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When is Charlottesville's Grand Illumination?
Friday, December 6 at Sprint Pavilion starting at 4:30 p.m.

I heard the event moved, is that true?
Yes! This year the event will be at Sprint Pavilion and the tree is now located at City Hall Plaza (in front of City Hall). Check out the Grand Illumination Event Map for details.

How much does the event cost and where do I get tickets?
No tickets needed! As always this event is FREE TO THE PUBLIC thanks to the support of our sponsors

What are the security procedures for entering the event?
This event will follow security procedures for all Sprint Pavilion hosted events, for information on these procedures and more visit the FAQ section of the Sprint Pavilion website. There will be a bag check at each of the three entrances of the event located at Market Street/7th Street and Downtown Mall/6th Street and the entrance ramp from the Belmont Bridge. Use the Grand Illumination Event Map as a reference. 

How early should I arrive?
The event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and we recommend arriving as early as possible. We have quite a few new activities and event features that you will want to enjoy before we reach maximum attendance. There will also be a bag check at the event entrances that could cause a slight delay getting into the event. It will get more and more crowded the closer we get to tree lighting time!

What time is the tree lighting and the holiday movie?
The tree lighting is planned for 7:15 p.m. after the Holiday Concert concludes. There will then be a presentation of Santa Claus with the Holiday Movie following shortly afterwards at 7:30 p.m. Time delays may occur, but we hope to keep within 5 mins of this schedule.

What is this year's Holiday Movie, how much does it cost, and where is it being shown?
The community voted on the classic holiday movie Polar Express and there will be a FREE screening under the pavilion at 7:30 p.m.! Since it will be outside, be sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. There will be hot food and drink options along with access to a Public Warming Center located at the Herman Key Recreation building throughout the evening. 

What are the food and drink options?
We will have over 25 Holiday Market vendors selling crafts, hot food and beverages along with beer and wine selections from Charlottesville Ale Trail. Downtown restaurants will also be catering to early event-goers so be sure to call ahead and make reservations!

What's the bathroom situation?
There will be accessible restroom facilities located adjacent to the Transit Center building and inside the Warming Center located at the Herman Key Recreation building. Please refer to the Grand Illumination Event Map.

Where can I park?
Complimentary parking will be available at Market and Water Street parking garages. Downtown curbside parking and paid parking lots will also be available.

Should I bring a stroller?
Navigating with strollers will be much easier at our new Sprint Pavilion location! We will also have a stroller parking area at the Warming Center located at the Herman Key Recreation building next to the pavilion.

What if it rains or snows?
 In the event of a little rain or snow the show will go on, that's the beauty of the Sprint Pavilion hosting the event under cover! However, if weather gets to the point it becomes a safety hazard (ie. blizzard conditions, etc) contingency plans will be made.

I want to volunteer, who do I contact?
We are always looking for helping hands! Please contact Joe Rice at 434-970-3707 or email

Have additional questions that we didn't cover?