The holiday season is here — and with it, myriad opportunities to visit with Santa Claus. If your children are excited to share their wish lists with Santa in person this year, check out these events throughout Lancaster County.
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Tree Lighting: On Friday, Nov. 25, a tree lighting ceremony will be held in the parking lot of Weiser's Market, 805 Main St., including free doughnuts, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee, as well as an opportunity to meet Santa. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., and Santa will arrive around 7 p.m. via vintage fire truck.
Christmas Village: On Friday, Dec. 9, from 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., Santa will be available at the Christmas Village, 2760 Old Philadelphia Pike, for visits and photo opportunities. Kids can also take photos with reindeer and enjoy a s'mores bonfire starting at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 10, while Santa will not be present, families can enjoy carriage rides around the village ($6 per adult, $4 per child under 12), visits with Elsa and Anna from "Frozen," Christmas caroling, and more.
More info: bird-in-hand.com/event/christmas-village.
Ice Cream with Santa: Meet Santa on Sunday, Dec. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Turkey Hill Experience, 301 Linden St.. Santa will read a Christmas-themed story; crafts, cookies and ice cream will also be included. Ticket costs vary by age (ages 2 and under are free; ages 3-12: $24.95; ages 13+: $14.95). More info: turkeyhillexperience.com
Santa Express: Enjoy a narrated train excursion and surprise visit from Santa on the Harrisburg, Lincoln and Lancaster Railroad, departing from Stone Gables Estate (1160 North Market Street). Dates: Friday, Nov. 25; Saturday, Nov. 26; Saturday, Dec. 3; Saturday, Dec. 10; Saturday, Dec. 17; Monday, Dec. 19; Tuesday, Dec. 20; Wednesday, Dec. 21; Thursday, Dec. 22; Friday, Dec. 23. Trains will depart on the hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on each event date. Tickets cost $15 per adult, $10 per child (ages 5-17) and children 4 and under are permitted to sit on a parent’s lap for free; tickets must be purchased online ahead of time. More info: stonegablesestate.com.
Holiday Parade: Elizabethtown’s "Rock-in the Holidays" themed parade will start 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 on S. Market St. Santa will arrive on one of the final parade floats. Afterwards, Santa will be available for visits from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cottage on the Square. More info: facebook.com/gears.rec.
Trying to plan out your post-Thanksgiving weekend?
Santa’s House: Santa will arrive at 16 E. Main St. on Friday, Nov. 25, and will be available to visit with children for free through Saturday, Dec. 17. Kids can drop off their letters in a North Pole Express mailbox, and visit with Santa, who will be seated behind his desk. Santa is available for photos, but children will not be allowed to sit on his lap. Dates: Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 3-17. Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. More info: ephratachristmas.weebly.com/santa.
Hershey Gardens: Visit with both Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory at Hershey Gardens on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visits are included in the gardens’ admission price. More info: hersheygardens.org.
Kitchen Kettle Village: Santa arrives in Kitchen Kettle Village, 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, on Friday, Nov. 25 and will be available for visits and photos from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Harvest Cafe. Santa will be available for visits and photos on the porch of the Jam & Relish Kitchen from 10 a.m. to 10:30 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. More info: kitchenkettle.com
Mayor’s Tree Lighting: Santa will arrive in downtown Lancaster on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting in Penn Square. The event begins at 5 p.m. and will include live music, Santa and the lighting of the tree. More info: visitlancastercity.com
Light Up Southeast: Take a free train ride with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at a holiday festival on North St. (between Rockland St. and S. Duke St.). The event will include face painting, music and entertainment, food trucks and an ugly sweater contest. Kids coats will also be given out for free to children who attend the event. More info: visitlancastercity.com
Cookies with Santa: Visit with the official Philadelphia Holiday Parade Santa on Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Tiny Town, 533 Janet Ave. This event features a “melanin Santa,” “to appeal to Lancaster area residents who may appreciate and resonate more with a melanin Santa Claus,” according to a news release. Cookies, milk, photos with Santa and time to play in Tiny Town’s playhouses are included in ticket price ($25 per child, $15 per adult). Tickets and more info: tinytownpa.com
Santa in the City: Santa will be visiting neighborhoods throughout Lancaster City, escorted by the Lancaster City fire and police departments. Spot Santa on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m; and Saturday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info: visitlancastercity.com
Breakfast with Santa: A Concrete Rose book bar, in partnership with the Crispus Attucks Community Center, will host a Black Santa 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 10-11 at 910 S. Duke St., Suite 105. Doors open at 8:40 a.m. Tickets are $20. More info: aconcreterose.com/events.
Santa & Goats: The Amish Farm and House, 2395 Covered Bridge Drive, will host an event 1 p.m. Dec. 10 offering photos with Santa and his “helpers” - the farm’s baby goats. Other offerings include hayrides, a holiday scavenger hunt with prizes and more. Entrance is by donation, and funds raised go toward feeding the farm’s animals this winter. Cash or credit accepted. More info: facebook.com/amishfarmandhouse55.
Santa Brunch: Wyndridge Farm Lancaster, 398 Harrisburg Pike, will host a Santa brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 11. There will be a chance for photos with Santa, plus treats for the little ones and hot cocoa. Adults can enjoy a new brunch menu and an adult beverage, including a build-your-own-mimosa bar. Reservations are required; call 717-296-8102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Park City Mall: Visit Santa in the Center Court of Park City Mall through Saturday, Dec. 24. Santa will be available for photos. Walk-ups are available, though advanced reservations are recommended. More information and to make your reservation: parkcitycenter.com.
Christmas lights will illuminate Lancaster County this season, if you know where to look for them.
Christmas in the Park: Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance at the bandshell in Lititz Springs Park on Friday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. This free, annual Christmas in the Park event will also include the lighting of the community Christmas tree, a carol sing and performances from Warwick Concert Choir and Encore Dance Center. More info: lititzspringspark.org.
Breakfast with Santa: Enjoy a free pancake and sausage breakfast, take photos with Santa, make a family-friendly craft, and take home one free goody bag per child at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 50 N. Main St., on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9 to 10 a.m. More info: stpaulsuccmanheim.org.
Santa Comes to Millersville: The Millersville Business Association has provided 200 filled stockings for this event at Millersville University’s Student Memorial Center, 113 Shenks Lane, which will also offer photos with Santa, crafts to make and take, holiday music, hot cocoa, cookies, a magician and vendors to shop. Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable item for the Millersville Area Meals on Wheels.
Winterfest: Visit with Santa or write a letter to the North Pole at the Mount Joy Winterfest on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Main Street. The tree lighting commences at 7 p.m. The event will include live music from the Big Boy Brass Band and food vendors. More info: facebook.com/MainStreetMountJoy
Library visits: TheMount Joy Chamber of Commerce will be hosting visits with Santa on Saturday, Nov. 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Milanof-Schock Library, 1184 Anderson Ferry Road. All children will receive a free holiday-themed coloring page, crayons and a cookie. Lanco Federal Credit Union will also be giving each family a free 5-by-7-inch photo with Santa. A food truck will be on site with food and beverage options available for purchase. More info: mountjoychamber.com.
Santa Caravan: With the help of the Mountville Fire Company, Santa will be traveling throughout Mountville on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For the full schedule of Santa’s stops and more info: facebook.com/mountvillefire
Train Rides with Santa: Take a train ride with Santa Claus at the Strasburg Railroad, 301 Gap Road. Christmas trains run through Saturday, Dec. 24. Purchase tickets and find more info on the Santa Claus Limited and Santa’s Paradise Express trains: strasburgrailroad.com/christmas-train.
Christmas in the Park: Christmas in the Park will run from Friday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. in Terre Hill Park. The event will include visits with Santa from 6 to 8:30 p.m. nightly in the Community Center (second floor), as well as food vendors, horse drawn carriage rides, a live nativity and more (costs vary). More info: terrehilldays.com.
WEST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP
Tree Lighting: A tree lighting event will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at 852 Village Road (the West Lampeter Township building, across from the firehouse). Santa will arrive at 7 p.m. The event will feature performances by Melanie’s Miracles Baton Group, the L-S High School Band and Girl Scouts of the Hans Herr Service Unit. More info: westlampeter.com.
Tree Lighting: The Willow Street Fire Company will be hosting a tree lighting event on Friday, Dec. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fire Company, 2901 Willow Street Pike N. Santa will arrive on a fire truck, and the event will include cookies and hot chocolate for attendees. More info: facebook.com/WillowStreetFireCo.