and 600 people attended the event last year. As many as 1,000 people could come this year with the involvement of the Paramount Theater, which will be screening the Christmas classic Elf at 8:00 pm after the main events.
“We love seeing the crowds join us every year for the Grand Illumination and having a partner like UVa Community Credit Union, along with the support of the Paramount Theater, really gives us the resources and flexibility to make it a very special event for the entire community,” said Director of Communications Miriam Dickler.
The event starts at 9:00 am with the second annual Downtown Toy Lift and Pop-Up Holiday Market, which will take place at City Hall Plaza, next to the Sprint Pavilion. The Charlottesville Municipal Band will play at the Toy Lift at 1:00 pm, and volunteers will be collecting toys for children in need. The Holiday Market will include over 30 different local vendors selling handmade items including gifts, decorations, and food.
After these two events wrap up around 4:00 pm, the more activities will commence at Central Place on the Downtown Mall. The Holiday Concert, which includes groups such as the Virginia Gentlemen, the Virginia Consort Carolers, and Live Arts Players, will take place from 5:00 to 7:30 pm.
During the concert, there will also be other activities for visitors. Local nonprofits and event sponsors will host different festivities for kids and disseminate information about their organizations. There will also be concessions, face painting, and a raffle.
At 7:30 pm the Grand Illumination of the Community Christmas Tree will take place, after which guests can attend the special screening of Elf.
With so many new activities and sponsors at this year’s Grand Illumination, people in the Charlottesville community are excited to come together and celebrate the holidays.
“We are delighted to be a part of this annual tradition,” said Rebecca Cardwell, Vice President of Community Relations. “We are committed to the community. It’s a part of our who we are and this is a delightful way to start the holiday season.”