What To Do: Holiday season kicks into high gear with celebrations in Kennett, Downingtown

Pin It

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Holiday Light Parade in Kennett

The holiday season will officially arrive in Kennett Square on November 29 when Downtown Kennett Square hosts the town’s annual Holiday Light Parade (Downtown Kennett Square, 610-444-8188, www.historickennettsquare.com).

Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with dance performances by Longwood Dance Studio and the parade scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m.

The parade, which features the Kennett High Marching Band, will travel up past the Market at Liberty Place toward Union Street (heading east) on State Street.  It goes onto the 100 Block of East State Street and then turns down S. Broad Street.  Santa and Mrs. Claus are slated to arrive at 7 p.m.

Santa Claus and his wife will serve as grand marshals for the parade which will be followed by the lighting of the town Christmas tree. There will be holiday music on the streets and many of the borough’s shops will stay open late and offer refreshments.

Immediately after the parade, meet Santa & Mrs. Claus at Anchor Life + Fitness (112 S. Broad) for pictures and refreshments.

Kennett Square will also host a Holiday Art Show on November 30 from 1-5 p.m.

Kennett Brewing Company (109 South Broad Street, Kennett Square) is hosting a pop-up art exhibition/shop on November 30 and again on December 2.

Visitors will be able to browse with a delicious craft beer in hand, buy a few gifts or just enjoy the beautiful artwork. The event will feature several KBC artists and friends’ artwork including ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, wood working, and wreaths.

Small Business Saturday is the day Kennett Square celebrates the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the United States.

Visitors on November 30 are invited to enjoy Kennett Square’s downtown area featuring locally owned small businesses. Their shops are stocked with great gifts including award-winning jewelry, local art and pottery, and unique, handcrafted homewares. Also featured will be new and vintage clothing and accessories, specialty food items, outdoor gear, and kid-tested toys and games.

Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas

In previous years, the Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Tree Lighting and the Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Parade were held on the same day. This year, the events are two weeks apart.

The sights and sounds of the Christmas holidays will begin this year on November 30 at the Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Visitors are invited to join in for an evening of family friendly fun.

The celebration, which starts at 6 p.m., will include live music, hot chocolate, cookies, smores, and of course, Santa himself, who will arrive by firetruck.

The event will take place in the field by the Log House along Business Route 30.

Last year, Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas, Inc. celebrated the unveiling of the new 17-foot Giant Everest Christmas Tree — along with a record turn out from the community. This year, the organizers have purchased a 3-foot extension for the tree making it a 20-foot tree with a 3-foot star on top.

The 2019 Downingtown Christmas Parade will be held on December 14 at 3 p.m.

A Brandywine Christmas

“A Brandywine Christmas”, which runs from November 29-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.

Additionally, “Cinderella & Co.—Three Fairy Tales Reimagined” will be on view through January 5.

“Cinderella & Co.—Three Fairy Tales Reimagined” explores the enduring stories of Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, presenting a wide array of illustrations created through time and across cultures. For centuries, fairy tales have enchanted children and adults alike.

These age-old stories, endlessly told and reimagined over time and place, spark our imaginations, teach life lessons, and touch on dark fears and basic truths. Guest curated by H. Nichols B. Clark and organized by the Brandywine, the exhibition includes more than 100 drawings from books illustrated by 35 artists, revealing both cultural and stylistic diversity.

Special events include “Carols Concerts” throughout December, “Museum Store Sunday” on November 25, “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.

Patriot’s Day

The Brandywine Valley has “Patriot’s Day” — a special celebration that will be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on November 30 at the Brandywine Battlefield (Route 1, Chadds Ford, 610-459-3342, http://brandywinebattlefield.org).

On September 11, 1777, approximately 30,000 thousand British and American soldiers fought in the Chadds Ford area in what is known as the Battle of the Brandywine. On that warm day, musket and cannon fire echoed over the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley and changed the landscape and views of its inhabitants for years after.

This historically rich environment located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania represents many aspects of American life, especially in the 18th century. Today, the Brandywine Battlefield historic site sits on 46.5 acres of the location that was the Continental encampment and offers many different programs and tours to the public to foster the appreciation for historical thinking and preservation.

Visitors to the park on “Patriots’ Day” are given the opportunity to step back in time to a small outpost in the area in the winter of 1777. The event will feature Colonial soldiers along with sutlers and period interpreters. There will be a presentation by General George Washington in the afternoon.

Activities include musket firing demonstrations, tours of Washington’s Headquarters (Ring House), 18th-century period interpreters and children’s activities including Colonial toys, “Make a Flag” and Colonial games

Tickets for the Patriot’s Day event are house tour, museum and film are $10 for adults and $8 for youth (ages 6-17).

From November 29-December 1, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 215-299-1000, www.ansp.org) is hosting a special event called “Wild Wizarding Weekend.”

Visitors will be able to explore the magical world of the Academy’s phenomenal beasts with a weekend of spellbinding, hands-on activities – including meeting the Academy’s own live beasts and learning about the real animals that inspire favorite wizarding stories.

Kids of all ages can take in a Bunny and Broomsticks game, make a magical wand, and take home a dragon’s egg during this wild weekend where wizards are welcome. Anyone wearing a costume will get a $2 discount at the door.

The list of special activities includes “Castle Classes,” “Magical Myths,” “Bunnies and Broomsticks” and “Magical Crafts.” There will also be several special shows in the auditorium.

Museum admission is $22 for adults and $18 for children and $19 for seniors, students and military.

Fort Mifflin

On November 29 at 10 a.m., Fort Mifflin (Fort Mifflin and Hog Island roads, Philadelphia, 215-685-4167, www.fortmifflin.us) will host a special event called “Black Powder Friday at the Fort.”

Visitors to the fort will be able to spend the day exploring one of the only intact battlefields of the American Revolution and enjoy musket and cannon demonstrations.

They can stretch Thanksgiving an extra day and give thanks for the soldiers that fought here, providing General Washington time to establish winter quarters in Valley Forge in 1777.

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.

Guided tours at will be held at noon and 2 p.m. Black powder demonstrations and musket drills will be presented throughout the day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and veterans and $6 for children (ages 6-12).

If you’re a music fan that is looking for hard-to-find collectibles such as out-of-print CDs, rare 45s, vintage music posters or albums that have been deleted from record company catalogs years ago, you don’t have to rely on online auction sites. There is an alternative.

That alternative is the annual “Not Just’ Rock Record Expo” which is celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year. The event will take place on November 29 and 30 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Avenue, Oaks, 484-754-3976, http://www.notjustrockexpo.com/).

There will also be a variety of autograph guests including Vince Martell, the lead guitarist of Vanilla Fudge.

Tickets for the special holiday weekend event are $5 for either day. Show hours are from noon-6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

Morris Arboretum

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.

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.”

Longwood Gardens

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.

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

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 opened on November 23 and continues until December 24.

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

“Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Love Park, 1400 JFJ 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.

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 November  29 and 30 and December 1, 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, 21and 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 from December 5-23.

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 2019 Franklin Square Holiday Festival (200 North Sixth Street, Philadelphia, http://www.historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square/holidays-in-franklin-square/) 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.

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, which is open 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.

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 now through January 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 3, 5, 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.

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 fuschia) 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.

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 $15.99 at the gate. Children age two and under are admitted free.

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).

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 six 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.

Now through 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).

The UniverSoul Circus (52nd Street and Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, 800-345-7000, www.universoulcircus.com), which is running now through December 8, treats fans to a very different experience.

The world-class circus’ performances, which will be held in the UniverSoul Big Top next to the Mann Music Center, blend traditional circus attractions with urban culture, hip hop tunes and world beat music. It’s the lively music that elevates the show to another level.

The UniverSoul Circus is a top-flight live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families.

Celebrating its 26th anniversary, UniverSoul Circus has come full circle in its influence in the international entertainment marketplace – garnering the distinction of being known as a one-of-a-kind, must see attraction.

Since its first performance in 1994, The UniverSoul Circus has presented more than 11,000 performances to live audiences, exceeding 20 million people, and has been seen in more than 60 million households on both local and national television networks. The Emmy-nominated HBO special remained in rotation for more than six years.

UniverSoul connects with progressive, upwardly mobile, urban pop cultures from around the world. It embraces and celebrates the unique and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities into a stellar production that blends circus arts, theater and music.

Now in its 26th year under the big top, UniverSoul Circus features music, theatrical performances, incredible circus acts and loads of fun. The show features acts from around the world including flashy Caribbean dancers, acrobats and high-flying trapeze artists, mind-boggling contortionists, funny clowns, lions, zebras and much more.

Video link for UniverSoul Circus — https://youtu.be/UatZSn1JJbQ.

The show at UniverSoul Big Top will run now through December 8 with early afternoon, late matinee and evening performances. Ticket prices start at $22.

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment