What To Do: Christmas celebrations kick into high gear

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Coatesville Christmas Parade

The Coatesville Christmas Parade is a cherished area holiday tradition. The event, which is Chester County’s largest hometown parade, will be held on December 7 in downtown Coatesville.

The festive annual parade (http://coatesvillechristmasparade.com) will get underway at 10 a.m. with Strode Avenue and Lincoln Highway as its starting point. The parade will conclude at the performing and judging area at 11th Avenue and Lincoln Highway.

Originally a community project in the 1960s, the parade was taken up by the Jaycees back in the 1970s. Its popularity started to wane in the 1980s but then the community parade experienced a resurgence in interest in the 1990s. It has been going strong ever since.

Featured attractions will include everything from dancers swirling their batons to local contractors showing off their custom-crafted floats. This year, more than over 125 entries will entertain spectators along the Lincoln Highway including the Duffy and Quaker City String bands.

Also playing will be the Eagles Pep Band, the Lukens Band, the Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band, the Coatesville High School “Red Raider” Marching Band, the West Powelton Steppers Drill Team (the official drum line of the 76ers) and the Reilly Raiders Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps. Mascots will include Reggy The Purple Party Dude; along with a whole slew of cartoon characters who will entertain the crowd.

Churches will participate by marching in the parade and by singing Christmas carols on Lincoln Highway prior to the start of the parade. There will also be dance academies, cheerleading groups, hip-hop dancers, baton twirlers and larger-than-life cartoon characters.

An automotive competition featuring Antique, Classic and Modified autos will be competing for prizes. Other competitions will include Best Appearing Fire Apparatus, Best Appearing Police Vehicle, Best Appearing Float sponsored by a non-profit organization, Best Appearing Float sponsored by a for-profit organization and Best Appearing Group.

The Best Appearing Personality always goes to Santa Claus. At this year’s parade, Santa will bring up the rear – waving to the crowd while riding on a Coatesville Fire Department truck.

QVC West Chester Christmas Parade

On December 6, it will be time for the QVC West Chester Christmas Parade on Market Street (610- 696-4046, http://www.downtownwestchester.com).

The 40th Annual Christmas Parade which is scheduled to get underway at 7:15 p.m. with the lighting of the borough’s Christmas tree. Runners in the Jingle Elf Run will take off at 6:30 p.m. The parade will highlight the arrival of Santa in his sleigh.

As an added attraction, there will be a “Holiday Village” from 5-9 p.m. on High Street between Gay and Market streets.

The parade promises to provide a seasonal mix of traditional elements with a modern twist—local schools, businesses, volunteer fire companies, and other service organizations will join the many marching bands, floats, and antique vehicles that have cemented themselves as mainstays in the QVC West Chester Christmas Parade experience.

Claymont Christmas Parade and Holiday Happenings (www.claymontchristmasparade.com) are slated for December 7 in nearby Claymont, Delaware from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Claymont Christmas Weed

Visitors can see Santa arrive on a fire truck, hear high school bands, see Mounted Police horses, and look at lots of fire trucks, floats and more. And, they are invited to help decorate the infamous “Claymont Christmas Weed.”

The parade route is along Philadelphia Pike from Maple Lane to Darley Road in Claymont.

Ascension Church (3717 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont) will host “The Christmas Weed Ceremony” after the parade.
Hot chocolate and cookies will be served, and craft items will be for sale. From 11 a.m-12:30 p.m., the 12th annual Gingerbread House Contest will be held at Claymont Stone School (3611 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont).

The “Post Parade Celebration” will be held from noon-2 p.m. at Claymont Library (400 Lenape Way, Claymont).

For years, a popular traditional holiday event has been Candlelight Christmas in Chadds Ford presented by the Chadds Ford Historical Society (www.chaddsfordhistory.org). For more than three decades, it has been one of the area’s highly anticipated holiday events.

This year, the Chadds Ford Historical Society is presenting “Candlelight Christmas – Christmas Spirits” on December 7 at the Society’s Barn Visitor Center (1736 Creek Road, Chadds Ford) and the Barns-Brinton House (630 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford).

Visitors can visit the site’s historic houses decorated for the season as it celebrates the Christmas spirit. They will be able to experience the culinary history of colonial America and sample beverages along with sweet and savory foods from original 18th century recipes.

Tours also include the John Chads House and Springhouse, Barns-Brinton House along with Visitors Center activities.

Admission is $20 per person.

On December 7, the West Chester Public Library will hold its Ninth Annual Holiday Home Tour, featuring 10 homes in the borough. These homes, all new to the tour, will be beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Tour ticket swill also include admission to the Chester County Art Association and the Antique Ice Tool Museum.

Built in the 19th and 20th centuries, the houses on the 2019 Holiday Home Tour show the different ways the owners’ personal styles fuse historical architectural features with their collections, artwork, and furnishings, be they modern or antique.

Most of the homes feature original millwork, floors, and fireplaces. Architectural styles include Victorian, Cape Cod, Dutch Colonial, and Craftsman. All are new to the Tour.

Tickets are $50.

On December 7, Malvern’s Christmas on King Festival 2019 (www.malvern-festivals.com) will be held from noon-6:30 on King Street in downtown Malvern.

Visitors are invited to join in the festivities in Malvern where they can make a gingerbread house, shop in the unique shops along King Street and get free hot chocolate and.  We will have face painting and so much more.  The fun family day will also feature face painting and the special moment when Santa arrives in the afternoon.

Christmas on King activities will be located primarily on King Street. There will be no closing of the streets except for the Santa Parade which ushers the guy in the red suit to Burke Park for the Annual Tree Lighting Program. Otherwise all streets will remain open during the event except for Powelton Avenue between King and Monument streets along with a small section of Ruthland Avenue.

The Santa Claus Parade starts promptly at 4:30 p.m. followed by the “Lighting the Burke Park Christmas Tree” at 5 p.m.

Kennett Square (http://historickennettsquare.com) celebrates the holidays all month.

The 2019 Kennett Square Holiday Village Market will be held at The Creamery of Kennett Square (401 Birch Street, Kennett Square) on December 7 and 8 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.

Visitors will be able to shop from 80 artisan and vintage vendors at the market. In addition to finding gifts for the holiday, they also can make a Christmas tree purchase from fresh tree vendors at the market. And, they can quench their thirst with mulled wine and hot cider as well as enjoy food from three participating food trucks.

Other special activities include an ice sculptor on Saturdays, photos with Santa on Sundays, wreath-making workshops and live music.

The Kennett Holiday Village Market was initiated by Kennett Township supervisor Whitney Hoffman who wanted to bring the essence of vibrant European Christmas Market to the Kennett area.  The goal of the Holiday Village Market to give local and regional artisans an opportunity to sell their wares, to provide visitors another great reason to visit Kennett Square and to highlight the revitalization of the Birch Street corridor.

On December 6, “First Friday Art Stroll” will take place from 6-9 p.m. The art stroll/show will feature paintings, pottery and jewelry by talented local artists.

Oxford Country Christmas

Oxford’s First Friday event this month will be a holiday celebration – “Country Christmas” (www.downtownoxfordpa.org).

At the event, which will run from 5-9 p.m. on December 6 in the heart of Oxford’s downtown area, visitors can take photos with Santa, participate in Santa’s Workshop and watch a live tree lighting.

Other activities include horse drawn carriage rides, hayrides, a “Live Nativity,” holiday shopping and dining and live holiday music.

Admission to the family-friendly event is free.

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) has shifted into holiday mode with the arrival of “A Longwood Gardens Christmas.”

The festive holiday display at Longwood Gardens, which is running now through January 5, 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.

The organ sing-alongs will be featured in the Ballroom either three or six times a day. There will also be performances by choirs and musicians almost every evening throughout December.

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.

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 17th 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 $30 for adults, $27 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and college students and $16 for students (ages 5-18).

One of the premier holiday attractions in Philadelphia this year will be an attraction that is having its area premiere.

A Brandywine Christmas

“A Brandywine Christmas”, which runs now through January 5 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org), is an annual event that is fun for the entire family.

The museum’s ever-popular “critter” ornaments will be used to decorate holiday trees, wreaths and diorama settings throughout the museum. The intricately designed ornaments are made from all-natural materials by museum volunteers and have found homes on trees at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.

The well-attended annual “Critter Sale” is scheduled for December 5-8.

“A Brandywine Christmas” also 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 scene.

Special events include “The Polar Express Read-Aloud Pajama Night” on December 5, “Children’s Christmas Party” on December 11, “Breakfast with the Trains” on December 7, and “Sensory-Friendly Train Morning” on January 4.

Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children.

Phoenixville’s 16th Annual Firebird Festival (Veterans Field, 192 Mowere Road, Phoenixville, www.firebirdfestival.com) is set to light up the sky again this weekend.

Phoenixville will celebrate the arrival of the solstice with a special event on December 7 with festivities slated to get underway at 3 p.m. on Bridge Street.

The celebration will focus on the burning of a Firebird (in this case, a wooden bird and not a high-powered sports car). Also known as the Phoenix, the Firebird is a centuries-old symbol of rebirth and regeneration. The highlight of the event is the lighting of the Firebird.

The free event will feature a “Crafts Bazaar” and a variety of live entertainment.

At 8 p.m., there will be a pageantry parade featuring drummers, dancers, giant puppets and the torch that lights the bird. Then, it will be time for the lighting of the Firebird.

On the same day, the borough will host the annual Phoenixville Candlelight Holiday House Tour. The event will run from 3-7 and start at the Phoenixville Senior Center, which is located at 153 Church Street. Tickets are $25.

It’s time to take a break from all this holiday stuff. There are a few entries on the weekend calendar that are not holiday-related events.

On December 7 and 8, the Valley Forge Kennel Club, Inc. will host the annual Valley Forge Dog Shows at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Ave., Oaks, 484-754-3976, http://www.valleyforgekc.org).

The Valley Forge Kennel Club, Inc. will host two all-breed dog shows with totally separate competitions each day featuring “National Owner-Handled Series,” “4-6-month Beginner Puppy Competition,” “Junior Showmanship,” “Obedience Trial (open to All-American dogs), two “Rally Obedience Trials.” There also will be a variety of health clinics.

The event will run from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day. Admission either day is $10 for adults, $5 for children (ages 4-15) and free for children (3 and under).

Kimberton Waldorf’s 43rd Annual Craft Show, which features sales booths and other family activities, will be held December 6 and 7 and at Kimberton Waldorf School (410 West Seven Stars Road, Phoenixville, 610-933-3635, https://www.kimbertoncraftshow.org/).

The show will include more than 70 top-flight artisans presenting textiles, jewelry, pottery, woodwork, handmade toys, and gourmet foods.

The gala opening on Friday evening attracts many eager shoppers. Events on Saturday include lunch, an elegant tearoom with musical entertainment, and a number of children’s activities.

Tickets for the ‘Preview Night,” which runs from 6-10 p.m., are $10. Saturday’s activities run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and admission is $5.

First Friday

The City of Lancaster will celebrate First Friday on December 6 from 5-9 p.m. at a variety of venues in the center of town.

Some of the highlights of this month’s “First Friday” celebration will be art exhibitions at Benjamin Roberts Ltd (240 North Prince Street), Community Room on King (106 West King Street), The Parrot Gallery (328 West Orange Street), Mio Gallery (334 North Queen Street) and Lancaster Galleries (34 North Water Street).

There will also be a performance of “AfroSpanic Synchronicity: The Tale of Two Rhythms Beneath the Diaspora” at the Ware Center (42 North Prince Street).

On December 7, Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us) will host a special event called “World War II: The Battle for St. Vith.”

The special one-day event will explore the Western Front of World War II and visit with Axis and Allied armies.

Activities through the day include two exciting battles, living history, vintage gear, live medical demonstrations on “wounded” soldiers at the Red Cross Field Hospital, weapons and vehicles.

Fort Mifflin

Fort Mifflin, which was originally called Fort Island Battery, was commissioned in 1771. It was also known as Mud Island Fort because it sits on Mud Island (also known as Deep Water Island) on the Delaware River near the Philadelphia International Airport. During the American Revolutionary War, the British Army bombarded and captured the fort as part of their conquest of Philadelphia in autumn 1777.

During the siege, 400 American soldiers held off more than 2,000 British troops and over 250 ships that had been responsible for launching an endless barrage of cannonballs into the fort. After five days of holding off the British, the American troops evacuated the fort after having successfully denied the British Navy free use of the Delaware River.

“World War II: The Battle for St. Vith” will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and veterans and $6 for children (ages 6-12).

The Delaware Museum of Natural History (4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delmnh.org) is presenting a new exhibition called “Be The Dinosaur” fromDecember 5 through January 19, 2020.

Visitors will be able to travel back in time to see their world as they knew it and be the dinosaur. Drawing on today’s modern technology and tested and approved by the world’s top paleontologists, “Be the Dinosaur” is an interactive and engaging exhibit where guest will experience what it was like to roam the Earth 65 million years ago – hunt, eat, hide and survive.

Admission to the museum is — Ages 3-59: $9; Seniors (60 and up): $8; Toddlers (ages 1-2): $3; and Babies under 12 months: Free.

Now though January 5, people can get in a happy mood by visiting HAPPY PLACE (HappyPlace.me).

Live Nation Philadelphia has brought HAPPY PLACE, an interactive, immersive pop-up exhibit with larger-than-life installations and multi-sensory themed rooms, to the King of Prussia Mall where it will run now January 5, 2020.

HAPPY PLACE is filled with multi-sensory immersive rooms inducing smiles and laughter, plus larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind installations including seven-foot stilettos made of a million candies and six-foot tall mirrored X and O letters surrounded by a wall of one thousand red lips.

From dancing in the world’s largest confetti dome to posing inside the famous rubber ducky bathtub of fun and jumping off a rainbow into a pot of happiness, guests travel through each unique room guided by a team of specially selected and trained Happy People. HAPPY PLACE is created for an audience for all ages. Minors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

HAPPY PLACE features more than 15,000 square feet of playful spaces and cheerful moments including a Super Bloom room filled with 40,000 handmade gold flowers for the perfect photogenic floral backdrop, the World’s Largest Indoor Confetti Dome, a Giant Rainbow complete with a Pot of Happiness into which guests can jump, the signature Rubber Ducky Bathtub of Fun plus other photo-friendly fantasy rooms.

HAPPY PLACE will be open though January 5 at the King of Prussia Plaza. Tickets start at $30 for adults and $20 for children (ages 4-12).

O.K. – break is over. It’s time to go back to holiday events.

Now through January 5, the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia) will host LumiNature, a gigantic holiday season light experience that transforms the entire Zoo into a magical journey of lights, music, sounds and surprises.

LumiNature will feature 12 experiences that include hundreds of illuminated penguins, oversized bold-colored illuminated flowers, a 21-feet tall brilliant colored snake, giant cat eyes glowing in the dark of night, and a 25-foot tree made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments.

LumiNature will be Philadelphia’s Zoo’s first major night-time installation and also represents Philadelphia Zoo’s first-ever major light and sound installation.  LumiNature, which was designed exclusively for Philadelphia Zoo, is a $3.5M investment and has been in the works for over two years.

According to Philadelphia Zoo Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer, “This tailor-made fantastical adventure brings the joy of animals, nature and the holiday season together in a way that will take your breath away.  And of course, seasonal fare, strolling performers, unique retail, hot chocolate and ever-warming adult beverages will spark the holiday spirit in everyone. This is a first for Philadelphia Zoo and I can tell you, we are all very, very excited! LumiNature is made possible by the generous support of key donors excited to bring this one-of-a-kind spectacular to our region.”

Dancing lights, sounds and media throughout the Zoo will create magical illusions of big cats and peacocks coming to life; flamingos flocking on a 25-foot-tall tree; and all four seasons hosting their very own party. LumiNature is designed to inspire a sense of wonder and connection as all these elements come together in this first-of-its-kind experience.

LumiNature will feature more than 600,000 lights, 6.5 miles of power cord, 500 colorful illuminated flamingos and a 25 feet tall flamingo holiday tree, 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake.

Tickets are $24 for adults and $19 for children.

When the Christmas season arrives in Europe, it is common to see Christmas villages erected in downtown locations of big cities. These villages are temporary sites that feature live music, a variety of holiday attractions and a large number of specialized vendors.

Philadelphia is keeping pace with the European cities with a Christmas village of its own — a special site that springs to life this weekend and continues until December 24.

“Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Love Park, 1400 JFK Boulevard, 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 is modeled after traditional German Christmas Markets. The history of Christmas markets in Germany dates to the late Middle Ages. One of the oldest and most famous ones is held each year in Nuremberg in the state of Bavaria.

It has been passed down from generation-to-generation ever since the area’s farmers started selling their crops in a farmers’ market during the Advent time in the mid-16th century. The goods presented in wooden booths include a rich variety of holiday gifts including Christmas ornaments, arts and crafts, toys, sweets, as well as German food and drinks. People stroll around, meet friends, and enjoy live performances of Christmas music.

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.

The Village will feature the sights and sounds of the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights, giant glowing stars, festive decorations, a musical stage and children’s activities. All the event’s annual fan favorites will be back, including Photos with Santa, Käthe Wohlfahrt, Herrnhuter Stars, the German Grill and the event’s main stage.

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.

The primary travel itineraries for Santa Claus are riding in parades and traveling by sleigh. But these are far from the jolly old guy’s only means of transportation. He also makes visits using a variety of modes such as helicopters, horse-drawn carriages, fire trucks, open-air convertibles, speed boats, hot air balloons and trains.

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 22.

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.

Other special attractions include ice carving, glassblowing demonstrations, “Breakfast with St. Nicholas,” outdoor artisan huts, fire pits and igloos in the Outdoor Village, and Käthe Wohlfarht with handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and collectibles from Germany.

The “Deck the Alley Open House” could only take place at one location — Elfreth’s Alley (Elfreth’s Alley and Elfreth’s Alley Museum, 126 Elfreth’s Alley,http://www.elfrethsalley.org).

Elfreth’s Alley is America’s oldest continuously occupied residential street. On December 7 from 3-7 p.m., its residents will once open their doors and welcome holiday visitors.

The small alley was a nice place to live in 18th-century colonial Philadelphia. It is still a nice place with preserved architectural details such as bond brickwork and cedar shingle roofs. The homes also have impressive interiors, which are open to the public only twice a year.

Admission to “Deck the Alley” is $25 for adults, $10 for children (under 16) and $60 for families. All proceeds support the education and preservation programs of the Elfreth’s Alley Museum.

Included with admission are seasonal refreshments, a display of a Pennsylvania Dutch upside-down Christmas tree, performances by colonial carolers, an appearance by Belsnickel and visits from Benjamin Franklin and Dolly Madison.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular at the Comcast Center is running now through January 1 at the Comcast Center (1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, https://comcastcentercampus.com/holidays).

Shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience video wall at The Comcast Center, the Comcast Holiday Spectacular is filled with sights and sounds of the season.

An annual holiday tradition, the 15-minute Comcast Holiday Spectacular takes visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring classic favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

The show, which is free and open to the public, also includes a snippet of The Nutcracker performed by the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet.

Since its debut in 2008, more than two million people have experienced the wonderful must-see holiday show in the Comcast Center lobby.

On December 7, the Independence Seaport Museum (211 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, 215-413-8655, phillyseaport.org/lights) will present its annual “Parade of Lights” along the Delaware River near Penn’s Landing starting at 5:15 p.m.

The lighted boat parade features Philly’s working port, with tugboats and other vessels decorated in lights. Before the parade, spectators can spend the day inside the Museum for holiday activities and entertainment. Museum visitors will get the best view of the parade from the second-floor terrace overlooking the Delaware River. 

Some of the event’s attractions are Santa’s “Workshop on the Water” (to make holiday ornaments and gingerbread boats), live music by a local high school choir, a lighted model ship display in the Ship Model Shack and the “Silver Ships Display,” a holiday tradition featuring dozens of tiny silver ships from the Museum’s collection.

Activities and entertainment are included with admission. Admission to the museum costs $18 for adults and $14 for seniors, children, students and military.

The 2019 Franklin Square Holiday Festival (200 North Sixth Street, Philadelphia, http://www.historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square/holidays-in-franklin-square/) opens its season this weekend and it will run until December 31.

The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show will be open from 4-8 p.m. daily and 4-9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Visitors are invited to experience the magic of the holidays and celebrate traditions new and old at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.

Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s electrifying genius, the free Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO is the key to holiday fun in Franklin Square.

Attendees can marvel at more than 50,000 lights as they shimmer, dance, and illuminate the Square to a soundtrack of holiday classics, some of which are performed by The Philly POPS in two alternating shows every 30 minutes. Every evening, one lucky audience member will be selected to “ignite’ the 4:30 p.m. show.

This weekend’s schedule also features activities at the Center City Parks District’s Rothman Orthopaedics Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park (1 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, http://ccdparks.org/dilworth-park).

The Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park is an unparalleled entertainment experience on Philadelphia’s center stage in a wonderfully urban and unique setting. Open seven days a week, the rink offers wintery fun for all ages, with a full slate of programs.

Hours are Monday-Thursday: Noon-9 p.m.; Friday: Noon-11 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Admission is $3 for Kids 10 & Under and $5 for Adults. Skate rental is $10.

A fun — and maybe a little chilly — 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 lasts 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. Arasapha Farm is featuring its “Holiday Hayride” on December 6-8 and 13-23 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).

 “Christmas Around The Farm” converts a summertime destination for home-grown produce into a sparkling winter wonderland. The popular annual event 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.

This weekend is also time for several similar theatrical presentations — not on stages but rather in churches and in a museum. Every year, this is the weekend that highlights Saint Lucia Day festivities.

There are two churches in the area that are presenting interesting Lucia Fest pageants this weekend. Both have the same name — Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church. There will also be a celebration at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philly.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church (Delaware Avenue and Christian Street, Philadelphia, 215- 389-1513, www.Old-Swedes.org), the 2019 Lucia Fest will be held on December 6-8. At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church (606 Church Street, Wilmington Delaware, 302- 652-5629, www.oldswedes.org), the Sankta Lucia Celebration is scheduled for December 8.

Lucia is a Swedish festival that features a Lucia procession with traditional songs and dances. Lucia, wearing a white gown and a crown of candles, leads the procession, followed by girls dressed in gowns who act as her attendants. Boys also join the festivities as starboys.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Philadelphia, a number of Swedish traditions of the holiday season are woven into a colorful pageant that is presented in a church building constructed by Swedish colonists in 1699-1700. The climax is the entrance of “Santa Lucia”, who was a martyr in the fourth century.

The Lucia Fest & St. Eric’s Fair at Old Swedes’ Church will be held December 6 at 6 and 8 p.m. and December 7 and 8 at 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m.

Before, during and after each of the presentations, the St. Eric’s Fair, a Christmas bazaar that specializes in Scandinavian imports, is held in the Parish Hall that adjoins the Church. Tickets for the Lucia event are $13 for adults and $7 for children (ages 11 and under).

Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Delaware will present its traditional celebration of the Feast Day of Sankta Lucia on December 8 at 1 p.m. and again at 3 p.m.

The Delaware Swedish Colonial Society, which sponsors the annual December celebration, will also have its Hendrickson House Museum open to the public. The museum, which has been decorated for a Swedish Christmas will be open for tours and shopping from noon-5 p.m. The doors of the church will open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Tickets for the 2018 Sankta Lucia Celebration are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776, www.americanswedish.org) will present its Lucia Celebration and Julmarknad (Christmas Bazaar) on December 7 from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Light, warmth and Christmas songs have been hallmarks of the Lucia celebration at ASHM since 1939. Each year families pour through the magnificent bronze doors of the museum to be greeted by the aroma of freshly baked pastries, meatball dishes and strong Swedish coffee.

Guests can stroll through the Christmas Market, or Julmarknad, where Swedish delicacies, crafts, decorations, and imported gifts may be purchased, before the musical entertainment begins. The Swedish Christmas Café will be selling favorite sweet and savory holiday foods and the SWEA bakery tables will be open all day.

At 1 and 3:15 p.m., the lights will dim and the doors will close for the duration of a performance of Swedish Christmas songs and dances, which are sure to warm your heart in the cold of winter. Children from toddlers to teens dressed in costume entertain the crowds, culminating with the procession of Lucia, wearing her crown of candles, surrounded by her white gowned attendants and star boys.

Admission is $12 for adults, $4 for children (ages 4-12) and free for children (under 4).

On December 6 and 7, Rockwood Park (4651 Washington Street Extension, North Wilmington) is hosting its annual “Holiday Open House at Rockwood Park & Museum.”

The popular family event, which runs from 5-9 p.m. each night includes tours of the holiday display in the museum and a joyous light display in the gardens surrounding the Mansion and Carriage House.

Holiday Open House features exceptional entertainment, fun festive crafts, costumed characters, refreshments, food trucks and free photos with Santa! The event also includes the Holiday Shoppe selling gifts for the whole family. There will also be performances by dance, music, and choral groups.

This is a free event, but donations of non-perishable foods are collected for local food closets.

On December 7 and 8, Delaware will also host “Open House at Lombardy Hall” (1611 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, http://www.lomhallfdn.org/).

The Delaware Historical Society will host an Open House at Lombardy Hall, the historic home of Gunning Bedford, Jr., one of the Delaware signers of the U. S. Constitution. The mansion will be decorated for the holidays in classic 18th-century style.

The site’s exhibits bring together a variety of colonial furnishings and Masonic memorabilia on loan from Delaware and surrounding Masonic jurisdictions. Since the founding of Lombardy Hall Foundation, this broad cross-section of the museum has captured the imagination of visitors young and old.
“Open House at Lombardy Hall” will take place Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. each day.

There are plenty of reasons to take the short drive to Delaware this holiday season with tax-free shopping on everything at the top of the list. Another major reason is the annual staging of “Holidays at Hagley” — an event that is always one of the most eagerly anticipated holiday attractions in this area every year.

The popular Brandywine Valley exhibit, which is included with regular admission, opens November 23 and continues 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.

During the Victorian years when candle-lit tabletop Christmas trees were the norm, hand-made gifts were attached to tree branches, and winter scenes were displayed underneath the tree. The upstairs Victorian Library shows how magical that looked with its mid- to late-nineteenth-century toys, games and dolls. The upstairs Parlor features a case filled with small ceramic animals well-loved by some of the du Pont family children.

Early du Pont family French holiday traditions are remembered with a display of gifts that were given to E. I. du Pont’s children on New Year’s Day as well as the Twelfth Night party illustrated by the ornate French dessert service in the Dining Room.

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 $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and students and $6 for children (ages 6-14).

One of the best holiday events in the area is the annual “Yuletide at Winterthur.” This year’s 40th annual staging of the event, which runs through January 5 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware,800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

Revel in the beauty and warmth of the holidays and explore treasures of Christmases past with displays of holiday traditions from the 1800s to the early 20th century, including displays of: the earliest types of colorful lights decorating house exteriors; the du Pont family holiday celebrations; and the evolution of Christmas trees over the decades from the 1880s to 1960s.

One of visitors’ favorites every year is the 18-room dollhouse mansion created by designer and philanthropist Nancy McDaniel over a period of 30 years. It features amazing intricate details in each room and is even decorated for the holidays.

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, $180 for seniors (age 62 and older) and $6 for children (ages 2-11).

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2019 Christmas Holiday Tour and Exhibit “The Secret Garden” is an event with an appeal that spans generations. The tours will be presented now through December 29 in Odessa’s historic district (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org).

This holiday season the Historic Odessa Foundation (HOF) is celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Historic Houses of Odessa’s annual Christmas Holiday Tours and Exhibits inspired by works of classic children’s literature.

For the past 33 years, Historic Odessa has celebrated children’s literature by recreating scenes from the classics in one of its 18th-century museum houses. Visitors have been treated to the literary works of Louisa May Alcott, P.L. Travers, Beatrix Potter, Tasha Tudor, Washington Irving, Lewis Carroll, and Charles Dickens, to name just a few.

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” was first published in book form in 1911, after its serialization in The American Magazine, from November 1910 to August 1911. Set in England, this story of regeneration and rejuvenation is one of Burnett’s most popular novels and is considered a classic of English children’s literature.

Visitors to Historic Odessa’s Corbit-Sharp House will be transported through the pages of Burnett’s novel as the Historic Landmark’s period rooms are transformed into scenes that include Misselthwaite Manor and its secret garden.

This year’s Storybook Trees exhibit of more than 30 trees decorated by local families, schools, and organizations showcasing books and works of children’s literature will be displayed in the Wilson-Warner House (built in 1769). Appropriate for all ages, Historic Odessa’s Storybook Trees exhibit is designed to promote reading and literacy.

Special events and tours will be held throughout the holiday season including “Candlelight Tours” at 7 p.m. on December 10, 12, 17, 19, and 26; “Christmas in Odessa” on December 7 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; “Storybook Time” on December 11 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; “Festive Foods/Hearth Cooking Demonstration” on December 14, 21 and 28 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; “Children’s Deck the Halls Workshop” on December 8 at 2 p.m.; and “Curator Candlelight Tour” on December 19 at 5 and 7 p.m.

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).

Nemours Mansion & Gardens (Route 141 South, Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-651-6912, www.nemoursmansion.org) is welcoming visitors for the Christmas holidays with “Holidays at the Estate.” The attraction us running now through December 29.

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

Ever since 1910, when Mr. and Mrs. duPont began living in their newly built mansion, the holiday season has been a festive time at Nemours. The Christmas decorations at the Nemours Mansion are often inspired by the architecture of the home, the customs of the duPonts or the French influence.

The Mansion is also decorated by some of the duPonts’ original decorations, including a German crèche, which dates from the late 19th century. The figures are soft ceramic, unglazed and hand colored. In addition to their own ornaments, Nemours also proudly displays ornaments made by patients at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Visitors can enjoy Christmas trees, wreaths, and hundreds of feet of garland on grand display in the Visitor Center, Chauffeur’s Garage, Mansion and grounds.

New this year, the Estate will feature a Gift Shop located in the Chauffer’s Garage. This charming pop up is an extension of the Rocco and Mary Abessinio Gift Shop located in the Hospital Atrium. It is operated by the Volunteer Auxiliary and all proceeds of the shop will benefit the hospital and its patients.

The New Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) celebrates the opening the holiday season with special dinner theater show.

“Christmas by Candlelight” is the theater’s heartwarming celebration of the yuletide season – a bi-annual event that is back by popular demand. The show features classic holiday tunes, as well as some new surprises – all performed by fans’ favorite “Candlelighters.”

Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $63 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12). All seats are reserved.

There is something special about riding on a train that is being pulled by a steam locomotive. Almost everyone enjoys the experience — even Santa Claus. This year, Santa will be visiting several of the area’s tourist railroads to take special rides with his friends.

One of the best train rides with Santa Claus is the one presented by the West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233 or www.westchesterrr.net).

The special “Santa’s Express” trains (which feature heated cars decorated for the holidays) will run on December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. There will be additional departures at 5 p.m. on December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22.

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. Once at Glen Mills, passengers can disembark, explore the historic station and take advantage of photo opportunities on Santa’s lap inside the station. Live music will be provided by Greg Wright.

Adult fare for the West Chester Railroad trips is $25. Tickets for children (ages 2-12) are $18 while toddlers (ages 9-23 months) get to ride for $8.

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.

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.

Steam locomotion will return to the Wilmington & Western for its annual Santa Claus Express. The rail line’s 0-6-0 switcher No. 58 has returned to service after a multi-year restoration and will power Santa’s train through the Red Clay Valley this season.

Tickets for these trains, which run now through December 23, are $19 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and $17 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 $15 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and $13 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 21. Santa will be the featured guest on each ride from Strasburg to Paradise and back.

The rotund guy in the red suit 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.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for children (ages 2-11) and $4 for infants.

The Strasburg Railroad will also be running its “Night Before Christmas” train now through December 23.

This very special train recreates the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve. 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.

Children are also treated to storybook readings of holiday classics aboard the stationary heated caboose and visitors of all ages can enjoy a ride aboard the Tinsel Trolley, a self-propelled motor car. In the spirit of the season, kids may come dressed in pajamas.

Tickets for these rides on the Strasburg Railroad are $31 for adults, $14 for children (ages 3-11) and $4 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 24. Tickets start at $53.99 for adults, $43.99 for children (ages 3-11) and $14.99 for infants (ages 0-2).

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.

There will also be the rail line’s “Santa Steam Spectacular” excursions running from November 29 until December 24.

Guests are invited to welcome the return of the historic #40 steam engine by joining Santa and Mrs. Claus for a ride upon their magical Steam Train adventure through the historic Bucks County countryside. This Santa Steam Spectacular departs New Hope Station for a round trip to the North Pole.

Tickets start at $69.99 for adults, $59.99 for children (ages 3-11) and $15.99 for infants (ages 0-2).

The Colebrookdale Railroad (South Washington Street, Boyertown, www.colebrookdalerailroad.com)  is running its “Santa’s Polar Bear Express” now through December 12.

Kids can join Santa on a magical adventure into “Christmas Past” on an exciting train journey. They will be able to sip complimentary hot cocoa or enjoy Christmas cookies and, on some trains, sing favorite carols as the Secret Valley passes by the window. Santa will bring a gift for every child, and every child has an opportunity to give their Christmas letter to him.

The rail line also is running “Twas the Night Before Christmas” excursions from December 13-23.

These special evening trains bring the storybook magic of the season to life. Kids are invited to wear pajamas and sip complimentary hot cocoa as the train crew reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Rumor has it Santa himself will appear with a gift for every child. 

Tickets for the “Polar Express” are $50 for adults, $40 for children (2-12), $47 for seniors and $10 for toddlers (under 2).

Tickets for the “Night Before Christmas” excursions are $55 for adults, $45 for children (2-12), $52 for seniors and $15 for toddlers (under 2).

The Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad (136 Brown Street, Middletown, 717-944-4435, www.mhrailroad.com) will be running its “Santa Surprise Trains” on December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22.

It is an 11-mile round-trip train ride along the Swatara Creek. Passengers board 1920’s vintage Delaware, Lackawanna & Western coaches at the 1891 Station in Middletown, which was originally built as a freight station and in more recent years converted for use as a passenger station. The Station contains a ticket window, gift shop and modern ADA restrooms.

Santa Claus will have a special present for all kid riders. Fares for the “Santa Surprise” rides are $17 (ages 12 and older), $14 (ages 2-11) and $4 (under age 2 and on lap).

On December 7 and 14, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Route 741, Strasburg, 717- 687-8628, www.rrmuseumpa.org) is hosting its annual “Home for the Holidays” event from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Costumed interpreters — engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and railroad passengers –will recreate scenes of holiday travel from the past. Visitors will also be able to ride the Museum’s Cab Simulator.

Children will be able to send a message to Santa Claus with the help of a railroad telegrapher who will send their personal telegrams from Steinman Station to the North Pole. And, they can visit with Santa in person at the Steinman Station passenger depot.

Cookies and hot chocolate will be offered in the Museum lobby. There will be hands-on activities in the Stewart Junction railway education center for rail fans of all ages. There will also be live holiday music performed by the band Elite Brass from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $8 for youth (ages 3-11).

The rail line will also present “Christmas with the Conductor” parties on December 7 and 14.

A costumed conductor will welcome passengers on one of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s historic coaches for a special reading of a holiday classic story.

Kids will be able to create a take-home craft in Jack Frost Station. And, each child will receive a small bag of goodies. Advance registration, with a $10 per child fee is required.

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, http://www.morrisarboretum.org). 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 $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (65 and older) and $10 for students and military.

Four historic sites in Montgomery County have their own holiday celebrations.

Pennypacker Mills (3 Haldeman Road, Perkiomenville, 610- 287-9349, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) is hosting “Victorian Holiday Tours” now through January 5 while “Twelfth Night Tours at Pottsgrove Manor” (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) are running now through January 5.

For the next five 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.

Suggested donations for these events are $2.

On December 7 from 3-9 p.m., there will be special Candlelight Tours at the Peter Wentz Farmstead (2030 Shearer Road, Lansdale, 610-584-5104).

The soft glow of candles will guide visitors throughout the farmstead for tours showcasing colonial music, seasonal entertaining, and a visit from Belsnickel, a Pennsylvania German St. Nicholas in furs.

The last tour begins at 8:30 p.m. It is an all-ages event with a suggested donation $2 per person.

On December 8, the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove (1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, 610-666-5593) will present its annual Holiday Open House. The event at the nature site near Valley Forge National Historic Park will run from 1-4 p.m.

It also is an all-ages event with a suggested donation $2 per person.

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

The AMT’s 2019 show “Joy to the World” 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 $46 for adults and $23 for children.

Now that Christmas activities have begun, Peddler’s Village (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, http://peddlersvillage.com) is starting its celebration and that means there will be a lot of activity at the site over the next few weeks.

Visitors to the Village can join special guest Mrs. Claus for festive fun and mini-lightings in a different Village neighborhood each night leading up to the Village-wide Grand Illumination Celebration. Village shops will be open until 9 p.m. with a distinctive assortment of merchandise, special promotions and refreshments.

The 20th Annual Grand Illumination will showcase 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. Santa will arrive to turn on the lights and officially mark the beginning of the event. After the lights go on, visitors will be treated to free cider and toasted marshmallows.

November also marked the start of Peddler’s Village “Gingerbread House Competition and Display.” Slated to run through January 5, the “Gingerbread House Competition” features over $2,000 in cash prizes in such categories as Traditional and Authentic Reproduction of a Significant Building.

“A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place” (100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, www.sesameplace.com) is a festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends live and in-person at the amusement park in Langhorne.

The annual event, which runs through January 1, offers a wide array of family holiday activities.

Visitors to the park can sing along at three special Christmas shows and a spectacular music and light show at our giant 1-2-3 Christmas Tree, take a train ride tour through the Twiddlebugs’ Gingerbread Cookie Factory on the Sesame Place Furry Express, take part in the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade, and have the opportunity to meet Lightning, the adorable reindeer from the movie “Elmo Saves Christmas.”

As an added attraction this year, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is spending the holiday season at Sesame Place. The lovable reindeer along with his friends Clarice and Bumble, will be available for photos with guests.

Tickets for “A Very Furry Christmas” are $30.99.

“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.

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 to “Christmas Candylane” is $30.95.

If you really want to get into a Christmas mood in a big way, visit Koziar’s Christmas Village (782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, 610-488-1110, www.koziarschristmasvillage.com) which begins its 72nd season on November 2.

Koziar’s Christmas Village is truly a holiday wonderland — a wintertime spectacle that delights young and old alike with a huge amount of holiday displays and special attractions. It will remain open every night through January 1 — including Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night.

The tours of “Christmas Village” feature visits to a variety of displays and exhibits, including “Santa’s Post Office,” “Christmas in the Jungle,” “Manger Scene,” “Christmas Beneath the Sea,” “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Olde Fashioned Bakery Shop,” “Toy Maker and his Toy Shop,” “Christmas in Other Lands” and “The Olde Church”.

Other attractions at Koziar’s Christmas Village include a huge model train display, a toy shop, a country kitchen, indoor and outdoor Christmas displays and a place to visit with Santa and even get pictures taken with the old guy in the red suit. Admission to Christmas Village is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (65 and older) and $10 for children (ages 4-10).

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