The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Earned Media Coverage December 12, 2013
â€œWilliamsburg, Virginia for the Holidaysâ€? By: Sheridan Alexander 12/02/2013
Williamsburg, Virginia offers holiday visitors many unique and memory-making seasonal experiences for all ages. The Colonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination (December 8, 2013) is a highlight of the Historic Area's holiday season with period entertainment, the lighting of candles in the Historic District and dazzling fireworks displays. Throughout the season, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown bring to life Christmas traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries with fresh, fragrant handmade decorations and festive holiday themed tours, activities, music, dancing and dining events. Nearby, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been transformed into Christmas Town, featuring over six million sparking lights, holiday themed shows, holiday markets, thrill rides and more. To add to the Williamsburg, Virginia experience, many area resorts, hotels and local shops offer special holiday sales and events throughout the season. Read more about Ten Fun Things to See and Do in Williamsburg, Virginia during the holiday season...
“Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, Va.” By: Isabelle Esteves 12/10/2013
Williamsburg Lodge Rating: I was quite shocked when one of my friends referred to the Williamsburg Lodge, which is a member of Historic Hotels of America as ‘The one that looks more like a motel”. I have to admit, from the exterior, which is in many areas only two stories, it does look a bit like a big brick motel, albeit a very upscale one. There are doormen at the door to greet you which is something that your typical motel is not going to provide as well as valet parking if you so desire.
“Light up your holiday with joyful fire” By: Sam McDonald 12/06/2013
On the Peninsula this weekend, Christmas is blowing up. Two of the region's biggest, most explosive holiday events — Hollydazzle in Newport News and the Grand Illumination in Colonial Williamsburg — will brighten the skies. If you'd rather celebrate with something less incendiary (and less crowded), there's a boat parade in downtown Hampton and a street parade in Williamsburg. There's no denying it now, folks. Our collective yule log is lit and, in the days ahead, we'll find many ways to see the season's spirit burning bright. Hollydazzle. 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. City Center at Oyster Point, Newport News. A free, family event with activities and entertainment leading up to a spectacular "Fountains of Light Show" at 8:45 p.m. with fireworks and new special effects by Pyrotecnico and the lighting of a 45-foot Christmas tree on Fountain Plaza. Crafts, dance performances, juggling and music from groups including Warwick
Assembly of God Christmas Choir and theU.S. Army Brass Quintet. http://www.nngov.com/parks-andrecreation/hollydazzle. 757-926-1400. Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade. 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. More than 20 boats are expected to participate in this free nautical light show taking place on the downtown Hampton waterfront. The parade of illuminated power and sail boats will be visible from anywhere along the Hampton River. However, spectators who want to hear the narration will want to find a spot near the Hampton Maritime Center. Those who don't have a boat, but want to join the action, can board the Miss Hampton II tour boat. Spectators interested in riding on the Miss Hampton II are encouraged to make reservations by calling 722-9102. A contribution of an unwrapped toy that will be donated to Toys for Tots is appreciated. http://www.visithamp¿ton.com. 757-727-1276. Williamsburg Christmas Parade. 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Presented by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, the parade route begins at Merchants Square and proceeds down Richmond Road to Brooks Street, ending atWilliam and Mary Hall. This year's theme is "Christmas trees and memories." The parade will feature about 100 units.http://www.williamsburgcc.com. 757-2296511. Colonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination. 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. Duke of Gloucester Street and surrounding area. Experience the glow as thousands of candles light homes, cressets burn bright and fireworks herald the beginning of the season. Colonial Williamsburg celebrates its 80th Grand Illumination with musical performances throughout the Revolutionary City, beginning at 5:15 p.m. and fireworks at 7 p.m. from three locations — the Governor's Palace, Magazine and Capitol.http://www.colonialwilliamsburg¿.com. 888-965-7254.
â€œColonial Williamsburg discounts admission through LivingSocialâ€? By: Nicole Paitsel 12/10/2013 Colonial Williamsburg is offering half-off single day admission tickets through the daily deal website LivingSocial.com. The deal offers single-day admission tickets for $18 for adults and $9 for youth. Tickets must be used by Dec. 31, 2013. Shoppers may purchase 10 tickets at a discount through the LivingSocial deal. Colonial Williamsburg has a variety of special holiday programs and activities that run through the end of the year. Go to colonialwilliamsburg.com to get a current list of special events.
“Despite rain, Grand Illumination lights up Colonial Williamsburg” By: Christine Sampson 11/08/2013
Colonial Williamsvurg's Grand Illumination went off despite a day of rain and cold temperatures WILLIAMSBURG – Rain and cold temperatures couldn’t freeze the holiday spirit for the thousands of locals and tourists who gathered at Colonial Williamsburg Sunday for the 80th anniversary of Grand Illumination. The on-again, off-again rain turned the city’s greens into mud as people packed the indoor attractions and strolled the streets of the revolutionary city underneath umbrellas and ponchos – some storebought, some improvised. For some, like Lisa Foster, a New Jersey native who now lives in Texas, the good still outweighed the bad.
“I’m really enjoying being back on the east coast. I flew in this morning from Dallas, Texas, on maybe one of the only flights that got out,” she said. “I really, really am very happy to see the old architecture, things that you just cannot find in Texas. It just brings you back home. We ate at a pub, had some really great food that I can’t get in Texas, tried a Williamsburg beer for the very first time and thought it was very complementary. I’m looking forward to staying until Friday and hoping to see a lot more.” For Robin Reed, one member of a group of five friends who came from four different states, this trip to Williamsburg is her first. “It’s a place I’ve always wanted to come to,” the California resident said. “I’ve heard great things about it at Christmas ... I was looking forward to the change in weather. You know you don’t get your choices ... but rain’s OK, and we’ll tough it out.” “So what if it’s cold? If the fireworks go off, it’s wonderful,” Reed’s friend Cathy Otto, from Maryland, added. At least one musical performance had to be changed, as rain threatened to damage some of the more delicate musical instruments involved. But the sounds of the fife and drum corps, along with bagpipes and carolers, were loud and clear. And then, of course, came the fireworks – a kind of reward for those who had been brave enough to tolerate the rain and cold. Lance Laughmiller and his young sons Sam and Luke were impressed. “I think the fireworks were awesome, and the hot cocoa was delicious,” said Sam, who along with Luke was attending Grand Illumination for the first time. Their father’s previous memories of Grand Illumination included “tons and tons of people” who packed the streets of Colonial Williamsburg. “I guess not too many people wanted to brave the elements,” Lance Laughmiller said, “but it was still worth it.”
“Big Williamsburg weekend takes big planning: Parade, Grand Illumination among dozens of events” By: Steve Vaughn 12/06/2013
WILLIAMSBURG— While Colonial Williamsburg's Grand Illumination and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance's Christmas Parade only happen one day a year, the organizations spend nearly the 12 months planning the next one. "As soon as one year's Grand Illumination is over, we start having meetings about the next one," said Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Jim Bradley. "We want to go over what went wrong and what we might do better while it's fresh in everyone's mind." Bradley said the intensity of the planning sessions picks up as the year goes on. Grand Illumination, set for 7 p.m. Sunday, is a major operation for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Bradley estimated that as many as half of the foundation's employees are involved, either in planning or execution of the event. This year is the 80th anniversary. And that's not all. "We coordinate with the Williamsburg Fire and Police departments, Virginia State Police andJames City County Police," Bradley said. Part of that coordination is visible in the presence of bike-mounted Emergency Medical Technicians in the Historic Area. "Can you imagine trying to get an ambulance down Duke of Gloucester Street during Grand Illumination?' Bradley asked.
He said James City Police help by manning key intersections in their jurisdiction. That allows access to the Historic Area – and more importantly, egress from it – to move smoothly. Bradley said traffic control alone, getting a crowd of tens of thousands of people into and out of the Historic Area is a major undertaking. "That's particularly true after the program, when everyone wants to leave at once," he said. "But over the years they've gotten it down to something of a science." Williamsburg Police say they are reimbursed by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for officer time. The Fire Department has 16 additional personnel on duty for Grand Illumination. There will be two engines, a medic unit and two medical bike teams on site at Colonial Williamsburg from 5 p.m. until the conclusion of the event. Additionally, two officers will be in the emergency operations command post and three inspectors will be at the fireworks sites. The Christmas Parade attracts less people, but still requires logistical support, including traffic control from city police and a medical bike team from the Fire Department. The department also has two pieces of apparatus in the parade, one an antique engine. This year's event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Merchants Square. Naomi Flythe, of the Chamber, says preparations for the Christmas Parade begin in March. Including volunteers and Alliance staff, about 150 people work to put the parade together. This year, the potential for bad weather threatens both events. As of Friday afternoon, the parade was still on. "We're doing it," a chamber spokeswoman said. Colonial Williamsburg noted that it would take very bad weather Sunday to postpone the Illumination. "Rain will not cause the cancellation of Grand Illumination," wrote Barbara Brown, communications manager for Colonial Williamsburg, in an e-mail Friday morning. "Only severe weather or high wind that impacts the safety of staff and guests will result in cancellation." More – For updates on the evets, visit http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com for information on Grand Illumination. For the Christmas Parade, call the Chamber at 229-6511.
“Spies needed to test Colonial Williamsburg's latest 'RevQuest': 'Save The Revolution' is fourth episode” By: Steve Vaughan 12/06/2013 WILLIAMSBURG—Fans of Colonial Williamsburg's interactive scavenger hunt "RevQuest" can get a sneak peek at the next installment if they participate in a two-day test of the new version this month. The fourth episode in the RevQuest series, "Save the Revolution!," will be tested Dec. 13-14. According to Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Jim Bradley, this is similar to the "beta" testing that video games go through before being released. "We want to make sure all the clues are right and that the prerecorded directions all work," he said Friday. Participants would get to see the game, which officially debuts March 31, 2014, about four months early. Testers will play the game straight through — players during the season often play it sporadically throughout their stay in the Historic Area — and be willing to engage in a discussion and provide feedback afterward. It's not necessary for players to have played any previous version of the game. Testers will be rewarded with a free single-day Colonial Williamsburg ticket valid for the day they test the game and hot beverages and cookies after the test is concluded. A texting-enabled cell phone is needed to play, and testers should dress in weather-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes because only heavy rain or snow will cancel the test. Want to play? – Potential players should email Melinda Kantor at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate whether they wish to play Dec. 13 or 14. Include a phone number for contact in case of cancellation due to inclement weather. They should also include the names of the participants in the group along with the ages of anyone 18 and under. The experience is recommended for those 8 and older.
“Rain held down weekend crowds: Grand Illumination affected” By: Steve Vaughn 12/10/2013 WILLIAMSBURG – Last weekend's wet weather put a damper on two local holiday traditions, Saturday's Christmas Parade and Sunday's Grand Illumination. The Christmas Parade was quieter than normal because the only band that showed up was the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums. The high school bands all canceled. "They were worried about weather damage to their instruments and uniforms," said Naomi Flythe, who supervises the parade for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance. In all, 23 units didn't show up for the parade. "They were canceling from Friday night until 8 a.m. Saturday morning," she said. Flythe said the crowd was respectable, "but it wasn't what it has been in previous years." The Fifes & Drums took first place among performing units in the parade, with Jazzercise Williamsburg taking second. Among children's performing units, Providence Classical School was first and Girl Scouts of Colonial Coast second. First prize for children's floats went to Boy Scout Troop 103, with Williamsburg Christian Academy taking second. King of Glory Lutheran Church won first place for general float, and James City County Parks and Recreation took second. Norge Dental Center had the best commercial float, and Habit for Humanity was the runner-up. Sunday evening, even worse weather put a more severe crimp in Grand Illumination. "The weather certainly had an effect," said Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Jim Bradley. "We didn't have the crowd that we have in a typical year." That created some problems for local businesses. Particularly restaurants. "I was down 50 percent from what I'd typically do on a Grand Illumination night," said Billy Scruggs, whose Retro's Good Eats restaurant on Prince George Street is well-positioned to benefit from big Historic Area crowds. "The weather hurt us quite a bit." http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-giandparade-1211-20131210,0,5251808.story
It apparently wasn't that bad for area hotels. "We were fortunate to have groups," hotelier Chris Canavos said. "Since Colonial Williamsburg didn't cancel, our groups didn't cancel their reservations." That seemed to be the general experience of the hotel industry. "It was a mixed bag, really," said Ron Kirkland, executive director of the Williamsburg Hotel Association. "Some hotels were up a little, some down a little. If the bad weather had been on Friday or Saturday it may have had more of an impact on hotels, but traditionally most people don't stay Sunday night, so bad weather on Sunday really didn't hurt the lodging industry much."
“Colonial Williamsburg Celebrates 80th Grand Illumination Dec. 8: Mix Old and New Traditions This Holiday Season and Enjoy Spectacular Fireworks Presented at Three Sites in the Revolutionary City” By: Sarah Johnson 12/04/2013
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., December 2, 2013 – Colonial Williamsburg ushers in the holiday season with an allday celebration of Grand Illumination on Sunday, Dec. 8. Guests are invited to enjoy a mix of old and new traditions that begin early in the day and culminate with spectacular fireworks programs presented simultaneously at three sites throughout the Revolutionary City. Guests are invited to begin their celebration with a one-hour guided Christmas Decorations Walking Tour to learn about the traditions, materials and techniques that produce Colonial Williamsburg’s signature holiday decorations. Three tours are offered throughout the day at $15 per person. The excitement of an 18th-century-style auction is evident on the Market House stage at 1:30 p.m. Entertainments begin by early mid-afternoon as Colonial Williamsburg Junior Dancers performs 2 – 4 p.m. on the stage at the Raleigh Tavern. Spirit Bells from Gum Spring United Methodist Church perform on Market Square Stage from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Refreshment stands throughout the Revolutionary City offer hot cider, cookies and gingerbread men. Guests may also purchase their Grand Illumination kits, including blankets, souvenir 2014 Colonial Williamsburg mugs and glowsticks at the Market House. Illuminations begin when candles are lit at 5 p.m. in the windows of public buildings, trades shops and residences throughout the Revolutionary City.
The evening entertainment gets into full swing at 5:15 p.m. on four stages located at the fireworks sites: Palace Green, Market Square, the Gaol and the Capitol. Narrators introduce choirs and musicians playing period music. At 6:30 p.m., guests are invited to participate in the annual lighting of the glow sticks ceremony to begin the final countdown to the Grand Illumination fireworks program. The Fifes and Drums take the stages at 6:35 p.m. to provide a prelude to a sky filled with the traditional fireworks of Grand Illumination at 7 p.m. Following the fireworks, guests then are invited to march with the Fifes and Drums from both the Palace Green and the Capitol, meeting at Botetourt Street. The evening’s festivities continue at 8 p.m. with A Grand Medley of Entertainments — a variety show where everything that can go wrong does — at the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square. A ticket is required for this performance: $18 adults, $9 children. Illuminations were commonly used during the 18th century to celebrate major events. These old traditions and new experiences are part of a new era for Colonial Williamsburg at Grand Illumination on Sunday, Dec. 8, through expanded hours and more immersive celebrations to herald the start of the 2013 holiday season. The tradition of Grand Illumination originated in 1934 with a “White Lighting.” This first re-creation of an 18th-century Christmas in Williamsburg featured single candles in the windows of the Historic Area’s restored and reconstructed buildings, as well as garlands and greens on the outside of the buildings. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg, Va., as a 21st-century center for history and citizenship. Innovative and interactive experiences, such as the street theatre Revolutionary City and the RevQuest: Save the Revolution! series of technology-assisted alternate reality games, highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.
“Hometown: Holiday Traditions in Colonial Williamsburg This Weekend” By: Hannah S. Ostroff 12/05/2013
Update Friday: While the weather forecast for this weekend is bleak, it is not expected to be severe enough to cancel the Williamsburg Christmas Parade or Grand Illumination. If there are any updates, they can be found at the parade website or Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination website. —— Two local events have a long history of bringing holiday cheer to residents — Williamsburg’s Christmas Parade has been running since 1965, and Grand Illumination turns 80 this year. This year, there are a few new twists on the old favorites, which occur Saturday and Sunday. Williamsburg Christmas Parade It’s going to be a big year for this annual tradition, which boasts nearly 80 festive floats. Sponsored by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, this year’s organizers were looking for more themed participants, so they instituted a new system for parade applicants: Anyone interested in taking part was required to attend one of four meetings held July through September. More than 100 people showed up in total. Naomi Flythe, a representative from the Chamber, said asking people to take the extra effort to attend the meetings has paid off.
Less than half of last year’s parade was made up of floats, but this year 78 of the 96 units are floats. “A lot more work went in this year, because we wanted to raise the bar,” Flythe said. The meetings stressed attention to a holiday focus, with emphasis placed on floats over walking groups. The parade has a theme every year, which Flythe explained is kept intentionally broad so applicants can use their imaginations. This year’s theme is “Christmas Trees and Memories.” More than just groups with “Boy Scout suits on,” Flythe said all accepted applications were geared to the theme. “Our whole idea is not just to have a parade, but to have a Christmas parade to bring the Christmas spirit to the City of Williamsburg,” she said. This parade steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday morning from Merchant’s Square. It will take a route down Richmond Road before ending at William & Mary Hall. Grand Illumination The tradition of Grand Illumination originated in 1934 with a “White Lighting.” This first re-creation of an 18th-century Christmas in Williamsburg featured single candles in the windows of the Historic Area’s restored and reconstructed buildings, as well as garlands and greens on the outside of the buildings. Now, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation sets off fireworks to complete the illumination, which guests can enjoy on Sunday along with many other festive activities before the famed sparklers. For those looking to take in all the holiday sights, there’s the Christmas Decorations Walking Tour. Walkers can learn about the traditions, materials and techniques that produce Colonial Williamsburg’s signature holiday decorations. Three tours are offered throughout the day at $15 per person. Afternoon entertainment includes an 18th-century-style auction on the Market House stage at 1:30 p.m., the Colonial Williamsburg Junior Dancers from 2 to 4 p.m. on the stage at the Raleigh Tavern, and Spirit Bells from Gum Spring United Methodist Church on the Market Square Stage from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available throughout the Revolutionary City. Guests can also purchase a Grand Illumination kit — blanket, souvenir 2014 Colonial Williamsburg mug and glowstick — at the Market House. Illuminations begin at 5 p.m., when candles are lit in the windows of public buildings, trade shops and residences. Evening performances will start at 5:15 p.m. on four stages located at the fireworks sites: Palace Green, Market Square, the Gaol and the Capitol. Narrators will introduce choirs and musicians playing period music.
The countdown to the fireworks, with guests lighting glow sticks, begins at 6:30 p.m. It is immediately followed by a prelude from the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. The fireworks launch at 7 p.m.
The Fifes and Drums will then march from the Palace Green to the Capitol. The public wishing to march with them should meet at Botetourt Street. After the outdoor commotion, visitors can watch A Grand Medley of Entertainments, a variety show at the Kimball Theatre. Tickets are required ($18 for adults, $9 for children), and the show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, or tickets for any events, visit Colonial Williamsburgâ€™sGrand Illumination website.
“#GrandIllumination” By: Emily Ridjaneck 12/08/2013
Click here for a full schedule of Grand Illumination weekend events. And don’t forget to Tweet, Share, and Instagram photos and videos of your Grand Illumination celebration using #GrandIllumination. Share your Grand Illumination discoveries with friends, family and Colonial Williamsburg!