Free family Thanksgiving events in Birmingham 2017
Kevin Henderson YouTube

The week of Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends in Birmingham, Alabama. Celebrate with loved ones by attending family-friendly seasonal events kicking off the holiday season in 2017.

Fourth Annual ASF Tree Lighting
Nov. 18 @ 4 p.m.
The State Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Blount Park, Montgomery, AL 36117

Join the fun at the ASF Tree Lighting, a family-friendly event that will include live performances, free carriage rides, hot cocoa, and festive caroling. Santa will be at the event and available for photos. Capitol City Carriage will offer free horse-drawn carriage rides. The festive event will be free, and all are welcome.

The Dixie Jubilee Cluster Dog Show
Nov. 24-26
Garrett Coliseum, 1555 Federal Drive, Montgomery, AL 36109

The AKC sanctioned dog show will be an opportunity to take the family to learn about different breeds of dogs and to watch the competition in the show ring. Admission will be free. Parking will be $5.

Vestavia Hills Holidays and Tree Lighting
Nov. 28 @ 6 p.m.
City Hall, 1032 Montgomery Hwy., Vestavia Hills, AL 35243

The lighting of the official Vestavia Hills holiday tree will be on Nov. 28. There will be several community events in Nov.-Dec., including holiday markets, so check the website for more information.

Christmas Tree Lighting in Hoover
Nov. 30 @ 5 p.m.
Hoover City Hall, 100 Municipal Lane, Hoover, AL 35216

Hoover will kick off the holidays with a free Christmas Tree Lighting, including entertainment by a school choir. Santa Claus will make a grand entrance in a fire truck.

Birmingham Tree Lighting
Dec. 1 @ 6 p.m.
Shain Park, Merrill St., Birmingham, AL 40009

The entire family will have fun at the tree lighting at Shain Park, which will include live caroling, Santa Claus, and the Mayor. You can have photos taken with Santa for a $5 donation, which will support Leader Dogs for the Blind. You can also bring your own camera to take pictures.

Alabama State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting
Dec. 1 @ 5 p.m.
Alabama State Capitol, 600 Dexter Ave., Montgomery, AL 36130

Join the fun at the Alabama State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting in Montgomery. The family-friendly event will feature music from the Alabama National Guard band and the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade in Gadsden
Dec. 1-2
Broad Street, Gadsden, AL 35901

The town of Gadsden will kick off the holidays with the Lighting of the Christmas Tree on Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. The Gadsden Christmas Parade will be held on Dec 2 at 10 a.m.

2017 Holiday Parade
Dec. 3 @ 3 p.m.
Mountain Brook Village, AL 35223

The annual Holiday Parade will be a fun-filled event for the family. The parade will feature holiday floats and the chance to meet Santa Claus.

NOT FREE BUT STILL FUN

Winter Wonderland Railroad Park
Nov. 25-Jan 1 (Closed 12/25)
Railroad Park, 1600 1st Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35233

Railroad Park’s Birmingham will open on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and will be open through New Year’s Day. Take the family ice skating at the rink with a magical, wintry atmosphere. Red Diamond Coffee and Tea and house-made hot chocolate will be for sale in the Boxcar Café. Tickets will be $12/Adults, $10/Children 12 and under. The skating fee will include skate rental.

Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden
Nov. 10-13 & 16-21 @ 5:30 p.m. Walking Nights
Nov. 24-Dec. 31 @ 5:30 p.m. Driving Nights
Huntsville Botanical Garden. 4747 Bob Wallace Ave., Huntsville, AL 35805

Take the family for a walk or a drive through the Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Gardens for a festive holiday event. The Walking Nights will be early in the season. The Driving Nights will start the day after Thanksgiving. Kids and adults will enjoy the larger-than-life animated light displays, including Santa, a winter village, nursery rhyme characters, and a twinkling icicle forest. Admission for Walking Nights $3-$7/person.  Admission for Driving Nights will be $25/carload (up to 10 people).

Let It Snow and Festival of Trees
Nov. 11-Dec. 31 for Festival of Trees, Jan. 31 for Let it Snow
Imagination Place, Hardin Cultural Arts Center, 501 Broad St., Gadsden, AL 35901

The Hardin Center will host Let it Snow, a children’s play area with fake snow made of a non-toxic polymer material. Children will be able to slide down a slide, skate in their socks on a plastic ice rink, and more. The Festival of Trees will display 34 Christmas Trees, decorated with the theme “National Parks and National Monuments.” Admission will be $8/person, Free for children 24 months and under.