The warm glow of Christmas Past beckons all to the 34th Annual Olde Time Christmas Festival in Jim Thorpe, PA, celebrated the first two weekends in December – December 4, 5 & 6, 12 & 13.
Like a scene from Currier and Ives, the village nestled in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains and decorated in Victorian style will kindle the heart and captivate the imagination.
Recognized by Smarter Travel as one of the 10 Best Small Towns for the Holidays and 10 Most Christmassy Things to Do in PA by Undercover PA, the Olde Time Christmas Festival is presented by the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency (JTTA).
With Santa, strolling carolers, characters and musicians, there’s lots of fun for the whole family.
The tree lighting celebration at Josiah White Park (train station) kicks off the festivities on Friday, December 4 beginning at 5 p.m. with music, caroling and dancing. Santa will arrive by firetruck at 6 p.m. to light the Jim Thorpe Christmas tree donated by Beisel’s Christmas Tree Hill in Lehighton.
Also Friday evening, the historic St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 21 Race Street, will host an open house, with tours, caroling, guitar music and refreshments, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Donation requested to benefit St. Mark’s.
Throughout Olde Time Christmas, goers will enjoy train rides with Santa, a gingerbread house display and children’s story time at the Dimmick Memorial Library, 54 Broadway, the 8th annual display of more than 500 crèches from around the world (Dec. 5 & 6) at St. John Lutheran Church, 319 South Avenue, holiday shows and concerts at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 W. Broadway, and shopping Jim Thorpe’s 35 unique shops and galleries for that perfect gift.
Lovers can celebrate a little holiday romance and meet under the mistletoe all over the town named by Philadelphia Magazine as its 2012 Best of Philly: Best Romantic Getaway. The shops, galleries, restaurants, pubs and other local businesses will have sprigs of the “kissing plant” strategically hung. Folks can bring home a little Jim Thorpe love, with mistletoe sold by JTTA outside of the train station in Josiah White Park.
A visit to the Gilded Cupid, 40 Broadway, will take folks back in time with a German old-world themed tree display on Saturdays, December 5 and 12, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fireside stories for children will be presented at 2 p.m. on both days.
J. F. Hiatt’s fireside stories for adults only are also back by popular demand at 9 p.m. on both Saturdays. Reservations are required. Refreshments will be served. $10. A portion of donations from the afternoon and evening events will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
There are many charitable opportunities to give back this year, including the annual Toy Drive and Mitten Tree collections. Likewise, Stone Row Pub and Eatery is celebrating the season with a Steam Punk Tea offering that benefits St. Mark Episcopal Church’s bell restoration fund.
You needn’t go far away to feel as if you’ve gotten away from the stress of the holidays. Jim Thorpe is only 90 minutes from Philadelphia, two hours from New York City and 35 minutes from the Lehigh Valley.
JTTA plans, presents and promotes four major festivals each year: WinterFest (February), the Jim Thorpe Birthday Celebration (May), Fall Foliage (three weekends in October), and the Olde Time Christmas festival (December). These events attract thousands of visitors, who stay at hotels, B&BS, inns and campgrounds in Jim Thorpe and throughout Carbon County.