Tryon Palace Candlelight Christmas Tradition Returns for 35th Season

Dancers, performers, holiday decorations, fireworks at Tryon Palace Dec. 12 and 19

One of North Carolina’s most beloved and historic holiday traditions will return to Tryon Palace during the 35th annual Candlelight Christmas Celebration. Held 4:30-9:30 p.m. on the Saturdays of Dec. 12 and 19, this year’s event brings the holidays to life with costumed performers, candlelit tours, period dancing and black powder fireworks over the Trent River.

A historic site encompassing homes, gardens and North Carolina’s first permanent capitol building, Tryon Palace uses the grounds to create experiences and vignettes across varying time periods.

Inside the Governor’s Palace, visitors will travel back to 1773 and experience a candlelit ball held for Princess Sophia Carolina Matilda, Marchioness of Waldegrave. Other stops include the Stanly House, where visitors will join the 1814 hunt for an eloping Elizabeth Stanly, and the Dixon House, where Mr. and Mrs. Dixon will use the classic story, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” to put one of their children to bed before heading to a holiday party in 1835. The 20th century will also be represented in the Commission House, where Mr. and Mrs. Mohn will spend a busy evening in 1950 preparing for their children and grandchildren to visit the following day. 

Along with the different eras and scenes portrayed in the Governor’s Palace and historic homes, visitors will experience circus acts, fire eating, sword swallowing, acrobatics, historical interpretations and 18th-century magic tricks from The Pickled Brothers Circus, Signora Bella and Levram the Great.

Historic Interpretations, Inc., a North Carolina-based group of reenactors specializing in living history programs that combine education and entertainment, will host The Tavern at the Sign of the Oak and Acorn – a tavern filled with period dancing, music and family games on the Dixon House lawn during both nights of the annual holiday celebration.

Candlelight will end with black powder fireworks illuminating the night sky over Tryon Palace’s South Lawn.

Tickets to the 35th annual Candlelight Christmas Celebration are currently offered at a discounted rate that will continue through Nov. 30. Tickets may be purchased at Tryon Palace, located at 529 South Front St., New Bern, by phone at 252-639-3524 and online at

Candlelight is a “rain or shine event” but fireworks may be cancelled due to severe weather. All ticket sales are final and nontransferable.