Great 8 Weekend Events: Holiday-themed fun, Winter Solstice and more!


Finding something to do for the weekend can get tricky, especially with the holiday season in full swing.

This time of year could be hectic — relatives from out of town could be staying over or you may need to rush to get those last gifts — but people still want to know: what are your plans this weekend?

If you don’t have any holiday parties to go to (or have too many to attend and want to avoid them), 8News has compiled a list of events in the community you and the people you know can enjoy this weekend.

RVA Holiday Headquarters: Your guide to festive events across Central Virginia

Some events are free, a few come with a cost and all of them are guaranteed to get your family out of your house.

Winter Solstice – Dec. 21

For the shortest day of the year, Friends of the James River Park will host a bonfire for winter solstice at Belle Isle on Saturday.

“Bring a poem to recite, a song to sing, a musical instrument along with your holiday spirit! Join us in a winter celebration and optional evening hikes around Belle Isle,” organizers of the event wrote on Facebook. “Bonfire, Cookies, Hot Beverages, Music, and Caroling. All welcome!”

  • Where: Belle Isle
  • When: Dec. 21 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Cost: It’s free!

Holiday movies at the Byrd Theatre – Dec. 21 and Dec. 23

The tradition of watching holiday movies will continue this year at the Byrd Theatre with many movies being screened there over the next week.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, “The Polar Express” and Family Classics will be at the Byrd.


“Family Classics include a Warner Bros Cartoon and Bob Gulledge at the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ with a Holiday Sing-a-long!”

On Monday (yes, it’s not technically the weekend), the Byrd will screen the Christmas-favorite “Elf” in an event with Hardywood Craft Brewing. Audience members can get some Gingerbread Stout while watching the film, just remember to bring a valid ID.

“Holidays at the Byrd are a special time! This event is super special! It’s Hardywood at the Byrd,” organizers of the event said. “Bob Gulledge will be there on the Mighty Wuritlizer for a Christmas Sing-a-long! What a special night. Bring the family!”

  • Where: The Byrd Theatre
  • When: Dec. 21 and Dec. 23
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the film. Get the info here.

Richmond Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker – Dec. 21-22

Anyone interested in enjoying the ballet for the holidays? If so, The Nutcracker will be in Richmond at the Carpenter Theatre this weekend.

“This season marks Artistic Director Stoner Winslett’s 40th time staging her continually evolving, acclaimed version of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s familiar music whisks both Clara and audiences alike on an extraordinary journey, from a battle beneath the branches of a magical Christmas tree, through an enchanted snowy forest, to the Kingdom of Sweets. With its colorful sets, fanciful costumes, and beloved characters, such as the Russian Bear and Arabian Snake, The Nutcracker continues to charm generations.”

  • Where: Carpenter Theatre, 600 E Grace Street
  • When: Multiple shows on Dec. 21 – 22
  • Cost: $25 to $125. Find tickets here.

Richmond Community Nativity Pageant – Dec. 22

The Richmond Community Nativity Pageant, called “likely the oldest public Christmas tradition in Richmond,” has returned after two years. The tradition — since 1931 — will have a live presentation with a cast and choir of about 200.

“This interdenominational, inter-racial, Christmas event draws persons in attendance not only from the Richmond metropolitan area but also from across Virginia,” organizers say. “In recent years, 1,000 to 3,000 people have attended to witness this moving and inspirational 30-minute production that continues to be a blessing to the lives of countless thousands or Richmonders who experience this glorious reenactment each year.” 

Check out the Facebook page for info.

  • Where: Scottish Rite Temple on Hermitage Road     
  • When: Performance starts at 7 p.m. on Dec. 22
  • Cost: It’s free

Richmond Tacky Light Tour – Family Friendly- Dec. 22

All of your favorite holiday classics, glittering celebrations of song and dance will, without a doubt, remind you that this truly is . . . ‘the most wonderful time of year!'”

Tacky light tours have changed over the years. There are more options than before. Instead of simply driving your car around to a certain neighborhood and parking (which still continues) you can now enjoy the tacky lights while on a bus!

One tour hosted by Traveling with Deb, LLC is a family friendly tacky light tour that begins in Henrico and goes through the City of Richmond. You can find some more info here.

There are also some tacky light tours meant for only adults.

  • Where: 4521 S Laburnum Ave, Henrico 23231
  • When: Dec. 22 from 6 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: Tickets are $35. Find additional info here.

Holiday Lights Tour – Dec. 20 – 22

RVATukTuk has created a lights tour event unlike any other in the area. The difference? You can enjoy the tour on a Tuk Tuk — you can book up to 24 seats — with your own driver.

Wait…you don’t know what a Tuk Tuk is? 8News has you covered.

Your driver will take you down Monument Avenue and then to Lewis Ginter and the James Center lights display. Children under 12 must have an adult with them and children 3 and under get free rides.

Don’t fret about the cold, there will be heated seats! Get the info here.

Dominion Energy Gardenfest of Lights – Dec. 20-22

If you haven’t gotten your fix of Christmas lights (look above), you can check more than half-a-million sparkling lights at the Dominion Energy Gardenfest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this weekend!

The theme for this year is “Magic in the Air.”

Guests will enjoy all manner of items that move through the air, from natural wonders (birds and butterflies), to man-made inventions (kites and airplanes) to fanciful creatures (dragons, unicorns and flying pigs!). In this year commemorating the first manned mission to land on the Moon, there will even be rocket ships and an astronaut.”

Maymont by Moonlight – Dec. 20

For those you wish to enjoy a Victorian Christmas, Maymont by Moonlight promises to offer the “delight in the excitement of Christmas 1893” at James and Sallie Dooley’s elegant mansion at Maymont.

Charming vignettes, seasonal refreshments and joyful carol-singing make this an evening to remember!”

  • Where: Maymont’s Historic Estate Entrance
  • When: Dec. 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $35 per person and $30 for members. Find info here.

Know of any events coming up next weekend? Let us know by sending us an email to

You can also CLICK HERE to visit our ‘Community Calendar’ for more events and happenings going on around RVA this weekend.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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