Bellefonte ready to shine as 37th annual Victorian Christmas takes over town
BELLEFONTE — Still trying to get into the Christmas spirit? Bellefonte has the cure.
The 37th annual Victorian Christmas will be held in Bellefonte this weekend. If it doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, well then, you’re just not trying.
The event will be held from Friday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 9 throughout downtown Bellefonte.
It all kicks off on Friday with horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the town from 5 to 8 p.m. Those depart from the Brockerhoff House on Allegheny Street. The official opening ceremonies take place at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Centre County Courthouse. Those attending can prepare to be greeted on the front steps by Dickens and Company cast members. The Bellefonte Community Band will provide entertainment as will the St. John’s Elementary School Choir.
That really gets the ball rolling and the activities don’t end until Sunday evening.
Sally Houser is one of the chairs for Bellefonte Victorian Christmas. She said that everything surrounding Bellefonte Victorian Christmas makes it a special weekend in the small town, but the cast of characters walking throughout Bellefonte really brings the event to life.
“People in the community eagerly said yes to portray a character,” Houser said. “Bellefonte participants are Janet Kyte, Molly Schwartz, (Bellefonte Area High School principal) Mike Feddison, (Bellefonte) mayor Tom Wilson, Pennsylvania Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, Dr. Joseph Martin, Joyce and John Furfaro and David Dimmick. There are also characters on the streets as the bus goes through town.”
However, Bellefonte Victorian Christmas is not just Dickens characters and carriage rides. One of the most underrated events of the weekend is the “Festival of Trees,” which takes place at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology. There, you can see dozens of trees decorated to the hilt. Those attending can vote on their favorite tree, which are decorated by many professional and civic groups in the area. Admission to the Festival of Trees is $2 for adults and $1 for children.
Speaking of Santa Claus, there will be a Breakfast with Santa. The breakfast takes place on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Faith United Methodist Church, 512 Hughes St. Chip Mock Caricatures will be there and there will be a puppet show as well. Cost is $6 per adult and $3 per child. Tickets are available at the door.
“Faith (UMC) is really excited. They’ve always wanted to be a part of Victorian Christmas, but they aren’t right downtown,” Houser said, speaking to the Centre County Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.
If you can’t make it to the breakfast, Santa will arrive at his house after breakfast and will be there from noon to 4 p.m. On Sunday, he will be inside the house at the same time before heading back to the North Pole.
Maybe you don’t have a little one to entertain. That’s OK, because there’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve Santa Claus or Christmas cookies.
“Fezzwig’s Holiday Party” will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Knights of Columbus. Cost is $25 per adult and $15 for children ages 4 through 15. Reservations and pre-payment are required as seating is limited. For more information about the dinner, call (814) 548-7847.
There will be plenty of arts and crafts for sale as well. Local artists, artisans and crafters will be selling their wares at three locations in Bellefonte: The YMCA on W. High Street, the Bellefonte Elementary School on the corner of N. Allegheny and E. Linn Streets and in the gymnasium at Bellefonte Area High School.
Additionally, there will be an open-air winter market along the waterfront from 3 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. There will be vendors, several food trucks as well as a booth from Big Spring Spirits.
For more information about Victorian Christmas, visit www.bellefontevictorianchristmas.com.
Bellefonte Victorian Christmas
Schedule of Events
A Heartfelt Holiday Hometown Celebration
Some say that “tis not the season” until they experience Bellefonte Victorian Christmas. This merry weekend of old-fashioned holiday entertainment, shopping, and social events embodies what is good and wholesome about this holiday of all holidays.
Victorian Christmas Schedule of Events at a Glance
Here are all the events in chronological order so you don’t miss a thing! It’s a great way to plan your visit to Bellefonte Victorian Christmas. Also remember all venues are subject to change.
Friday, Dec. 7
4 p.m.-8p.m. – Festival of Trees, CPI Proceeds will support the Centre County United Ways Partner Agencies and the CPI Student Organizations.
5 p.m.-8p.m. – Horse-drawn Carriage Rides, departing the Brockerhoff on Allegheny St.
5 p.m.-9 p.m. – Special Santa Speeder Train Rides, $1 pp, starting at the Bellefonte Train Station to The Match Factory and back. Take pictures with Frosty, The Grinch and maybe even Santa Claus.
7 p.m. – Opening ceremonies on the Centre County Courthouse Step
The 37th annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas is Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.
The traditional Opening Ceremony returns to the Centre County Courthouse, Friday evening. Those attending will gather at 7 p.m. and be greeted on the front steps by Dickens & Company and serenaded by the Bellefonte Community Band from the balcony of the Brockerhoff House. Enjoy entertainment by Elementary Grade School Choirs, St. John’s Elementary School Choir and other special performances.
Enjoy Hot Chocolate and Cookie reception after the ceremony (place to be determined and announce at the ceremony).
Saturday, Dec. 8
8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Breakfast with Santa & Victorian Christmas Children’s Party, Faith United Methodist Church, 512 Hughes Street
9 a.m.-6 p.m. – Festival of Trees, CPI Proceeds will support the Centre County United Ways Partner Agencies and the CPI Student Organizations.
9a.m. -4 p.m. – Children’s Ornament Craft available all day for families to create together at the Centre County Library.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Arts & Crafts show and sale, YMCA downtown, Bellefonte Elementary School .
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Bellefonte Art Museum display and sales, 133 N. Allegheny St.
9 a.m.-6 p.m. – Free shuttle bus between Bellefonte Middle School and High School parking lots, on the diamond downtown, corner of Allegheny and Linn, and CPI Festival of Trees
10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Centre County Library Historical Museum, Free tours of our 204-year-old building and museum, James Byrnes’ Hand-Blown Glass Ornaments, Mrs. Claus’ Bakery, Old Saint Nick’s Historic Bookshop, Photos with Mrs. Claus, Holiday music played on an 1890 Steinway Piano, 203 Allegheny St.
10 a.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
10 a.m. – Arietta Women’s Ensemble, Trinity UMC
10:30a.m. – Centre County Library reading of the Polar Express
10:30 a.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
11 a.m.-4 p.m. – Horse-drawn Carriage Rides, departing the Brockerhoff on Allegheny St.
11 a.m. – PSU Graduate Brass Quintet, Trinity UMC
11:30 a.m – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
Noon – 2 p.m. – First Presbyterian Church, at 203 N. Spring St., is holding its annual free Community Turkey Dinner
Noon – 4 p.m. – Santa’s House open on the Diamond
Noon – Callinish, Trinity UMC
12:30p.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
1pm – Children’s Tea at the Little House on W. Howard Street behind the Centre County Historical Museum
1 pm – Penn State Saxophone Studio, Trinity UMC
1 p.m. – To Be announced later – Reynold’s Mansion, 101 W. Linn St
1 p.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
1 p.m. – 2:30pm- Dan & Galla – Bellefonte Elementary Auditorium
2 p.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
2 p.m. – The Curtin Family Ensemble, Trinity UMC
2:30 p.m. – Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour
3 p.m. – Victorian High Tea
3p.m. – Children’s Tea at the Little House on E. Howard behind the Centre County Historical Museum
3 p.m. -Nittany Valley Symphony Youth Flute Choir – Trinity UMC
4 p.m. – Victorian Bellefonte Christmas Choir – Trinity UMC
6 p.m. – Fezziwig’s Holiday Party – Match Factory, 100 Match Factory Place
7 p.m. – Bellefonte Community Band Concert, Bellefonte High School Theatre, 830 E. Bishop Street
Events Around Town
Sunday, Dec. 9
8:30 a.m.-Noon – Knights of Columbus All Can Eat Pancake Breakfast to benefit Toys for Tots
11 a.m.-4 p.m. — Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
Noon- 4 p.m. –Festival of Trees, CPI Proceeds will support the Centre County United Ways Partner Agencies and the CPI Student Organizations.
Noon- 4 p.m. Santa’s House
2 p.m. – Children’s Tea’s at The Little House
3 p.m. – Victorian High Teas at “The Queen” Bed & Breakfast
3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. – God’s Amazing Grace Holiday Concert Faith United Methodist Church winds down the weekend with a musical offering to the community featuring choir, handbells, and children’s choir. The church is located at 512 Hughes. St., Bellefonte.
Free Shuttle Bus
Service and Parking
Free parking is available at the Bellefonte Area High School and limited parking is available downtown due to the BWC Guided Bus Tour and at the Bellefonte Area Middle School.
From the high school parking lot the buses will take you to the Bellefonte Area Middle School then onto the diamond in front of the diamond in front of the courthouse.
Saturday only there will also be a specially marked bus at the high school parking lot and on the diamond that will travel to the Festival of Trees at CPI on Harrison Road.
Due to the Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Guided Tour those attending are encouraged you to park at the High School and use the Free Shuttle. Parking will be very limited downtown.
Shuttle Schedule: Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.