Old and new coexist everywhere you go in the Fredericksburg region. That’s part of its charm. It’s a treat to gaze at architecture more than two centuries old as you sip the latest coffee creation from a downtown café, or to see Civil War or Colonial reenactors, and then go enjoy modern recreation at Splitsville or Sky Zone. Here are some traditions—some old, some new—to add to your holiday calendar.
Confectionary architects have been plying their sweet trade at Ferry Farm’s annual Gingerbread Contest for 30 years now. This exhibit runs now through Dec. 30, and is perfect for families with children of all ages. This year’s theme is “Home for the Holidays.” Over the years, participants have gotten very creative in their work, often building gingerbread replicas of historic homes from around the region. As this exhibit enters its 30th year, the “Wee Christmas” dollhouse and miniatures show at Kenmore, which, like Ferry Farm, is run by the George Washington Foundation, is in its third year. Find all of the details on these programs here.
This is a brand-new series of events for 2016. Instead of just one night to celebrate the transition from one year to another, the Fredericksburg Department of Parks and Recreation has come up with an entire calendar of events, from concerts to open houses to events that you can fit in at your leisure. Two of our favorites? Holiday card cutouts available for snapping family shots in Riverfront Park, and outdoor holiday movies in Hurkamp Park. Find a full list of activities here.
This isn’t necessarily related to Christmas, but every year during this season Fredericksburg pauses to remember the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg, which took place in December 1862. The National Park Service has planned a full schedule of events during the weekend of Dec. 10-11. This year’s program will combine traditional events with some new offerings. Find the full schedule of talks, reenactments and interpretive events here.
Dazzling displays in retail holiday windows are part of the Christmas memories of so many adults today. Now your kids can experience that same magic—with a modern twist. Downtown Fredericksburg’s Window Wonderland contest challenges families and groups to tour downtown, see the decorated windows and solve a riddle posted in each window. Fill out your entry form and vote for your favorite window, and you’ll be entered to win one of several prizes. Find all the details here. This is a great way to make a day of being downtown.
Join Zion United Methodist Church at Spotsylvania’s Courthouse Village for a live portrayal of the Nativity scene. This evening event, Dec. 18 from 5-7 p.m., offers the chance to mingle with the characters and real animals in this reenactment of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Click here for more on this free event.
The culmination of the Christmas season in the eighteenth century was Twelfth Night, in early January. Kenmore has celebrated this night for years with a popular dramatic theater presentation that brings to life the problems that were brewing inside Kenmore mansion and around early America during the Christmas of 1776, as the Revolutionary War loomed. This engaging performance Jan. 6-8 is appropriate for children and adults. Find all show times here.