What To Do: Events fun and solemn to celebrate the holidays

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

The March to Valley Forge.

The holiday spirit is in the air and Christmas events are everywhere. Over the next week or so, you can head in any direction and find a holiday event to attend — and maybe even a few events that are not holiday-related.

On December 19 from 6-8 p.m., Valley Forge National Historical Park (Route 23, Valley Forge, 610-783-1099, www.nps.gov/vafo) is presenting its annual March-In. The event commemorates a major happening in the American Revolution — the arrival of the Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1777.

Visitors to the park can join living history interpreters for candlelight tours and a “march” to up to Muhlenberg’s Brigade. There will be demonstrations of camp life by historical re-enactors along with park staff and volunteers. The candlelight tours are a quarter-of-a-mile and the camp life demonstrations are outside so attendees should dress for weather conditions of the day.

There will also be a lot of activity in the Visitor Center which will be open all evening. There will be performances by the Colonial Revelers singing group and free refreshments.

Visitors will be able to meet General Washington, warm up around a campfire, watch a historic chocolate making demonstration and sample an 18th-century hot chocolate recipe featuring American Heritage Chocolate.

Those attending Monday’s event will also be able to take a walk beyond the company street to get a first chance to experience the newly-refurbished Fort John Moore/Redoubt #2, an earthen fortification which would have been built by the army to help protect the encampment against a possible British attack.

This event is weather dependent so check the park website, Facebook, or call 610-783-1000 for cancellation notices.

The Santa Band

The annual “Christmas Stroll Around the Town with The Santa Band” (downtown West Chester, 610-692-6550, www.safeharborofgwc.org) is slated for December 15 with participants scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. outside of Iron Hill Brewery.

The Santa Band is a local West Chester group of musicians who have acquired a loyal following by playing holiday music and spreading cheer in local establishments during the holiday season.

With no signs of slowing down, the Santa Band has been doing its holiday celebration around West Chester for 43 years. The group, which is raising money for Safe Harbor, is seeking strollers to follow the band. There is no cost to follow the band but you will need some cash if you wish to buy one of the Santa hats that will be available for purchase during the stroll.

The Christmas Snacktackular at Herr’s.

The time for the annual holiday event at Herr’s Snack Food Factory (20 Herr Drive, Nottingham, 610-932-9330, www.herrs.com) has arrived. “Christmas Snacktacular,” which is scheduled to run from 5-8 p.m. on December 21, features a variety of activities nightly. The area around the factory site will be illuminated with thousands of lights and holiday displays.

“Christmas Snacktacular,” which is free and open to the public, will have hayrides and other outdoor activities. Santa Claus will be on hand to meet with the kids and there will be a special appearance by Starr the Reindeer.

Christmas at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is in full holiday mode with its annual presentation of “A Longwood Gardens Christmas.”

The festive holiday display at Longwood Gardens, which is continuing through January 8, features spectacular lights, lavish decorations, holiday music and colorful displays featuring thousands of brilliant poinsettias, brightly-decorated trees and fragrant flowers — all inside the heated Conservatory.

The colorful annual event, which appeals to the entire family, also has a lot of outdoor attractions such as fountain shows and nighttime light displays. Longwood’s Christmas celebration also includes a wide array of seasonal music — holiday concerts, organ sing-alongs and carillon performances. There will also be performances by choirs and musicians evenings through December 20.

When darkness arrives at Longwood, a night-blooming garden of more than a half-million lights strung on close to 100 trees with approximately 40 miles of wire comes to life. A carillon with 62 cast bells plays holiday music every half hour during daylight hours. Longwood’s Open Air Theatre fountains dance to holiday music each half hour — temperature permitting.

As always, admission by “Timed Ticket” — tickets issued for specific dates and times. Timed ticketing limits the number of people in the Gardens at any given time and allows guests to enjoy minimal lines and a better viewing experience. There are different prices for “Peak” and “Off Peak” times.

Visitors to “A Longwood Gardens Christmas” can also check out Longwood’s Garden Railway — a whimsical display set into motion with G-scale model trains. This is the 15th year that the railway has delighted visitors with special water features and custom trains traveling in and out of bridges and tunnels.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 (non-peak), $30 (peak) for adults, $20/$27 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and $12/$16 for students (ages 5-18).

A fun but cold way to celebrate the holidays is to go on a “Holiday Hayride” at Arasapha Farm (1835 Middletown Road, Gradyville, 610-459-2944, www.holidayhayride.com).

Guests will ride on sound-equipped hay wagons through a six-acre holiday wonderland featuring huge light displays, decorated trees and buildings, a variety of Christmas scenes, live reindeer and a beautifully animated Santa’s workshop. The hayride last about 20 minutes and is choreographed with all the favorite songs of the season.

After the wagon ride, guests are encouraged to gather around the bonfire to enjoy hot beverages. There also will be opportunities to have pictures taken with Santa and check out the live nativity scene that features real animals and actors. And, kids can take a ride on the Arasapha Express — a kiddie train ride through light displays and tunnels.

Arasapha Farm is featuring its “Holiday Hayride” now through December 23 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night — weather permitting. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children (ages 2-8). Train ride tickets are $5. Pictures with Santa are $15.

“Christmasland at Linvilla,” which is a colorful winter wonderland at Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com), is running now through December 23.

Visitors will be able to cut their own Christmas trees, or, if not so inspired, purchase them at the shop — which also features other decorations, including holiday wreaths. Christmasland features freshly-cut trees, greens and holly, poinsettias, hand-made wreaths and a large variety of children’s toys and collectables.

Santa and his elves will be stopping by every Saturday and Sunday to visit his friends in Christmasland from 1-3 p.m. And, there will be caroling Hayrides Saturday evenings in December that include the ancient tradition of Wassailing, singing Christmas Carols around a campfire and roasting marshmallows.

When December draws to a close each year, the Kimmel Center (300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.org) celebrates the holidays with its “Free at the Kimmel Series.”

Tuba Christmas at The Kimmell Center

The showcase event of the “Free at the Kimmel Series” each year is always “Tuba Christmas.” This year, it will be presented on December 18.

The annual “Tuba Christmas” celebration has been such a success, the Kimmel has opted to present two performances that will feature as many as 100 local tuba, sousaphone and euphonium players who gather, rehearse and perform holiday classics — all in the same day. Performances are scheduled for noon and 5:30 p.m.

Other free events will be the “ShowStoppers Winter Review,” which will be held on December 16 at 7:30 in the Perelman Theater and “Creative Music Program’s Sixth Annual Winter Concert” at 6:30 p.m. on December 20 at the SEI Innovation Studio. ShowStoppers is the Kimmel Center’s free after-school musical theater education program focusing on theater arts, voice, and dance.

Another “Free at the Kimmel” holiday shows will be “New Year’s Day Celebration!” on January 1 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

While the Mummers are strutting down Broad Street, visitors can take a break and ring in the New Year at the Kimmel Center. The event features great parade views, free performances and kids’ activities, sneak peeks of Verizon Hall and Perelman Theater and making marks on the Kimmel Center’s “Resolution Wall.”

Free stage performances will be presented by The Glorious Sounds, Karen Smith and Weez the Peoples, Korey Riker, Drew Nugent and The Midnight Society and the Broadway Dreams Foundation.

Other free events on New Year’s Day will be “PNC Grow Up Great” at 11 a.m. and Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ demonstration at 1 p.m.

“Grow Up Great” introduces kids to the vibrant world of musical theater where singing, acting, and dancing join forces to tell a story. Exciting guest artists will perform songs from the canon of great American musicals.

Kids will be able to sing along to recognizable classics and go home singing some brand-new tunes. This lighthearted program encourages kids and parents to explore their creativity as singing snowflakes, ducklings, shooting stars, and everything in between.

The Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ demonstration will start with a 15-minute organ demonstration of the instrument’s unparalleled and dramatic sounds live in Verizon Hall. Then, talented volunteers will show visitors around.

On December 18, the Gershman Y (401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-545-4400, http://www.gershmany.org) is presenting its 14th Annual Latkepalooza from 2-4 p.m.

This nationally-renowned blend of culture and cuisine has become a much-loved annual tradition and one of the Gershman Y’s signature events. Hundreds of foodies of all ages bask in potato paradise as chefs from Philadelphia’s top restaurants offer their own creative take on the latke (potato pancake).

This year, the latkes will be made by the following restaurants – Circles Thai, Estia, Frankford Hall, Jones, Kanella, Mission Taqueria, Sabrina’s Cafe, and Tria Taproom — with sufganiyot (donuts) by Federal Donuts and beverages by Canada Dry Delaware Valley Bottling Company.

General admission includes 10 latkes, children ages 2-12 get 7 latkes, and toddlers under age 2 enjoy a trio of latkes.

Other special attractions include live music by Kids Corner favorites The Plants along with children’s crafts, face-painting, and balloon artistry.

Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 2-12).

The Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle

Visitors are invited to experience the magic of the holidays at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival (Franklin Square, Sixth and Race streets, Philadelphia, www.historicphiladelphia.org). Now through December 31, there will be an amazing display of lights at the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show.

Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s electrifying genius, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show features more than 50,000 lights that shimmer, dance, and illuminate the Square to a soundtrack of holiday classics performed by The Philly POPS in two alternating shows every 30 minutes.

The festival will also offer comfort food, authentic German beers, and hot beverages at Ben’s Bites & Brews and gift shopping at the Holiday Market.

“Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Broad and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215-391-3017, www.philachristmas.com) is a free outdoor holiday market event that captures the vibe of the traditional European Christmas markets. Christmas Village in Philadelphia will have a new home in the City Hall Courtyard and Northern Apron. The attraction is modeled after traditional German Christmas Markets.

At the Village in Philadelphia, vendors selling traditional European food, sweets and drinks are set up in 80 wooden booths and timber houses that form a medieval village. They will also offer a unique shopping experience with international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry and high-quality arts and crafts.

At the center of the market, an ornate and grand old-time carousel will be operating to give children of all ages a new holiday tradition while visiting the authentic German Christmas Market. The carousel features 20 wood-carved horses that will twirl around for an unforgettable view of the new market inside City Hall’s courtyard.

If you opt to travel west instead of heading into Philadelphia for holiday attractions, you’ll find plenty of interesting Christmas events in Lancaster County.

Christmas at Wheatland, home of James Buchanan.

A popular annual holiday event in the Lancaster area is Yuletide at Wheatland (President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, 1120 Marietta Avenue, Lancaster, 717-392-4633, http://www.lancasterhistory.org/events/yuletide-at-wheatland).

Visitors are invited to join LancasterHistory.org for a historical performance that captures a moment in time and takes them back to the holiday of 1867 when President James Buchanan celebrated the holidays with friends and family at his beloved Wheatland.

A letter reveals, “Soon after the sprightly and agreeable Miss Emily Baker arrived, she asked Old Bucks permission to organize and hostess a holiday party. Mr. Buchanan found her offer delightful…

Now, Wheatland and lancasterHistory.org are teaming up to present a festive way to celebrate a Lancaster Victorian Christmas!

Performances run Fridays and Saturdays now through December 30 (daily from December 26-30) and are limited to 20 visitors each performance.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children (ages 6-13) and free for children (5 and under).

Another Lancaster County attraction is “Magic Lantern Show: A Victorian Christmas” at the Amish Experience Theater at Plain & Fancy Farm (3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, 717-768-8400, http://amishexperience.com/magic-lantern-shows/christmas-show).

Visitors are taken back in time and become part of a Victorian family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration. The family is very excited as Grandpa tells fabulous Christmas stories with the help of the amazing Magic Lantern.

The surprises and joys of the season are brought to visual delight with this collaboration between the Amish Experience and the American Magic Lantern Theater featuring classic Christmas stories and poems.

The presentation includes sing-alongs and a narrator delivering iconic stories and poems like “The Night Before Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol” with stunning visual images, heartfelt music and legendary storytelling.

New in 2016 is the rarely seen or performed Dickens tale of “Gabriel Grub and the Goblins,” a precursor to the story of Scrooge. It will be shown with rare antique images recently secured from England.

Tickets are $16.95 for adults and $11.95 for children (ages 4-12).

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) has its holiday show running now through December 30.

The AMT’s 2016 show “Winter Wonderland” is an all-new presentation of favorite sacred and secular holiday songs performed by professional artists from across the country. The show will feature spectacular vocal harmonies, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing and the music of the AMT Orchestra.

Also featured will be elaborate scenery, elegant costumes and a theater decked out with holiday decorations.

The show will have both matinee and evening performances each week with the addition of 10:30 a.m. performances on Saturdays throughout December. Show length is two hours and 15 minutes with a short intermission. Tickets are $42.

The Rainbow Comedy Playhouse (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.Rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting its holiday production “Green Holly & Gray Potatoes” now through December 28.

Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain. Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25-$56.

Two always-popular attractions in Lancaster County at this time of year are Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A. (Route 741 East, 226 Gap Rd, Strasburg, 717-687-7911, www.choochoobarn.com) and the National Christmas Center Family Attraction & Museum (3427 Lincoln Hwy East, Paradise, 717-442-7950, www.nationalchristmascenter.com).

Located in the heart of Amish Country, the National Christmas Center Family Attraction & Museum takes visitors on a journey through Christmases past and present. It features 20,000 square feet of life-sized, walk-through, indoor exhibits including more than a dozen main galleries and a variety of ever-changing smaller exhibits.

The galleries examine both the secular and the religious aspects of Christmas. The religious galleries are “O Holy Night,” “The Art of the Nativity”, and “The First Christmas.”

Some of the secular galleries are “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa,” “Another Successful Night,” “TudorTowne Animated Storybook Village,” “Toyland Train Mountain,” “1950’s Woolworth’s 5 & 10,” “Antiques Emporium,” “Images of Santa,”, “Christmas around the World,” “Santa’s North Pole Workshop and Reindeer Barn,” “A Pennsylvania Christmas,” “Street of Memories” and “1950’s Night Before Christmas.”

Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $5 for children at the National Christmas Center Family Attraction & Museum.

Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A., which is located in Strasburg just a stone’s throw from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Strasburg Railroad, has been a destination for train fans for decades.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A. presents a 1,700-square-foot train layout featuring over 150 hand-built animated figures and vehicles and 22 operating trains. The majority of trains that are running in the display are “O Gauge” trains but there are also some HO Gauge trains as well as one N Gauge train.

Several of the original pieces and animations are still on the display today, including the ski slope, ski lodge and ice skaters, Dutch Haven, the Willows, the two-lane moving highway (in front of Dutch Haven), the farm with the tobacco barn, the Strasburg Fire House, the church beside Dutch Haven and a few other houses.

The layout features a special Christmas display now through January 16. The homes and businesses along the tracks have been decked out with holiday trim. And, there are 55 hidden Santas — one for each year the site has been open — located around the display for visitors to find.

Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $4.50 for children Ages 3 and under) at Choo Choo Barn — Traintown U.S.A.

There are also a number of holiday events featuring bigger trains — full-sized trains, many of which are powered by steam locomotives and all of which have Santa Claus as their special guest passenger.

The train rides with Santa Claus presented by the West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233, www.westchesterrr.net) have been popular with area residents for years. The special “Santa’s Express” trains (which feature heated cars decorated for the holidays) will run on December 17 and 18 at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m.

The 90-minute journey on the trail line’s heated decorated train travels through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa Claus will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills. Adult fare for the West Chester Railroad trips is $23. Tickets for children (ages 2-12) are $17 while toddlers (ages 9-23 months) get to ride for $7.

The Colebrookdale Railroad (www.dynamicticketsolutions.com) has several options for holiday-related excursion rides.

The “Santa Claus Polar Express Train,” the “’Twas The Night Before Christmas Train” and the “Winter Starlight Express Train.”

It is approximately a two-hour round trip for any of the train excursions. Tickets are $45 for adults, $31 for children (ages 2-12), $40 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for toddlers (under 2; must be held; no seat).

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-998-193, www.wwrr.com) will run its “Santa Claus Express” on Saturdays and Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and $16 for children (ages 2-12).

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding along with passengers on the steam-powered 90-minute round trip to Ashland Station. They will be greeting everyone on board and offering chocolate treats to the youngsters. Santa will also be posing for pictures with his fans. Tickets for these trains, which run now through December 24, are $18 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and $16 for children.

The tourist rail line will also be running special “Holiday Night Express Trains,” featuring a peaceful evening ride in the railroad’s 1929 Doodlebug rail car. Tickets for these trains, which are running now through December 30, are $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and $10 for children.

The Strasburg Rail Road (Route 741, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is running its “Santa’s Paradise Express” now through December 18. Santa will be greeting passengers, shaking hands, posing for photos and giving a treat to each child. After the train ride, children are treated to storybook readings of holiday classics. Visitors of all ages can also enjoy a ride aboard the Tinsel Trolley, a self-propelled motor car.

The Strasburg Railroad will also be running its “Night Before Christmas” train on December 15 and 16. A reader dressed in a Victorian nightshirt and cap will read Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem “The Night before Christmas” as the train rolls along. After the poem is read, passengers can enjoy a treat of milk and cookies.

Tickets for rides on the Strasburg Railroad are $18 for adults, $11 for children (ages 3-11) and $3 for toddlers (under age 3).

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is operating its “North Pole Express” now through December 31. Tickets are $48.95 for adults, $46.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $14.95 for toddlers.

Passengers can ride the rails with Santa, Mrs. Claus and a group of holiday revelers. Children and adults of all ages can sip hot cocoa and enjoy cookies while Santa visits with each child and presents them with a special gift. Local musicians will be on board to play and sing Christmas carols. Additionally, children are encouraged to come dressed in the pajamas.

Christmas trains also come in a smaller variety. Model railroad displays and the Christmas holiday season have been linked together since a time before even your parents were even kids.

One of the most elaborate model train layouts in the Delaware Valley can be found at the Morris Arboretum (100 Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 215-247-5777, www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.html). The popular Garden Railway Display that has become a summer fixture at The Gardens at Morris Arboretum returns again for a special holiday display.

The display, which is open to the public now through December 31 in the winter garden of the Morris Arboretum, has a quarter-mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with 15 different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under) and bustling model trains.

The buildings and the display are all made of natural materials — bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones — to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with miniature rivers. Philadelphia-area landmarks are all meticulously decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle.

Admission to the Morris Arboretum is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older) and $9 for students and military.

“A Brandywine Christmas” is running now through January 8 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org). The attraction features an extensive O-gauge model. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating

Special events include “Carols Concerts” on December 18, “Breakfast with the Trains” on December 17, “Christmas with the Dolls” on December 17, and “Terrific Trains Family Program” on January 7. Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children.

If you decide to head south in search of Christmas attractions, Delaware has a lot to offer.

 “Holidays at Hagley,” a popular Brandywine Valley exhibit that is included with regular admission, is running now through January 1 at Hagley Museum and Library (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org).

This year’s edition of “Holidays at Hagley” features tours of Eleutherian Mills, which is the first du Pont family home built in America. The tours, which will be presented each day from 10a.m.-4:30 p.m., feature decorations in a combination of styles from both the 19th and 20th centuries.

The theme this year at Eleutherian Mills residence is “A Child’s Delight.” Toys, games, and dolls are the decorative theme in the annual “Holidays at Hagley” exhibition at Eleutherian Mills.     

Prominently displayed in the Parlor is a large early 20th-century decorated Christmas tree with tinsel. Underneath, toys and dolls are waiting to be admired by children of all ages. Scattered throughout the room are more toys, including two charming monkey toys—a puppet and a swinging toy monkey. Also featured is a small display of child-related items, including a large wicker baby carriage, doll beds, and a stroller called an “Oriole.”

Well-loved displays returning include the elaborate Twelfth Night celebration in the dining room and the Victorian library’s Christmas for children with its table-top tree surrounded by toys and games. Of course, there will be warm glowing lights and poinsettias. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $5 for children (ages 6-14).

One of the best premier Christmas-themed events in the area is the annual “Yuletide at Winterthur.” This year’s 38th annual staging of the event, which runs from November 19 through January 8 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware,800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

With the arrival of the extraordinary dollhouse recently gifted to Winterthur by the McDaniel family, Yuletide at Winterthur 2016 will highlight the holidays through a child’s eyes in the 19th and 20th centuries and feature the exquisite house-in-miniature as a central attraction. The 18-room house is fully decorated with wreaths, candles, trees, and more miniature delights.

In celebration of the house’s debut, Yuletide at Winterthur will highlight the holidays as experienced by children from 1850-1950 and feature museum room displays that include Winterthur’s own collections of miniature objects. As an added attraction, Winterthur’s current exhibition “Lasting Impressions: The Artists of Currier & Ives, Yuletide” will explore why a “Currier & Ives Christmas” is so beloved and still resonates with people today.

As always, the rooms will be enhanced with the floral displays so essential to du Pont’s decorating, and with special Christmas trees inspired by the beauty of the Winterthur garden – including the popular Dried Flower Tree in the Conservatory.

Timed Yuletide Tour reservations are required. Admission to Yuletide at Winterthur is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (age 62 and older) and $2 for children (ages 2-11).

Nemours Mansion & Gardens (Route 141 South, Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-651-6912, www.nemoursmansion.org) is welcoming visitors for the Christmas holidays with special holiday-themed tours. The three-hour tours are held Tuesdays through Sundays and run now through January 3.

Originally constructed in 1910, Nemours Mansion is one of Delaware’s grandest buildings and includes the largest formal French garden in North America.

During the holiday period, the guided tours will include several stories of the house and part of the gardens. Many of the rooms featured in the tour will be decorated as they would have been when DuPont resided there in the early 1900s while some will retain their traditional period decorations.

Tickets for the tour at Nemours are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and $7 for children (under 16).

The New Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting its special holiday show “Christmas by Candlelight” now through December 23.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.), Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.) and Wednesday matinees (doors, 11 a.m./show, 1 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2016 Christmas Holiday Tour will be presented now through December 31 in Odessa’s historic district (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org). The Historic Houses of Odessa’s National Historic Register Wilson-Warner House has been transformed into vignettes inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King.”

Historic Odessa will celebrate the bicentennial of this classic tale as the National Historic Register Wilson-Warner House is transformed into the home of the Stahlbaums on Christmas Eve. There will also be story vignettes beautifully recreated throughout the 247-year old Wilson-Warner’s period rooms.

Another popular attraction is the “Storybook Trees Exhibit,” which is a festive display of Christmas trees that reflect books and works of children’s literature. The trees have been decorated by local families, schools and organizations. All the Historic Odessa Foundation’s museum properties, collectively known as the Historic Houses of Odessa, are open and on display for the 2016 holiday season.

The Historic Houses of Odessa are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The last full tour of the Historic Houses starts at 3 p.m. The Houses will be closed on December 24 and 25. Admission to the Historic Odessa Foundation holiday tour is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and students and free for children (under 6).

If you head north, you take a chance with the weather – colder temperatures and stronger possibility of snow and ice – but you will also be treated with a variety of attractive options.

Bethlehem, which is known as the “Christmas City,” presents Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem (PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 East First Street, Bethlehem, 610-332-1300, http://www.christmascity.org) every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday now through December 18.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans. The market also features live performances of Christmas music and vendors with an amazing variety of tasty food items.

Two of Montgomery County’s scenic historic sites are ready to begin celebrating the 2014 Christmas holiday season this weekend.

Pennypacker Mills (3 Haldeman Road, Perkiomenville, 610- 287-9349, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) is hosting “Victorian Holiday Tours” now through January 8 while “Twelfth Night Tours at Pottsgrove Manor” (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) are running now until January 8.

For the next three weeks, Pennypacker Mills will offer free tours of the 18-century mansion used by General George Washington as temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War. The home will be decorated for an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas and will feature the warm glow of oil lamps, festive decorations and a candy-making demonstration.

The event at Pottsgrove Manor features guided tours through an elegant 18th-century Georgian mansion that is decked out in period holiday decorations. Tour guides will discuss Twelfth Night celebrations and Christmastide traditions.

Visitors will be able to view the parlor and kitchen as it would have been during colonial times when the Potts family prepared for their holiday guests. They will also be able to check out the servants’ quarters and see the rustic holiday celebrations as enjoyed by the household staff.

Visitors to Peddler’s Village (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, http://peddlersvillage.com) can get in the holiday spirit at the Village’s Grand Illumination, which showcases thousands of tiny white lights outlining the Village’s buildings, colorful lights with less-than-common colors (teal, peach, and fuscia) adorning the trees and shrubs and a landscaped backdrop featuring a group of reindeer glowing in white light.

The Grand Illumination is accompanied by the Giggleberry Fair, which features attractions for kids including for “Photos with Santa.” The Giggleberry Fair will be open through December 23. The Peddler’s Village “Gingerbread House Competition and Display,” which runs through January 2, features over $2,000 in cash prizes in such categories as Traditional and Authentic Reproduction of a Significant Building.

Koziar’s Christmas Village (782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, 610-488-1110, www.koziarschristmasvillage.com) has started its 68th annual season and it will remain open every night through January 2 — including Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night.

The village is a visual wonderland with a large amount of holiday displays and special attractions including “Santa’s Post Office,” “Christmas in the Jungle,” “Toy Maker and his Toy Shop” and “Christmas in Other Lands. Other attractions are a huge model train display, a toy shop, a country kitchen, indoor and outdoor Christmas displays. Admission to Christmas Village is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for children (ages 4-10).

Several of the area’s amusement parks are a good destination in December because of their special holiday attractions.

Now through January 1, “A Very Furry Christmas” will be presented by Sesame Place (100 Sesame Place, Langhorne, 215-752-7070, www.sesameplace.com). The event is a one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite furry friends — Grover, Oscar and the rest of the gang from Sesame Street. Admission is $27 online and $32 at the gate.

“Christmas Candylane,” which is the annual holiday event at Hersheypark (100 West Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, 800-HERSHEY, www.hersheypark.com), is running now through December 31. Tickets are $19 per person. Children age two and under are admitted free.

Visitors to Hershey can also experience the winter wonderland called “Hershey Sweet Lights, A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular.” The attraction is a two-mile drive through wooded trails featuring approximately 600 illuminated, animated displays.

Admission is $24.15 on Fridays and Saturdays and $19.15 the rest of the week,

Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park (2249 Route 30 East, Lancaster, 866-386-2389, www.dutchwonderland.com) is hosting its “Dutch Winter Wonderland” now through December 30 on Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays.

Visitors are invited to celebrate the magic of the season at Dutch Winter Wonderland with rides, entertainment, and the Royal Light Show, a spectacular display of thousands of twinkling lights dancing to music.

Tickets are $11.99 in advance and $13.99 at the gate. Children age two and under are admitted free.

Pin It

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar