Santa train ride

A woman poses with Santa during Santa's Paradise Express train ride, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The annual Santa train rides at Strasburg Railroad have a different look than in years past. All riders must wear a mask, including Santa, and rides are operating at 50% percent capacity.

Here are 17 events where you can find Santa in Lancaster County this holiday season.

TREE LIGHTING (WEST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP)

  • Where: West Lampeter Township building, 852 Village Road, Lampeter.
  • When: 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 3.
  • Happenings: Santa will arrive on firetruck but won’t be available for photos or visits. Hot chocolate, cookies and crafts will be available.
  • COVID precautions: All events outside, masks required, social distancing, cookies prepackaged.
  • Canceled: Santa visits at Lampeter Fire Company across the street.
  • Also: Baton twirlers and Lampeter-Strasburg High School band will perform.
  • Info: bit.ly/WLampeterFB 

CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK, SANTA RUN AND LETTERS TO SANTA (LITITZ)

  • Where: Lititz Springs Park band shell, 24 N. Broad St., Lititz.
  • When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 5 and 6.
  • Happenings: Tree lighting, speakers, luminaries line the park, entertainment each night.
  • COVID precautions: Free, but preregistration required; limited to 200 guests per night; masks required, social distancing in bleachers.
  • Canceled: Hometown Christmas at Lititz Elementary School, Scavenger Hunt downtown.
  • Also: Lititz Fire Department Santa Ride, morning of Dec. 5 only, with Santa and Mrs. Claus handing out candy canes; drop letters to Santa until Dec. 18 at the Welcome Center.
  • Info: lititzspringspark.org

SANTA’S HOUSE AND LETTERS TO SANTA (EPHRATA)

  • Where: Ephrata Train Station and Visitors’ Center, 16 E. Main Street, Ephrata.
  • When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5, 12 and 19.
  • Happenings: Santa visits, letters to Santa and traditional guest book sign-in.
  • COVID precautions: One family inside at a time, masks and social distancing required. Santa sits behind plexiglass but children can talk to him. Photos may be taken in front of the mantle, but Santa photos may not work with the plexiglass.
  • Also: From Dec. 4 to 19, letters can be dropped in the mailbox any time. Find it on the parking lot side of the Train Station.
  • Info: ephratachristmas.weebly.com/santa

KRINGLE CARAVAN (LANCASTER CITY)

  • Where: Lancaster city neighborhoods.
  • When: 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4; 9 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Dec. 5.
  • Happenings: Lancaster Bureau of Fire will escort Santa around the city.
  • COVID precautions: Spectators should wear masks and social distance. Residents should view from their own porches, yards or sidewalks.
  • Canceled: Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting.
  • Also: From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 4, Prima Theater LanCarolers perform on trolley.
  • Info: visitlancastercity.com/city-events 

CANDY CANE HUNT (LANCASTER CITY)

  • Where: Brandon Park behind Lancaster Rec, 525 Fairview Ave.
  • When: 6-7 p.m. Dec. 4.
  • Happenings: Children hunt for candy canes, Prima Theater LanCarolers sing at 6 p.m., Santa's Kringle Caravan visits at 6:30 p.m.
  • COVID precautions: All events outside, masks and social distancing required.
  • Canceled: Candy Cane Hunt in Musser Park (relocated to Brandon Park).
  • Also: Free treats from Oola Bowls.
  • Info: info@lancasterrec.org or 717-392-2115.

SANTA CLAUS RUN AND TREE LIGHTING (WILLOW STREET)

  • Where: Willow Street neighborhoods and Willow Street Fire House, 2901 Willow Street Pike N.
  • When: Tree lighting at 7 p.m. Dec. 4, and Santa Claus Runs at 6 p.m. Dec. 5.
  • Happenings: Christmas tree lighting at the firehouse with cookies, hot chocolate and Santa.
  • COVID precautions: No sitting on Santa's lap or Santa pictures, prepackaged cookies.
  • Also: On Dec. 5, the 1956 fire truck decorated with lights visits neighborhoods. Santa's helpers hand out candy canes while wearing masks.
  • Info: bit.ly/WillowStreetFCFB

JINGLE BELL DRIVE PARADE (ELIZABETHTOWN)

  • Where: Elizabethtown between the fairgrounds, 900 E. High St, Elizabethtown, and Brethren in Christ Church parking lot, 996 E. High St., Elizabethtown.
  • When: 4-6 p.m. Dec. 5.
  • Happenings: First 1,000 cars get a goodie bag and then drive through a “reverse parade,” winding past stationary elements (floats, trees, stands, tents, etc.). The drive ends with a chance to drop a letter and wave to Santa.
  • COVID precautions: Stay in car.
  • Canceled: Santa in the Square.
  • Also: Organized by Greater Elizabethtown Area Recreation.
  • Info: getintogears.org 

SANTA EXPRESS (ELIZABETHTOWN)

  • Where: Stone Gables Estate, 1 Hollinger Lane, Star Barn Way, Elizabethtown.
  • When: Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at various times.
  • Happenings: 35-minute train ride with surprise visit from Santa, who gives gift to every child.
  • COVID precautions: Santa will wear a mask, masks and social distancing required for guests, hand sanitizing stations, cleaning between trips.
  • Also: Must prepurchase tickets online, $8 children, $12 adult.
  • Info: stonegablesestate.com

MOUNT JOY WINTERFEST

  • Where: Main Street, Mount Joy.
  • When: 2-7 p.m. Dec. 5. Santa visits between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Happenings: Santa in front of Sheets Funeral Home on Delta Street, parents take own pictures.
  • COVID precautions: All events outside, masks and social distancing required.
  • Also: Fest hosted by Main Street Mount Joy includes food, entertainment and vendors.
  • Info: Facebook.com/MainStreetMountJoy.

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO MOUNTJOY/MAILBOX AT MEMORIAL PARK

  • Where: Downtown Mount Joy; Memorial Park, 101 Marietta Ave., Mount Joy.
  • When: Noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 12.
  • Happenings: Santa will stroll through downtown, greet children and allow photos if socially distanced.
  • COVID precautions: Santa in face shield.
  • Also: Through Dec. 20, letters to Santa can be dropped at the Memorial Park gazebo; nonperishable food items for local food bank accepted at the Milanof-Schock Library, 1184 Anderson Ferry Road, Mount Joy.
  • Info: Facebook.com/mountjoychamber

CHRISTMAS IN CHRISTIANA

  • Where: Christiana Borough neighborhoods.
  • When: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 12.
  • Happenings: Santa rides around town in his sleigh escorted by firetrucks and will also accept food items for the Octorara Area Food Cupboard. Food items can be brought to the sleigh and firetrucks as Santa passes by.
  • COVID precautions: Fire fighters wear masks.
  • Canceled: Santa deliveries to people confined to their homes, hay rides, lunch with Santa, luminary lighting contest.
  • Info: christiana.lions@gmail.com or 610-593-6945.

MOUNTVILLE SANTA CARAVAN

  • Where: Around Mountville borough.
  • When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16.
  • Happenings: Santa will travel to businesses and developments on a Mountville Fire Co. No. 1 fire truck, collecting letters to Santa and giving out pre-packaged treats. 
  • COVID precautions: CDC guidelines will be followed.
  • Canceled: Cookies with Santa (Santa will not be greeting kids at the fire station for cookies and milk).
  • Info: To download a map of Santa's route, visit mountvillefire.com/santa. Also, click here to download a template for your letter to Santa.

SANTA CLAUS RUNS (UPPER LEACOCK)

  • Where: Upper Leacock neighborhoods.
  • When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 19.
  • Happenings: Santa transported through streets while firefighter helpers distribute candy canes.
  • COVID precautions: Firefighters will wear masks.
  • Info: Facebook.com/UpperLeacockFireCompany

SANTA AND GOATS, CHRISTMAS MARKET (LANCASTER)

  • Where: The Amish Farm and House, 2395 Covered Bridge Drive, Lancaster.
  • When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 19. Santa pictures start at 1 p.m.
  • Happenings: Santa sits on a platform at this 15-acre farm watching as families jump in the Christmas sleigh to have pictures with his helpers — baby goats dressed as elves. There’s also a petting zoo and hay rides.
  • COVID precautions: Mostly outdoors, masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer.
  • Also: Barn open for lunch, Christmas Market with vendors. Free, but donations accepted. RSVP encouraged.
  • Info: amishfarmandhouse.com/event/santa-goats

SECA’S SANTA AND LIVE REINDEER IN THE PARK (QUARRYVILLE)

  • Where: Southern End Community Association community building, 299 Park Avenue, Quarryville.
  • When: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 21.
  • Happenings: Santa and his reindeer visit. Pictures and a gift for each child, must preregister for Santa visits. Youth candy scramble presented by Quarryville Fire Company.
  • COVID precautions: All events are outside, masks required, social distancing and hand sanitizer available.
  • Also: Christmas tree decorating contest, a fundraiser for local nonprofits. Attendees cast votes with results announced at the event's conclusion.
  • Info: seca@epix.net or 717-806-0123.

SANTA’S PARADISE EXPRESS (RONKS)

  • Where: Strasburg Rail Road, 301 Gap Road, Ronks.
  • When: Weekends and Dec. 24, various times. Tickets required.
  • Happenings: Santa Claus rides with families to Paradise and back.
  • COVID precautions: Santa in mask, cleaning and sanitizing between train trips, masks required, carolers and musicians perform outside only.
  • Also: Children ages 11 and under receive a gift from Santa. Adults $31, children $15.50 and up.
  • Info: strasburgrailroad.com/ride/events/santas-paradise-express

PHOTOS WITH SANTA AT PARK CITY (LANCASTER)

  • Where: Park City Mall, Center Court, 142 Park City Center, Lancaster.
  • When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays through Dec. 23; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 24.
  • Happenings: Reservations encouraged for visits.
  • COVID precautions: Decorated packages keep Santa and guests distanced, masks required, Santa’s and staff's temperatures checked daily.
  • Also: $39.99 to $49.99 for picture packages.
  • Info: parkcitycenter.com/en/visit/holiday.

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