Vespers, a musical service of thanksgiving at Historic St. John’s Church, 2401 East Broad Street, starts the event. Dating to 1741, the St. John’s Church building was the largest structure in the city for many years. In 1775, 120 delegates to the Second Virginia Convention chose Richmond to meet, to escape from the prying eyes of the Capitol of Virginia at Williamsburg. St. John’s church was the largest building in Richmond at that time. Among those serving in the Second Continental Congress were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The legislature was divided on the question of secession from the Crown. It was Patrick Henry’s powerful speech which included the lines: “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death” that united the congress.
Patrick Henry’s speech lit the spark of the American Revolution, by uniting the Congress on the question of sending Virginian Troops to join the American Revolution.
We start the Holiday Weekend on Church Hill in a reflective service of gratitude for our blessings in the space that saw our country’s turning point in our path to freedom.
At the close of the thirty minute Vespers service, the church participants pick up their candles and meet neighbors and friends who have gathered, with candles or lanterns, at the Jefferson Park fountain with the Richmond Pipes and Drum Corps by 7:15pm. They proceed to Patrick Henry Park by 7:30pm.
The Richmond Pipe and Drum Bagpipe band leads the parade through historic gaslit streets to Libby Hill Park. The parade stops at the stone that honors Thomas “Mongo” McMahon, the beloved neighborhood police officer who died protecting our neighborhood.
The parade continues around Libby Hill Park, overlooking the illuminated downtown lights, and ends at the viewshed, where Richmond was named by William Byrd in 1742.
Caroling and Santa
Parade-goers will be led in holiday caroling at Libby Hill Park by a Church Hill favorite musician: Addison Liming. Santa pays a special visit for children of all ages.