One of the biggest events of the Holiday Season is Christmas Candlelight at Tryon Palace. It is the rare chance to travel back in time to witness what Christmas was like in the 18th century. Hailed by Time magazine in its Christmas Top 10, Christmas Candlelight occurs only twice each year: the two middle Saturdays in December, this year on December 11 and 18, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. each evening.
Musicians and colonial entertainers can be found both on the Palace grounds and in the brand new North Carolina History Center. This magical evening is topped off with a spectacular fireworks show on the South Lawn.
At this year’s Christmas Candlelight Celebration, history comes alive in colonial New Bern 1774, on the verge of revolution. In the Governor’s Palace, alight with hundreds of candles and much greenery, Royal Governor Josiah Martin and Mrs. Martin are throwing a grand ball. On this special evening, the Palace is beautifully decorated and filled with fascinating characters, elegant dancers and merry musicians. In the Kitchen Office, the servants in the house have been busy for days preparing for the evening’s entertainment. At the local coffee house behind the Kitchen Office, the recent Continental Congress, tensions in the legislature and other heavy matters are under discussion, along with more lighthearted conversation.
Outside on the Palace grounds, the townspeople of New Bern have turned out to see the great folk arrive at the Palace and celebrate these festive events in their own way. Governor Martin has employed circus performers, musicians and other entertainment to provide merriment for his guests and the townspeople, including a fireworks display at the end of the evening. On the grounds behind the Palace, the local militia also have duty on their mind, as they drill and practice. From Palace dancing to political debates, this evening of pleasantries brings alive a pivotal time in our nation’s history.
Tours of the Governor’s Palace and site are scheduled on the hour, although there’s also plenty of other celebration on site and in the North Carolina History Center, where there are ongoing performances and activities for the whole family, as well as holiday shopping at the new Museum Store and dining at Lawson’s Landing Café. No admission is required for the Store and Café.
Tickets for Christmas Candlelight at Tryon Palace are $20 adults and $10 students (grades 1-12). It is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., at the North Carolina History Center, 529 S. Front St. (at Metcalf) in New Bern; or by calling 252-639-3524.
For a complete list of all the Many Days of Christmas at Tryon Palace events and activities, please visit us online at or call 800-767-1560.
Submitted by: Trish Ashburn, Marketing and Communications Manager, Tryon Palace, 800-767-1560 or 252-639-3500.