Downtown Richmond lights up for 33rd annual Grand Illumination

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thousands of people filled the James Center in downtown Richmond Friday for the 33rd Annual Grand Illumination.

Crews spent months preparing for the annual event by hanging thousands of lights and setting out nearly 100 reindeer to help kick off the holiday season in style.

Marketing Director Kimberly Carter said she has been making the Grand Illumination happen for the past 15 years.

“Every year I wanted it bigger and better and grander,” she said. “But honestly, we like that it’s a local Richmond tradition.”


Carter said every two years they re-wrap the reindeer and paint them white again. She said many of their reindeer are between 20- and 25-years-old.

“This incredible surprise that you won’t be able to see from the ground and it may or may not happen,” Carter said. “I really almost don’t want to say anything because we got men on the scaffolding right now, trying to make more lighting happen for this event.”

8News will be on the move this Friday, bringing you the news where you live LIVE from the James Center beginning at 5 p.m.

The Grand Illumination celebration happened from 5:50 p.m. to 7 p.m. 8News took part of the festivities, bringing the news of the day live from the James Center before counting down to the illumination.

“If you leave with a sense of peace and community, I think that will be a super message to take away,” Carter said.

Click here for more information about this year’s event.


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