By Dana Smith at 13News Now

Christmas lights and larger-than-life decorations are popping up at the Beach City.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Town Center is welcoming its first-ever “Grand Illumination” this Friday!

Christmas lights and larger-than-life decorations are popping up at the Beach City. Event organizers say they’re planning a huge outdoor party featuring live performances, free food and drinks, dinner deals at restaurants in the area, and even a visit from Santa himself.

Jeanne Evans, the executive director of the Central Business District Association, is helping coordinate the event.

“This is our first ever Grand Illumination,” Evans said. “There’s something going on at every single moment of the evening until about nine o’clock.”

The family-friendly event kicks off at 5 p.m. and event organizers promise an evening full of entertainment and – of course – lights.

“Free clam chowder for everyone from Legal Seafood, [free] hot chocolate from the Royal Chocolate, lots of entertainment,” Evans said. “Every one of the globes here at the fountain plaza come alive with entertainment – we have ballerinas, tap dancers, princesses, even a yo-yo champion. All night long, there’s something going on.”

The event starts with the Hurrah Players’ famous “holiday kick line.” If you don’t want to miss Santa and Mrs. Claus’ grand arrival, you should get there before 6 p.m.

It’s something of a holiday tradition for many cities: Colonial Williamsburg has one of its own and who could forget the dazzling parade and light display at Norfolk’s Grand Illumination? Well, now it’s the Beach City’s time to shine.

“It’s Virginia Beach’s time! Norfolk’s event is wonderful but we have Town Center and we’re going to light it up,” Evans said.

To accommodate the big party, temporary road closures will be in effect.

“We’re going to have some temporary road closures while the Santa sleigh arrives and comes to the front of the plaza,” Evans said. “Central Park Avenue and Main Street but very temporary and our Virginia Beach Police Department are going to take care of that and keep everyone safe.”

Something for families to keep in mind: there is free parking at Virginia Beach Town Center on the street and in any of the parking garages.

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Councilwoman Dr. Amelia Ross Hammond are helping to host the celebration.

Evans said holiday entertainment will take place at Town Center every weekend leading up to Christmas. The week of Christmas, entertainment will happen every night. You can get more details at