Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grand Illumination

On Friday night, we kicked off our Christmas season by going downtown to the 25th Annual Grand Illumination of the James Center. This awesome event is when they flip the switch to turn on the Christmas lights for all of downtown Richmond. Not only is every building in the downtown area trimmed with lights, the grounds have tons of decorations with hundreds of lit up deer, snowflakes in every tree, and a huge Christmas Tree.
When we arrived, we were able to find space right up front near Santa and the Christmas Tree to see the official lighting. As you can see from the videos below, it is really amazing.

video from our vantage point:

video from the local news:

The girls were very well behaved even though we stayed out late and there were tons of people. After the lighting, we worked our way around to see the large model train set in the McGuire Woods building, the Nutcracker characters inside the Omni Hotel, and Radio Disney's booth. We also ran into 2 families from law school. It was great to visit with them.

Then we jumped in the car to go to the Main Street Station Christmas Open House. Main Street Station is the historic train station downtown that was recently restored to its former glory. When we lived in MD and would drive down I-95 to visit family in NC, Ashley always commented on how much she loved this building but never knew what it was. The freeway runs right up next to the top of the clock tower.From there, we walked over to the Farmer's Market Christmas Night. It was getting late, but this was the most fun of the night. The crowd was not the regular family-oriented group we are used to, but it was some groovy, kitschy, hippy fun that made me glad to be living near a diverse city. The girls loved dancing to live jazz music with the multi-racial Santa and Mrs. Claus. They were amazed by the hula hooper that um... had great moves for uh... hula hooping, among other potential activities. The girls never even noticed the two homeless men who had enjoyed too much of their own special holiday "spirits."

It was a great evening together as a family and helping us jump start our holiday.


  1. I have to agree with Mit, that is quite a jaunty hat. It make me want to sing "Step in time, step in time..."

    What a fun city activity!

  2. I too think it is a jaunty hat! Look at you! Also, I love your cute daddy voice in the video!

    Also... just a note for your future posting... try to change your posting date to the current time and date that you are doing it for. I didn't even notice you had a new post because my blog gives it to me by most recent... and then when you post like 2 days behind, I don't see it.

  3. "Jaunty"? That is quite the SAT word for all yous elite west coaster. This unedumacated southerner had to look it up.