top of page
HolidayFest Logos 2023 no background.png

Annual Town Tree Lighting & Pop-Up Market

Saturday, November 18

Pop-Up Market - 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

New this year! Ellicott Street to River Mill Park will be flowing with vendors for a fun and festive pop-up market. We are looking forward to not only welcoming some new faces to our busy Shop Late Saturday shopping experience, but also to expanding our footprint for our popular annual Tree Lighting event that evening.

Sip & Stroll - 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Visitors may enjoy an adult beverage from participating Occoquan restaurants as they walk and shop through town.

S'mores at the Park - 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Before and after the Tree Lighting, enjoy roasting marshmallows at the Pop-Up Market near the Mill House Museum. Marshmallows for roasting are free. Hot cocoa, hot cider, plus s'mores kits can be purchased onsite.

Tree Lighting - 6:00 p.m.

It's the big event! Join us in front of Town Hall for our annual holiday tree lighting. Mayor Earnie Porta will officiate this time honored tradition, as Occoquan residents and visitors gather to kick off the holiday season. 


Shop Late - until 8:00 p.m.

Shop Occoquan and enjoy the first day of HolidayFest! When you #shopsmall and #shoplocal, you're supporting your neighborhood artists, shop keeps, restaurant owners and their hardworking staff. Businesses are busy curating unique holiday selections just for you and several will be open until 8:00 p.m. or later!

Photo of the annual town tree lighting
Photo of people roasting marshmallows over fire pits

Shop, Dine, & Win! Contest

November 18 - December 3

Shop and dine at your favorite Occoquan businesses for a chance to win $100 in Occoquan business gift cards! Over $1,500 in gift cards to specific Occoquan businesses will be awarded.

How to play:

  • Spend $10 or more at six (6) different participating businesses.

  • Receive a stamp from the business on the official form (pick one up at a participating business).

  • Return form to the red mailbox at Town Hall (314 Mill Street) by Sunday, December 3 at 5:00pm ET OR submit via mail to Visit Occoquan, PO Box 661, Occoquan, VA 22125 (postmarked by Friday, December 1, 2023).

  • You can enter more than once!

Participating businesses:


Art a La Carte Gallery

Artists’ Undertaking Gallery

Ballywhack Shack


Earth Addictions

Forever Young

Gift & Gather

Glory Be

Hitchcock Paper Co.

Jerry’s Occoquan Jewelers

Leaf & Moss

Leaf & Petal

Local Colour

Madigan’s Waterfront

Mill St. Draft Garden

Occoquan Optical

Paint Your Heart Out

Potomac Chocolate

Puzzle Palooza

So Bohemian

The Loft Gallery

The Occoquan Outfitter

The Spot on Mill Street

VanEch Studio


Email squares_ShopDineWin-Post.png

Winners drawn Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at Winners will have their gift certificates mailed to the address on their entry form. All prized gift certificates expire March 31, 2024.


One stamp per store, per day. Multiple forms may be submitted. Only one prize per person. Must be 18 years or older to win. Gift certificates have no cash value. Gift certificates may only be used at the business listed on the certificate. Occoquan businesses and their immediate families are not eligible to win. Addresses collected are not shared or sold. Participants can unsubscribe at any time. Per Virginia code, participants may submit one free entry by downloading a form and mail it to the Visit Occoquan, PO Box 661, Occoquan, VA 22125 (postmarked by Friday, December 1, 2023).

Shop Small Weekend

November 24-26

Get a jump on (or finish up) your holiday shopping at the best #shopsmall boutiques and retailers in the area! Occoquan merchants will have unique offerings of home decor, clothing, gourmet food, fine art, beauty, chocolates, jewelry, stationery, and of course gifts for all ages.

See of list of town businesses here!

Photo of a decorated holiday tree in a shop

Artisan Market 

December 2-3


Each year, Occoquan dresses up for the holidays! You’ll think you’ve walked onto the set of a winter wonderland Hallmark movie. This year, visiting Occoquan becomes a magical holiday shopping experience as our Holiday Artisan Market extends to Mill Street!


Join us for a Holiday Artisan Market on December 2 & 3 when 100 artisans and craft persons will offer original, handmade work in a full range of media. From handmade bath and body products, candles, gourmet food products and home décor to fine art and jewelry, you are sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list–and maybe something for yourself too. 

  • Saturday, December 2 from 11am-7pm

  • Sunday, December 3 from 11am-4pm

HolidayFest Logos 2023 - Version3-01.jpg

Gingerbread House Contest


Build a fun gingerbread creation and enter it to win $50 in gift cards!


You are cordially invited to enter Occoquan's fourth annual Gingerbread House Contest! Use your imagination and gingerbread to build anything from a simple cottage to an elaborate historic reproduction.


Entries should have entrant info attached and submitted in person on Saturday, December 2 at the entrance to River Mill Park between 9:00-11:00am. A special tent will be decorated for these deliveries and the community will be invited to vote for their favorites. 


Voting for this community contest will take place:

  • Saturday, December 2 from 11:00am-5:00pm

  • Sunday, December 3 from 11:00am-3:30pm


  • Traditional Gingerbread: Any structure is allowed in this category, i.e. Victorian, colonial, modern, house, barn, cottage, etc.

  • Authentic Reproduction of a Structure in Occoquan: Pay tribute to the town and recreate a magical reproduction of a building within Occoquan’s historic district. Your display must include a picture of the real thing.

  • Gingerbread Creations/Youth: Combine your favorite candy and delicious edibles to design your gingerbread house! Graham crackers are acceptable in this category. (There are no age restrictions in any category, but this category was designed for the younger set to be able to enter and compete.)


Winners will be announced on Sunday, December 3 at 3:45pm via Facebook Live.

Photo of a gingerbread house
Photo of a gingerbread house
Photo of a gingerbread house

The Occoquan Express


The Town of Occoquan and Visit Occoquan are pleased to offer FREE shuttle bus service during busy times this holiday season. It's our way to make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier.


Extra dates and times to be announced soon!​


Strollers and service animals are welcome on the shuttle.

Where to Park


Head to the VDOT Commuter Lot at the corner of Rt. 123 and Old Bridge Road. The shuttle will run roughly every 20 minutes, depending on traffic.


Photo of a shuttle bus

Letters to Santa

November 18 - December 15

Drop your letter to Santa in our special North Pole mailboxes at Town Hall (314 Mill St, Occoquan, VA) or Hitchcock Paper Co. (125 Mill St, Occoquan, VA). If you include a return address, Santa will send a personalized letter back!


Free coloring and fill-in Santa letters with envelopes will be available to kids of all ages. On the weekends, kids can fill out and decorate their letters at Hitchcock Paper Co. and drop it in the mailbox on site.


Photo of santa claus hugging a young girl
bottom of page