This weekend: Hot cocoa wars, holiday kickoffs and exotic animals!

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a look at what’s happening in Hampton Roads this weekend, Nov. 24-26.

After Black Friday, visit shops nearby for Small Business Saturday. Support your neighbors and local shops. Find out more at the link here.

Shop small this Saturday in Hampton Roads

View the complete Living Local Events Calendar at this link. If you don’t see your event listed, please add it to the calendar. Holiday Guide


Grand Illumination At Greenbrier Farms

On Saturday, Nov. 25, Historic Greenbrier Farms will illuminate for the season! The annual event will kickoff the holiday season. Listen to your favorite holiday tunes, drink hot chocolate and be merry while you watch the tree light up. Tree sales begin at 9 a.m. Take free photos with Santa all-day long (make sure to bring your own camera!). The Grand Illumination event runs from 6-8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Exoticon Chesapeake

See exotic animals of all kinds at the Chesapeake Conference Center. The exotic pet expo will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26. There will be reptiles, amphibians, mammals, ferrets, birds and more. Bring your family and friends and see animals up close in this special weekend event. Tickets are sold at the door day-of only with card or cash.


Holiday light displays open this season:

The 9th Annual Great Hot Cocoa War in Downtown Norfolk

Before the competition ends at the end of the week, visit Downtown Norfolk and cast your votes for the best hot chocolate! Each location will offer 4 oz pour for $2 each. Try a variety of creations before 5 p.m. on Nov. 25. Pick up a scorecard on your hot cocoa journey to keep track of your favorite beverage. To vote and see the participating locations, click here.

A Merry Christmas Carol

The Christmas classic is playing at the Wells Theatre. The production begins on Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 24. Preview shows run Nov. 24-26. The official opening night takes place at7:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Click here to purchase tickets for the holiday show.


Winter Wonderland (The Coleman Nursery Collection)

Beginning Nov. 24, visit the Portsmouth Art & Cultural center for this holiday display. The display began at Portsmouth’s Coleman Plant Nursery more than 50 years ago and continues at the center after they shut their doors. See Santa Claus and his elves, ice skates, woodland animals and more in this annual display.

Snow Wonders

Visit the Children’s Museum of Virginia for this snow-filled experience! From Saturday, Nov. 25 through Dec. 30, every Saturday at 6 p.m., enjoy snow flurries at Middle Street Mall right by the Children’s Museum of Virginia. The seasonal fun will last 30 minutes, with holiday music playing and fun all around. This event is free and open to all.


Festival of Lights

The lights are back at Sleepy Hole Park. Enjoy opening weekend for the event’s 4th annual year. The lights will be on from 5 to 9 p.m. Here is the lights schedule, below.

  • Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26

  • Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 30- Dec. 3

  • Daily, Dec. 7-25

  • Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 28-31

<em>Suffolk Festival of Lights (Courtesy: city of Suffolk)</em>
Suffolk Festival of Lights (Courtesy: city of Suffolk)

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact 757-514-7267 or email

Four years of Suffolk’s Festival of Lights

Virginia Beach

Holiday light displays open this season:

Illuminations are taking place around the city Saturday, Nov. 25. Enjoy the lights and holiday celebrations:

Snow Globe Spectacular

Starting Friday, Nov. 24, enjoy holiday lights, musical tree, artistic globes and other festive decor in Town Center. Throughout the holiday, stay tuned for events from live entertainment, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and more.

Planes, Trains and Santa

This weekend, visit the Military Aviation Museum from Nov. 24 to Nov. 26 for the annual holiday season kick off! Be there by 10 a.m. each day to catch Santa arriving at the museum in a vintage airplane (weather permitting). While you take a look at the all the vintage airplanes onsite, don’t miss this special display of trains. Hampton Roads Model Railroad Clubs will provide train experiences. Enjoy holiday-themed crafts like reindeer ornaments and holiday beaded jewelry.

There will be a Toys for Tots collection on-site. If you are able, bring a toy to give Santa and the Marine Corps Reserves. And, make a holiday card for service members. The museum will collect the cards and send them overseas.

<em>Military Aviation Museum’s Planes, Trains and Santa Event. Photo Courtesy of Billy Ficke.</em>
Military Aviation Museum’s Planes, Trains and Santa Event. Photo Courtesy of Billy Ficke.

When kids 13 and under attend with a paid parent or guardian, they can get in for free all weekend long. Those 14 and over will pay regular prices to attend. Admission for museum members is free. Click here to find out more and purchase tickets in advance.

42nd Annual Virginia Beach Christmas Market

The Virginia Beach Convention Center is hosting the annual Christmas Market. From Nov. 24-26, check out all thing Christmas! It will feature over 175 fine artisans and crafters from more than 20 states. View goods like pottery, jewelry, stained glass and more. There will be thousands of Christmas collectibles and more holiday-themed goods. Tickets are required. Children under 6 are free. Click here to purchase tickets.

North Carolina

Elizabeth City

Hot Cocoa Capital Kickoff

After the Elizabeth City Grand Illumination, head over to the Hot Cocoa Capital Kickoff from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in downtown Elizabeth City. The city will become the Hot Cocoa Capital of the World for the season! It will have free hot cocoa, merchandise, hot cocoa displays, live performances and more. The contest will run through Jan. 7.

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