As decorations start dressing up the streets and the wool sweaters come out of storage, municipalities across Lancaster County are planning some of the most vibrant holiday celebrations in the state. From musical performances to spiritual gatherings, historical tours, and even an incredible end of the year party, you may just want to stay for a month or two. We wouldn’t blame you! Check out these fantastic holiday events and hype yourself up for the best time of the year.
Take a journey to the North Pole with Brett A. Meyers in this magical show at the Bird-In-Hand Stage. No really, I mean magical. Watch as toys come to life with amazing illusions, side-splitting comedy, and dazzling costumes in this musical variety show. Unlike any holiday show you’ve ever seen, you will be oohing and aahing, jumping out of your seat, laughing until you cry, and sitting on the edge of your seat the entire show. Start a new holiday tradition and treat yourself to the most fabulous show in Lancaster County.
The day after Thanksgiving for some people means a hay day at the local mall, but in Ephrata, the entire community comes together for the annual Tree Lighting ceremony in downtown. Almost overnight, the town transforms into a Christmas haven, with horse-drawn wagon rides meandering through the streets, Santa’s house, a Toyland for the kids, and Belsnickel wandering the streets. If you haven’t met Belsnickel yet that could be a very bad or very good thing – depending on how naughty of a child you were. There will also be a laser light show, Christmas cookies, and food vendors serving warm cups of cocoa and apple cider.
For some reason, the idea of a train ride around Christmas time sounds almost too good to be true. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Ronks, PA is a blast year-round, but for only two Saturdays a year, the station turns into a Christmas dream. With Christmas decorations all over the museum and inside the train cars, paired with costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers show the life of days gone by. Sip some hot cocoa and travel around this magical depot.
The Ephrata Cloister is one of the longest standing buildings in the area and still serves as a spiritual space. On December 9th &10th, seasonal performances and readings will take place in the 1741 Meetinghouse of the cloister. Sing along to hymns written on the settlement, take part in quiet reflections, and embrace the time of year with seasonal readings.
Every year the Lititz Historical Foundation hosts their Christmas Candlelight Tour through the preserved historic home. Learn about Lilitz’s history and what Christmas was like 300 years ago in this little Moravian community. While the building now has electricity, they turn off all the lights and light the candles to immerse visitors in the story. This family-friendly event lasts about an hour and is the perfect evening event to get into the holiday mood.
If the holiday season catches you off guard and you still haven’t found that perfect gift for your secret Santa, unique friend, or significant other, don’t fret. Just head to Lancaster Shops Late, a nighttime shopping event where Lancaster’s retailers stay open extra late so visitors can pop in and out of shops and find that perfect gift. Some stores will also be selling cups of hot cocoa and apple cider to keep you warm and cozy while jumping in and out of stores.
Ring in the new year in the heart of Lancaster. At 10:00 people will start to gather in Binns Park as live music fills the air. Hot cocoa and tasty treats will keep you warm and dancing until midnight when the red rose will drop and fireworks light up the sky. This free event is perfect for couples, families, and anyone willing to stay up until midnight to ring in the new year.Head to one of these great events and start a new holiday tradition. In Lancaster County, there is always something great going on, but the whole county exudes Christmas spirit this time of year. Come for some last-minute shopping, a romantic date, or for a magical weekend of holiday fun. Ready to celebrate the holidays? Book a stay at the Historic Smithton Inn, a charming & modern bed and breakfast in Ephrata, PA.