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Susquehanna Life

8 Must-See Holiday Attractions in the Susquehanna Valley

Nov 15, 2017 01:59AM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Christmas Magic – Festival of Lights, York, York County

‘Tis the Season

From lighted walking trails to glimmering shops, one-day festivals to Christmas markets, the holiday spirit is bright across Pennsylvania. Bundle up, hit the road and pursue your holiday glee at charming attractions across the state.

1.     Christmas Magic – Festival of Lights, York, York County 

This half-mile walking trail – accessible to anyone – wanders through a forest nestled on a quiet mountaintop and includes 600,000 Christmas lights, holiday scenes, train displays and more. The event runs through Dec. 31. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


2.     Shadrack Christmas Wonderland; Prospect, Butler County


Billed as the world’s largest drive-through, fully synchronized light and music show of its kind. Featuring hundreds of thousands of environmentally-friendly LED Christmas lights, guests can sync their radio with the show. Shows are held nightly through Jan. 8, 2017.


3.     Winter Lights Spectacular; Schnecksville, Lehigh County

This winter wonderland boasts giant snow globes, “snowballs” for children to toss, and milk and cookies with Santa. 

The event is open Wednesday to Sunday through Jan. 1, 2017, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.


4.     Lemont German Christmas Market, Centre County

Dec. 1 and 2. The 9th Annual German-style “Weihnachtsmarkt,” celebrating Christmas in Lemont, with local crafts, music, bratwursts and treats, beverages and good spirits. Local products and arts and crafts will be offered by 17 vendors in the grain elevator and coal sheds at the Granary in Lemont, 133 Mt. Nittany Road.


5.     Illuminaire Nights, Skippack Village, Montgomery County

Hundreds of candles line the pathways and retail spaces of picturesque Skippack Village and are joined by carolers. 

See the spectacle Fridays November 24 through until Dec. 22.


6.     First Night State College


December 31 - Downtown State College and University Park Campus of Penn State -Ice sculptures decorate fronts of downtown businesses, Mayor Welch Plaza and Sidney Friedman Park. Giant ice walls adorn the 100 block of South Allen Street. Take in a vaudeville show or musical performance. There’s something for every musical taste, from classical to rock, bluegrass, folk and jazz.

Resolution sculptures provide the opportunity to say “out with the old and in with the new!” After grabbing a bite to eat – at a restaurant or from a food vendor – take a carriage ride through downtown! Sign up for the 5K Resolution Run—even more fun if you wear a costume! Or take the CATA White Loop to Pegula Ice Arena for an evening of ice skating! Your First Night button is your ticket to about 30 great performances and other events!

7.     35th Annual Dickens of a Christmas Celebration, Wellsboro

A collection of theatre, music, history, shopping and food.  Community luncheons and breakfasts, live concerts, and captivating tours and shop for the holidays. Nearly 200 vendors line Main Street and there is more indoor shopping throughout the town.  Home-baked goods, wooden toys, ornaments, candles, quilts, furniture and wrought iron sold by merchants, many in Victorian garb. Beef sandwiches and crab cakes, hot soups and cider, and fresh apple dumplings. Churches throughout the town host luncheons and concerts.  Live music plays all weekend long at multiple venues. Victorian actors perform on street corners.  Actors dressed in period costumes delight the crowd.  The Arcadia Theatre hosts music and choirs.  Purchase tickets for a live performance of “A Christmas Carol.”   View model train displays and take a real train excursion Saturday departing from Wellsboro junction.  On Saturday evening, bring a candle and join the Peace Walk.  Trot down main street singing carols, and get ready to light the town Christmas tree.  Santa will be on hand to give out treats to the kids! Admission to the festival is free, but some events require tickets.


8.     Christmas City, Bethlehem

In 1937, The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce started a nationwide letter writing effort to 2,500 Chambers of Commerce asking each to notify their local newspapers of the campaign to make Bethlehem, PA “the Christmas City.” It was suggested that people throughout the country send their Christmas cards to Bethlehem to receive the “Christmas City” cancellation. More than 185,000 pieces of mail inundated the Bethlehem Post Office. 

Today, merchant doors are festively decorated, window displays beckon and a “Live Advent Calendar” has a different merchant come out of the door at the Goundie House on Main Street every night at 5:00 p.m. Christmas-themed walking tours, bus tours and carriage rides. Costumed guides lead the way to museums decorated as they were when the Moravians first walked through these streets in the 1700s and 1800s. And Bethlehem’s Christkindlmarkt is an arts and crafts market modeled after Europe’s open-air holiday marketplaces.

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