Don’t Miss Out on Festive Holiday Fun in Historic Yorktown

November 21, 2023

The holiday season is filled with special community traditions in Historic Yorktown. It’s a time for friends, family, and neighbors to gather together to eat, shop, and create unforgettable memories. The first week of December offers a splendiferous itinerary of holiday events and activities.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Friday, December 1

York Hall & Riverwalk Landing

York Hall Festivities Begin at 6:30 p.m.

Tree Lighting at 7:30 p.m.

The weekend kicks off with Yorktown’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  This community tradition goes all the way back to 1945. That's the year Reverend Claud G. Barkley, Pastor of Yorktown Baptist Church, and staff from the County Clerk’s office decorated a cedar tree that stood at the corner of Main and Ballard Streets. The York County Historical Committee works hard to keep this ritual going! The tree that is used today is a 20-foot artificial “Giant Everest Fir” placed at Riverwalk Landing.

This year, everyone is invited to gather at York Hall by 6:30 p.m. for live music from local elementary school students, as well as a performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town. From there, the procession will make its way to Riverwalk Landing, where the tree lighting ceremony will begin. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to stay for a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be eager to hear all about those wish lists! Be sure to also stop by the Freight Shed to sign holiday cards for first responders and members of the U.S. military.


Christmas Market on Main

Historic Main Street

Saturday, December 2 | 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, December 3 | 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shoppers can search for holiday gifts for family and friends, or a treat for themselves, during the Christmas Market on Main! This is one of the most anticipated Yorktown events every holiday season, which is why, in recent years, the event was extended to two days. Close to 100 vendors line the street selling everything from jewelry and handmade soaps to Christmas ornaments and wreaths! The Town Crier will ring in the market at 10 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a performance from the Fifes and Drums of York Town to officially open the market. Then, Santa Claus himself will ride in on York County’s first fire truck and will be available for photos on Main Street. Kids can make Colonial ornaments and view a model train demo in the basement of York Hall on Saturday. Expect strolling musical entertainment during both days to add to the festive atmosphere, and an ice carving demonstration in front of York Hall on Sunday. It simply doesn't get more "Christmas" than this!

Lighted Boat Parade

Yorktown Waterfront

Saturday, December 2

Pre-Parade Festivities begin at 6 p.m.

Boat Parade begins at 7 p.m.

The Lighted Boat Parade is one of the most unique holiday events in Yorktown. Pre-parade festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include caroling around illuminated braziers, a musical performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town and complimentary hot cider from a local Boy Scout troop. 

The boats will finish out the evening as they make their way down the river in a dazzling show of lights that starts at 7 p.m. This annual community tradition has been taking place for more than two decades and brings neighbors together to celebrate the season. As an added safety precaution, families are encouraged to bring flashlights to assist in navigation around town at night.

This special parade is sponsored by the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade Committee.


Cookies with Santa

Gallery at York Hall

Sunday, December 3 | 1 to 4 p.m.

The Gallery at York Hall once again hosts Cookies with Santa—a community event designed to make the season bright. It's free for families. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras and wish lists! Don’t forget to stop inside the Gallery to pick up unique Christmas gifts handcrafted by local artists. The Gallery is filled with local one-of-a-kind art pieces from hundreds of local artists in all types of mediums. 


Continue your Christmas journey to experience a unique “mari-time” event at the Watermen’s Museum. Observe a Victorian reenactment and hear St. Nicolas contrast both eras’ contributions to today’s holiday celebrations. The Viking Yuletide Celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 3.

Grace Episcopal Church will also be hosting its annual Fair Trade Christmas Market where you can purchase handmade items like ornaments and décor, as well as coffee, tea, and chocolate. The market will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 3. Sales benefit the church’s outreach program.


In addition to all the special holiday events, Historic Yorktown's many shops and restaurants will get in the spirit of the season by offering pre-made gift baskets, gift certificates, and other unique stocking stuffer ideas. Be sure to follow Visit Yorktown on Facebook so you don't miss our annual Holiday Gift Guide that takes you inside our museums, galleries and other local businesses!


No rain dates are scheduled for holiday-related weekend activities. If rain, storms or heavy winds are in the forecast, please call the Event Weather Hotline (757.890.3520) before heading into town. 

Additional Photos are available at

Additional Event Info:


·       Email:

·       Facebook, Instagram & TikTok: @VisitYorktown

·       #visityorktown #york757