Exuding small-town charm and revolutionary history, Middleburg is the perfect destination when planning a relaxing Virginia getaway. The town features more than 160 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a great location to learn about one of America's most important historical eras. Known as the “Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital,” the Middleburg Spring Races, Virginia Fall Races, and numerous fox hunts attract visitors from around the globe.
Christmas in Middleburg is one of the top Christmas events in Northern Virginia, and it will take place December 1-3 in Downtown Middleburg. Attendees will encounter a family-friendly Christmas extravaganza complete with a tree lighting, parade, marketplace, and more. The festivities begin with the Tree Lighting Ceremony which includes caroling, hot cider and chocolate, and of course, the lighting of the town tree. Patrons looking to finish their Christmas shopping can purchase a variety of unique and handmade items at the Christmas Market located in the Middleburg Community Center. The famous Middleburg Hunt & Hounds Review will showcase fox hunters and hounds as they make their way down Main Street. All ages will be enamored with the Christmas Parade that includes vibrant holiday floats, music, animals, and more. Fans of libations should head to the Spirits of Middleburg, which features foods, wines, ciders, and spirits made in the community. We interviewed Jim Herbert, Event Organizer, to learn more about this spectacular Christmas celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
JH: The unique live animal nativity pageant at Foxcroft School on Sunday, December 3rd, has been presented annually since 1914. The Hunt Review and Christmas Parade activities have delighted crowds every year since 1979.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
JH: Depending on the weather (since it is mainly an outdoor festival) visitors number from 10,000 to 25,000.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
JH: Christmas in Middleburg is foremost a family event that is very friendly for children, and pets on leashes. Afterwards, the town remains full of couples and groups of singles who stay to enjoy the Spirits of Middleburg.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
JH: The small town feel of an 18th/19th-century village celebrating the joy of the Christmas. Our event is an antidote for the pressured hassles of Black Friday. Nowhere else can visitors experience a full foxhunt and hounds in the morning, and an afternoon parade over a mile long with bands and more animals than Barnum had in the circus.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
JH: Parking in the morning and taking the shuttle into Town allows a family to visit Breakfast With Santa from 8:00 am to 10:30 am. Here, you can enjoy the morning meal, speaking with Santa, and also unique silent auction items. Make sure to get onto the Main Street sidewalk before 11:00 am when the Middleburg Hunt and Hounds come through town. This is a phenomenal sight to see, but be ready, the procession moves past at a brisk pace. Next, there are kids’ activities on North Madison Street like face painting, another chance to visit Santa, a pet show-and-tell, and other things to do. Some families spend time here; others visit shops and boutiques, or the Community Center Craft Fair. Still others go to restaurants and our eclectic outdoor food court of gourmet food trucks. At 2:00 pm, the main Christmas Parade begins, with more than a mile of elements, each one presenting an aspect of the community that we love, and it lasts approximately 75 minutes. Afterwards, some families depart using the shuttle ride back to their cars, a service provided until 6:00 pm. Others stay and experience the hospitality of Middleburg’s cafes, bistros, restaurants, wineries, and the distillery/cidery.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
JH: Local hotel/inn lodging is available (although maybe already sold out) at The Red Fox Inn, Salamander Resort, and the Goodstone Inn. Other hotels within 30 minutes are in Leesburg and Chantilly. There are no special event room blocks for this event. Unique manor homes and cottage rentals are available through Sutton Rentals and Hunt Country Accommodations.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
JH: Christmas in Middleburg is a cherished community festival that welcomes in the Christmas season and keeps it in people’s hearts all year round. It is a collective expression of all that we love about being in the Middleburg community, represented by the Hunt Review and Christmas Parade with more than 80 elements in the lineup. It the most important retail day of the year for Town businesses, but mostly it is a place for residents and visitors to come together in celebration of life and love in the spirit of Christmas.
For more information about Christmas in Middleburg, please visit the event website.