Watch the Great Tree Light Up Blue Ridge for Christmas!

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Elf hats, jingle bells, and festive tunes alert the North Georgia mountains for Light Up Blue Ridge — an annual event to kick off YOUR memorable Blue Ridge Christmas. Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this merry occasion leads up to the ceremonial lighting of the Great Tree in downtown Blue Ridge. But before lights twinkle and oohs and ahhs abound, there’s tons of family-friendly fun to enjoy! 

Harken to holiday performances, take pictures with Santa himself, wander through Gingerbread Village, watch real reindeer star in the parade, sip rich hot cocoa, and oh-so-much more. You can also attend Blue Friday the day before the main event for shop discounts, live music, and festive food. Make plans for a joyful start to the Christmas season with loved ones in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Lighting of the Great Tree

As the main event, the lighting of the beautifully decorated Great Tree is a spectacular sight to behold. Light Up Blue Ridge welcomes families and friends to watch the magnificent tree sparkle right after the Christmas parade around 7:00 p.m. 

Waiting with hot chocolate in hand and your child or grandchild on your shoulders will certainly put you in a merry mood. And say a prayer for drifting North Georgia snow that evening — a gorgeous sight to see surrounding the gigantic tree covered in Christmas lights!

Pictures with Santa Claus

Ready to get your holiday portrait with the whole family, including your dog? Snap a photo with Santa Claus in the gazebo. He will arrive at noon and leave at 4:15 p.m., so be sure to line up as soon as possible to secure your spot. Consider dressing up like elves, wearing antler headbands, or dolling up in your best holiday sweater for more fun. 

Worried you’ll line up too late to visit Santa? Just in case, he’ll pay a quick visit to the children who were in line prior to 4:15 p.m. Please note he must leave by 4:30 p.m. (no exceptions) to have time to fill his belly with cookies and milk before appearing in the parade and signaling the Christmas tree lighting.

Letters to Santa

Even if you miss photos with Santa or just don’t feel like queuing up, you can stop by Santa’s Mailbox so the little ones can write a wishlist and receive a handwritten letter in the mail later! This will be available between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Blue Ridge Christmas Parade 

Many Blue Ridge events feature fun downtown parades with floats, music, animals, characters, and performers — including Light Up Blue Ridge! This festive Christmas parade often features live reindeer, Rudolph and classic holiday characters, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and walkers with holiday treats! 

The parade will start at 5:30 p.m. at Church Street, running down East Main 

Street. It will continue left onto Mountain Street, then left onto West Main Street, and end at Depot Street.

Live Entertainment for Happy Holidays

Enjoy in-person holiday entertainment at Light Up Blue Ridge in North Georgia! 

  • Tuba Christmas — noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Strolling performers on East Main Street — noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Main stage performances on Depot Street — noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Tri-State Community Band — 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Festive Foods

Refuel with festive refreshments at this North Georgia holiday event in Blue Ridge. Munch on cinnamon sugar glazed donuts, freeze-dried cheesecake bites, peppermint Christmas nougats, candied pecans, and fresh-popped kettle corn. Plus, there will be food trucks and tents serving scrumptious meals, like made-to-order quesadillas, rice bowls, pasta, and nachos!

Previous Vendors & Food Trucks

  • Candy Rush USA
  • Mables Snow Shack
  • Mountain Kettle Corn
  • My Pop Pops Nuts
  • Nana’s House 

2023 Light Up Blue Ridge Details


Nov 25, Sat — noon to 7:15 p.m. 
Note: this Christmas festival will continue rain or shine!


  • Live Entertainment — noon to 5:00 p.m.
  • Pictures with Santa — noon to 4:15 p.m.
  • Letters to Santa — 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Christmas Parade — 5:30 p.m.
  • Lighting of the Great Tree — 7:00 p.m.

Holiday Discounts & Gingerbread Village — Bonus Events!

Gingerbread Village — Nov 20 – Dec 17

Local artisans and home crafters enter the annual gingerbread house contest in Blue Ridge. This year, we can expect to see around 65 gingerbread houses — creating Gingerbread Village! Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, this event starts at noon on Nov 20, selects a winner on Nov 24, and displays these beautiful creations through Dec 17.

Hours to view Gingerbread Village coincide with the open hours of the art center (typically 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Tue-Sun).

Blue Friday — Nov 24

Just before Light Up Blue Ridge on Saturday, pop into downtown Blue Ridge for Blue Friday on November 24. Take advantage of early opens, late closes, and loads of Blue Friday deals! Enjoy Christmas caroling and holiday characters wandering around downtown. There will also be horse and carriage rides, food vendors, plus activities for kids in the park. 

Discounts last all day; activities typically start around noon. 

A Blue Ridge Cabin for Christmas

One of the best ways to spend Christmas in North Georgia is to stay in a cozy cabin rental! Our Blue Ridge cabins come in all shapes and sizes to suit the wants and needs of your Appalachian vacation. Plus, many of our mountain cabins are decorated for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving — just in time for Light Up Blue Ridge! 

Amenities vary and include wood-burning, electric, or gas fireplaces, outdoor firepits or fire tables, screened decks with mountain views, king suites, garden tubs, hot tubs, game rooms, wet bars, and full kitchens. Whether you want to bring the whole family (including your fur babies), a group of friends, or just your partner, you’ll find holiday cheer at our Blue Ridge cabin rentals!

Plan YOUR holiday season getaway with Georgia Cabins for YOU and make memories at Light Up Blue Ridge this year.