Ahh, the holiday glow. You know, the lights – twinkling lights that make everything sparkle and create that once-a-year comforting, luminous glow. If you’re searching for that in a destination, you’ll find it in Clarksville, Tennessee. This historic city 40 miles northwest of Nashville sparkles as millions of lights adorn the city’s Cumberland RiverWalk and downtown city center.
Kicking off the holiday season for Clarksville is the opening of Christmas on the Cumberland, on Tuesday, November 26. Over one million lights in captivating displays illuminate the half-mile walk along the river. Special crafts, dances, choirs and other activities will take plan on December 9 and 16. This free event has become a treasured tradition for residents throughout the region. Christmas on the Cumberland continues through January 1 and is open Sunday-Thursday from 5:00-10:00 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5:00-11:00 p.m. A new addition this year is the Christmas on the Cumberland Light Run, Saturday, Dec. 14 at McGregor Park.
“A Christmas Carol” opens on Thanksgiving evening, November 28, at the Roxy Regional Theatre in the heart of downtown. Charles Dickens’ most recognizable story is a regional favorite. A Christmas Carol sees Ebenezer Scrooge, an affluent curmudgeon who places personal wealth above the happiness and comfort of others, come to understand and show love to others with the help from his visitors, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The special Christmas production runs through Saturday, December 22. For performance dates and times, or to purchase tickets online, visit roxyregionaltheatre.org.
Downtown Commons Winter Ice Rink returns to Clarksville for its third season. Downtown Commons will open for ice skating on Tuesday evening, November 26. Admission for ice skating will be $10 per person, which includes the cost of renting ice skates within a specified time block. The ice rink will be open weekends and other designated times through January 20. For dates and times, visit facebook.com/downtowncommonstn.
Drive-Thru Christmas Lights begins at the Clarksville Speedway on Thanksgiving night, November 28, and continues days through January 1. Enjoy over one mile, and over a million lights, from the comfort of your car. See admission and special discount nights at clarksvillespeedway.com.
Erin’s Farm is ablaze with Christmas activities. The seasons kicks off with WinterFest on Sunday, December 8. The day includes hayrides and hot cocoa, food, activities and crafts for the kids, smore making, and family fun and games. You can also select and cut your own fresh Christmas tree on Friday-Sunday, November 23-December 15. Also during this time, the farm hosts glass blowing workshops where you can blow your own glass ornaments. A gift gallery carries a variety of local artisan produced goods, crafts and artworks. Visit their website at erinsfarm.com for workshop schedules.
The city’s 60th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade begins Saturday, December 7 at 5:00 p.m. Winding its way from Austin Peay State University through historic downtown, the sights and sounds of this event will thrill the young at heart of all ages.
SpiritFest, now in its fourth year, is a pre-parade event that includes a bounty of free activities. Visits with Santa Claus, rides on the Polar Express, inflatables, live music, art and gift markets, food trucks and a live nativity with animals begin at 2:00 p.m. on December 7. Visit fpcclarksville.org/spiritfest_microsite/ for more info on parking and schedules.
More than 20 trees decorate the rooms of the historic Smith Trahern Mansion during Trees of Christmas. Opening Sunday, December 1 from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., each tree in this display is designed and decorated by a local club or organization. The exhibit is open through December 20. Call (931) 648-9998 for details.
Learn how our ancestors celebrated Christmas during the Civil War at A 19th Century Christmas at Fort Defiance Interpretive Center on Saturday, December 14 with two sessions at 3:00p.m. and 5:00p.m. Santa will be on-site to read The Night Before Christmas, and guests will enjoy period refreshments, parlor games, reenactors and caroling. Attendees must register in advance for a 3:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. time.
If you’d simply like to sit back and enjoy the sites, our downtown area restaurants have a picture-perfect seat for you. Enjoy a fresh-from-scratch meal or local brew and enjoy the view of illumination. Start planning your holiday getaway at www.visitclarksvilletn.com or download our handy app to customize your trip.
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Header image by Stephen Schlegel.