These four not-to-miss Christmas events in and near Georgetown, Ky., will get you ready for Santa!
It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us again, but soon we’ll see tinsel on trees and decorated front yards, as we drive down the road listening to our favorite Christmas carols on the radio. The smell of hot chocolate mingled with candy canes will warm our insides, as we bundle up and head out to enjoy the scenic beauty of a wintery landscape.
Southern Lights Holiday Festival
One of the loveliest towns I’ve visited lately, Georgetown, Ky., is a small hamlet located just up the road from Lexington. The small-town charm is in full swing during the holiday season, as the city works hard to put the happy in your holidays and merry in your Christmas.
One of the first events to light up for the holiday season started Nov. 16 and runs through New Year’s Eve, Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park is an easy 10-minute drive to nearby Lexington. It’s so close to Georgetown, you don’t want to miss the chance to drive through one of the state’s top attractions during this magical season.
This annual event includes 3 miles of drive-through holiday displays, local crafts, model trains and mini train rides, visits with Santa, pony and camel rides, and an exotic petting zoo. From 5:30 to 10 p.m. each night, the Kentucky skies light up as more than 120,000 seasonal visitors line the park to enjoy the festive light displays.
- Monday-Thursday: $15 per car (up to seven people per passenger vehicle)
- Friday, Saturday and Sunday: $25 per car (up to seven people per passenger vehicle)
- Extended van or RV: $35 (up to 15 people)
- There is an additional cost for photos with Santa, pony and camel rides, and festival food.
- You can use a debit/credit card to pay for tickets, but photos with Santa and pony and camel rides are cash only. There is an ATM in the Visitors Center just in case you forget.
- Open rain or shine, but the event does close on occasion due to ice or snow. Our tour group found this out first hand!
Home for the Holidays
Another great way to kick off the holiday season is with Georgetown’s annual “Home for the Holidays” event. If you’ve never been to a small-town tree lighting and parade, you’re missing out! Georgetown does Christmas in a big way, with a huge tree by the courthouse and a holiday parade filled with festive floats and cheery town elves. More than 200 buildings in Georgetown are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, and this is the perfect time to glimpse them when they’re all decked out for Christmas.
During the “Home for the Holidays” open house, you’ll definitely want to stop at the downtown shops and score some deals on special event-related sales and promotions. And for anyone looking for Santa, you’ll find him at the end of the parade, officially welcoming in the holiday season. This year’s “Home for the Holidays” event takes place on Dec 1. You don’t want to miss it!
- This event is free, and no tickets are required.
- There is a small fee if you want to have a photo made with Santa.
- Bring some extra spending money because you’re sure to find some steals and deals at the downtown shops.
The Polar Express
Also located in the Georgetown area is another small town with big holiday spirit. On Dec. 7-8, Sadieville will host its most popular event, the Polar Express in the Sadieville Train Car. Start the night off with cookies and hot chocolate as you visit with Santa and tell him all about your Christmas list. He’s a pretty great guy and takes wish lists no matter what your age! (I might have whispered a few wishes to him myself….)
After your customary photo with Santa, walk across the street and climb aboard the stationary red caboose for a magical reading of the famed book, “The Polar Express.” Cozy up with your family, and get comfy as the narrator brings the story to life. When the adventure is over and you have even more Christmas spirit, Santa himself will greet you and give you your very own Christmas bell. You’ll find yourself whispering “I believe” and ringing your bell long after the night is over. Do you believe?
- Tickets are free, but they are limited and go fast.
- You can pick up tickets on Nov. 26 at the Scott County Public Library.
Candlelight Tour of Ward Hall
The final gem in the lineup of holiday events in the Georgetown area takes place in one of the country’s finest Greek Revival-style mansions. Ward Hall was built for $50,000, all paid in gold. Completed in 1857, this masterpiece of wood and stone will be trimmed for the holidays and illuminated with dozens of candles. Adorned in the 1850s holiday period style, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you wander the halls of this 12,000-square-foot villa.
During these special candlelight tours, which will take place Dec. 7-9 and 14-19, you’ll also hear all about one of Kentucky’s sauciest Southern belles, Sallie Ward. Sallie once hosted lavish balls at Ward Hall, while marrying four millionaires and amassing a fortune while she scandalized polite society.
- Tickets are the same price as regular admission: $7 adults, $5 children 12 and older, free for children younger than 12 years of age.
During our visit to Georgetown last holiday season, we were fortunate to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel. After spending the day driving along snow-covered roads, we were grateful for a nice room and cozy bed. Before we tucked all the kids in bed, though, we enjoyed some time splashing around in the indoor swimming pool. There is also a small bar in the lobby as well as a lovely Christmas tree, perfect for photo ops.
There are plenty of dining options in the area, but we found Josie’s in Georgetown to be a great option for our family. You can build your own salad, build your own pasta, or pick from one of the many other menu items such as a Kentucky Hot Brown or Fried Shrimp Basket. Everything was reasonably priced, and the service was great.
As you can see, the Georgetown area is a perfect destination for a holiday getaway. In fact, it could be the start of a great new tradition for you and your family.
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