The Spirit of the Holidays in Occoquan

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By Erin Pittman

Sponsored by the Town of Occoquan

Nothing gives you that holiday feel like strolling decorated streets, warming up by cozy fires, roasting marshmallows and finding perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Experience all of this and more during Occoquan’s HolidayFest now through Dec. 12.

Holiday Artisan Market

The town is fittingly festive, and the tree is lit and ready for admirers. HolidayFest is set to be fun for the whole family. The Holiday Artisan Market on Dec. 4 and 5 in River Mill Park will wow shoppers with a magical shopping experience. Visitors can shop from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Santa will warm hearts, and shoppers can warm up by the toasty fire pits. Roast some marshmallows, sip hot chocolate, listen to talented singers filled with holiday cheer and, of course, shop the special artisan tents. Free shuttle service will be available from the commuter lot at 123 and Old Bridge Road. Admission to the Holiday Artisan Market is free.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Kids — both young and young at heart — will delight in a special visit from Santa Claus during the Holiday Artisan Market. He’ll arrive by boat — Occoquan IS a river town, after all —at the town dock at Mamie Davis Park on Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. Families are invited to escort him to River Mill Park where he will visit with kids of all ages and share stories and songs from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday. (Rumor has it he may also make a special appearance to roast some marshmallows between 4 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 4!)

Letters to Santa

If you can’t make it to sit on Santa’s knee this weekend, drop your letter to Santa in the town’s special North Pole mailboxes at Town Hall (314 Mill St., Occoquan) or Hitchcock Paper Co. (125 Mill St,, Occoquan). If you include a return address, Santa will send a personalized letter back!

Gingerbread House Contest

Are you itching to get in the spirit now? Start planning your holiday gingerbread house! Occoquan is hosting their annual Gingerbread House Contest where the winners in each category will receive $50 of Occoquan gift cards. Use your imagination (and your gingerbread!) to build anything from a simple cottage to an elaborate historic reproduction of the town. Bring your creation to the tent at the entrance to River Mill Park on Saturday, Dec. 4 between 9 and 11 a.m. The community will vote on their favorites all day on Dec. 4.

A Christmas Carol

The Town of Occoquan is also hosting a festive staged reading of A Christmas Carol in River Mill Park, featuring Castaways Repertory Theatre. Seatings will be at 3 and 5 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 12. Buy your tickets online: $5 for adults/youth, ages 12 and under are free. Tickets are also available at the door.

Get Started Sooner and Shop Small This Weekend

Shoppers don’t have to wait until HolidayFest to experience the unique boutiques and tasty restaurants in town. This weekend, Nov. 26 to 28, is the perfect time to get a jump on your holiday shopping at some of the best #shopsmall boutiques and retailers around. The town is even sweetening the experience with their Shop, Dine, and Win Occoquan Passport event, going on now through December 12. Shop and dine at your favorite Occoquan businesses for a chance to win gift cards.

Start your season off with cheer, creativity and one-of-a-kind gifts in Occoquan. Go to for a complete holiday schedule.




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