The holiday season is almost here, and towns across the commonwealth are prepping their annual celebrations and festivities, some of which transform their town from top to bottom.
In the small town of Indiana, for instance, folks every year host the annual It’s a Wonderful Life Festival, based on the 1946 film of the same name. As the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart, who stars as Georg Bailey in the movie, Indiana recreates the iconic look of Bedford Falls seen in the holiday classic, complete with strings of Christmas lights, a giant adorned tree, and a sign that reads “You Are Now In Bedford Falls.” The celebration also features a plethora of fun activities, such as appearances from Saint Nick, a parade, and opportunities for holiday shopping.
Additionally, this little town in Indiana County is known as the Christmas Tree Capital of the World for the vast number of tree farms, so if you’re looking for one to decorate your living room, you’ve come to the right place.
Bernville in Berks County has its own unique holiday celebration that welcomes guests near and far every year: Koziar’s Christmas Village, a tradition over 70 years old and highly ranked among Pennsylvania’s top attractions. The whole town lights up with over a million lights while hosting themed spots like Santa’s Post Office, Christmas in Other Lands, and an Old-Fashioned Bakery Shop.
For a rustic, picturesque locale, stop by Jim Thorpe in Carbon County, also known as the Switzerland of America. In addition to its old-timey feel and red brick buildings, Jim Thorpe is known for its annual Olde Time Christmas, a celebration on the weekends between December 3rd and 18th chock full of merry wintertime festivities, such as strolling carolers, horse and carriage rides, and appearances by Santa.
Some towns are completely unrecognizable come the holidays and appear more like a time capsule of a bygone era, like in the town of Wellsboro, for example. There, they feature their Dickens of a Christmas Celebration where the whole town gets a Victorian makeover, complete with a Victorian Marketplace and looking like a scene out of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Wellsboro has you covered on all your holiday shopping with their Christmas on Main Street celebration in the second week of December as well.
The city of Bethlehem, known as PA’s Christmas City, has a yearly tradition, too: Christkindlmarkt, an authentic German market that both residents and guests can enjoy. Patrons can also hop onto a carriage or a horse and ride around the streets of Bethlehem with style. If you’re looking for a historical destination at which to stay, or you just want to take a tour of the ornate interior, the Historic Hotel Bethlehem has to be your next stop.
Each township features its own flavor of the holidays, and Pennsylvanians pull out all the stops to give their residents and guests an unforgettable experience every winter season.