Merry and bright in Fairfax County: holiday fun to share with family, friends and guests

Fairfax County is a great place to be for the holidays, in part because of the many fun and family-friendly festivities the area offers for residents and those out-of-town guests that you need to get out of the house. This season, there are light shows, holly jolly tunes, Santa sightings and more. With the holiday season in full swing, E-bird Extra presents several can’t-miss attractions that spread good cheer all around the county.

Photo courtesy: NOVA Parks

Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

Every year from mid-November until just after the New Year, Vienna’s Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring a half-mile of walkable trails illuminated with thousands of twinkling holiday lights. Beginning at dusk, visitors can walk through trails and along ponds while gazing at a variety of lit-up scenes. This event is a hit, with an average of 75,000 to 80,000 visitors per year, so make sure to purchase your tickets online in advance, especially if you are planning to visit during a weekend. Check out these tips for more ways to enjoy your perfect glowing winter walk! In addition to the lights, the event hosts a variety of features and attractions and even some special events, such as a Sunsets at the Light Show photography event and a Nifty Nature Nights nature appreciation night. Date: Until Sunday, January 5, 2020

Photo courtesy: NOVA Parks

Bull Run Festival of Lights  

Can’t make it to Meadowlark or prefer to stay warm and cozy? Head to Centreville to experience all the joys of a similar winter walk from the comfort of your car at the Bull Run Festival of Lights, a 2.5 mile stretch of lights displays and sculptures at the Bull Run Regional Park. Driving along the route of sparkling light displays, visitors will see a wide array of Christmas scenes, from Santa and his reindeer, to gingerbread men and snowflake arches. But the festivities don’t stop at the end of the road. Visitors can enjoy a variety of festive and free holiday activities and stock up on merry merchandise at the Holiday Village Carnival. The light show is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Discounts are available on the event website. Date: Until Sunday, January 5, 2020

“The Nutcracker” with the Fairfax Ballet and the Fairfax Symphony

Experience the timeless holiday classic “The Nutcracker” as the Fairfax Ballet dances to Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by the Fairfax Symphony. Enjoy a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies and epic battles between heroic toy soldiers and mischievous mice. Featuring American Ballet Theatre alumni Elina Miettinen and Sean Stewart. Date: Saturday, December 21, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 22, at 4:00 p.m.

Photo courtesy: www.fairfaxband.org

City of Fairfax Band Presents “Christmas in Fairfax”

Every holiday season, the City of Fairfax gives back to the community with the gift of music, and this year is no exception. The City of Fairfax Band, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the Fairfax Choral Society present “Christmas in Fairfax.” The program will feature a wide range of music from cheerful holiday classics to more serious pieces fit for music lovers of all ages. Host John Lyon will return as the night’s emcee, and Santa himself will make an appearance as well! The concert is free, but advance tickets are required. The show will take place at Fairfax High School, located at 3501 Rebel Run. Date: Saturday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Wagon Rides with Santa

You’re in for a jolly time when Santa takes the wheel on the “Wagon Rides with Santa” at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. Enjoy hot cocoa and roast marshmallows by the fire before or after your wagon ride. This program is designed for participants age two to adult and runs this Saturday and Sunday. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on three days:  Register for rides on the half-hour. The cost is $5 per person. A registered adult is required to attend with all registered children. Dates: Saturday, December 21; and Sunday, December 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

First Hike Fairfax

Just in time to burn off those holiday calories comes New Year’s Day and First Hike Fairfax.  On January 1, the Fairfax County Park Authority is joining with America’s State Parks and Virginia State Parks for First Day Hike Programs to encourage everyone to start 2020 with an outdoor hike.

The county has more than 30,000 acres of parkland, and the Park Authority picked out five suggested hikes around the county to get those New Year’s resolutions off to a good start: Huntley Meadows Park in the Mount Vernon area, Riverbend Park in Great Falls, Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, Lake Accotink Park in Springfield, and the Cub Run Stream Valley Trail in Chantilly. And of course there is the Gerry Connolly Cross-County Trail that runs from Lorton to Great Falls.

Click here to learn about hike options and photo contest prizes. Date: Wednesday, January 1.