If you ever wondered what it would have been like to experience Christmas in the olden times, Thomasville has the perfect festival for you! For a couple of days in early December, our historic downtown transforms itself into a turn-of-the-last-century event known as Victorian Christmas.
There is no better way for your whole family to immerse itself in the sights and sounds of yesteryear while still enjoying the amenities of today. And it’s free to attend—just head downtown!
The Victorian Christmas festival is an annual tradition that started more than 30 years ago, conceived and brought to life by business owners based in downtown Thomasville who wanted to showcase local shops and restaurants. Since its inception, the event has grown in size and scope. The festivities now cover nearly all of the downtown area and the whole town has joined in with schools, churches, and other local organizations contributing to bringing Christmas past into the present day.
Thomasville was incorporated way back in 1831—just before the start of the Victorian Era—and has a rich and layered history. This includes architectural wonders such as the Lapham-Patterson House, a National Historic Landmark built between 1884-1885, along with more than 70 other homes and buildings from the Victorian Era. But during the Victorian Christmas festival, all of Thomasville gets in on the 19th-century act.
What can you expect at Victorian Christmas? A whole lot of fun for people of all ages, for starters! You’ll get to enjoy what you would want from any Christmas celebration, but so much more. Children can get a photo with Santa Claus and the whole family can behold a live nativity scene all while listening to jingling bells underneath sparkling lights. Let the carolers dressed in Victorian attire sing you back to that earlier time. And then hop into a horse-drawn carriage for a ride that will complete the journey! Marvel at musicians, magicians, plein air artists, and other street performers as you immerse yourself in the joys of the season. There’s even an authentic 1890s-style magic lantern show.
But what would a festival be without delicious food? Don’t worry about that! You’ll find more than enough to eat at Victorian Christmas. Enjoy toasted marshmallows or truly embrace the season by sampling roasted chestnuts. All of Thomasville’s many downtown restaurants are open for business during the event and there are outdoor food vendors as well. You won’t leave hungry!
You can come as you are, or feel free to dress up in Victorian-style clothing. Just remember that December nights in Thomasville can get a bit chilly, so you may want to bring an extra cape or frock coat. And then get ready to party like it’s 1899!