The Holiday Season Parades through Pennsylvania’s Small Towns

Your tree is decorated, your cookies are baked and your halls are decked out in festive greens and golds. But no need to stay inside.
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Koziar's Christmas Village in Bernville.
Koziar's Christmas Village in Bernville.

Pennsylvania is the perfect place to welcome the holidays. Dressed up in their holiday best, our small towns and villages form enchanting backdrops for the season.

Its charming streets and decorated shops are bustling with the sights and sounds of the holiday season as Jim Thorpe’s Olde Time Christmas celebrates the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens this year. Stroll Victorian streets reminiscent of scenes from “A Christmas Carol,” and enjoy extended shopping hours, street carolers, horse-drawn carriages and house tours on Millionaire’s Row, December 15-16.

Gather the family and head to Indiana County, the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, to pick out that perfect tree and join in the holiday festivities. While in town, visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum, honoring Indiana County’s hometown hero, James M. Stewart. See artifacts from Stewart’s life, including objects from his Oscar-nominated role as George Bailey in the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” What better place to sit back and enjoy this classic than in the  museum’s 1930s vintage movie theatre, which plays this Christmas favorite throughout the holiday season using its state-of-the-art sound and projection system? 

Ready for some dazzling lights, inspiring seasonal music and captivating displays that convey the magic of the holidays like no other? Then be sure to head to Bernville’s Koziar's Christmas Village. Celebrating its 65th year, the “village” is dazzling with more than half a million lights that transform the landscape into a magical fairyland. It’s easy to see why Koziar’s Christmas Village has been named the Best Outdoor Christmas Display in the World and received the Award of Excellence from the PA Travel Council’s Top 10 Travel Attractions in Pennsylvania. Open daily through New Year's Day, come see how one man's love of Christmas has become a holiday tradition for so many.

Bring your family and friends to Gring's Mill in Wyomissing, part of Berks County's Park and Recreation program, and walk through the illuminated park aglow with light displays and decorations. Afterward, warm up by the fireplace in the park's barn and enjoy nightly entertainment from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Kids can share their wish lists with Santa and watch the trains wind their way through the miniature town in the former Generating Station on the bridge Wednesdays-Sundays, through December 20.  

For a truly magical experience, you just might want to head to the Boiling Springs Tree Lighting & Christmas Tree Float at the Children's Lake. Volunteers light hundreds of luminary candles around the lake and children gather to watch Santa Claus row his boat across the lake to greet them. A Christmas tree is set afloat to the middle of the lake.

Central PA’s Susquehanna River Valley is home to a wealth of heartwarming holiday festivities for the whole family to enjoy. Attend a live performance of Charles Dickens’s classic holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol”; step back in time during downtown Lewisburg’s Victorian Holiday Weekend or attend Mifflinburg’s Christkindl Market where the streets are lined with festive outdoor huts featuring unique handmade crafts and traditional Christkindl treats.

You won’t want to miss Overly’s Country Christmas with 2.4 million twinkling lights spread across 15 acres of the Westmoreland Fairgrounds in Greensburg. The 50-year-old western PA holiday tradition takes nearly a thousand volunteers to create. Through January 1, partake in a warm bonfire, tasty treats and quaint sleigh rides.

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Pennsylvania Parties into 2013