`Uniquely PA’ Christmas Celebrations Feature Old-Fashioned Culture and Charm

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Horse-drawn carriage rides through a quaint Victorian town; a yonder star in a town called Bethlehem; and holiday gift markets that re-create the allure of distant lands. Within a few hours drive of nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population, Pennsylvania provides a nearby, home-away-from-home to live the magic and old-fashioned charm that captures the true spirit of Christmas.

Head to central Pennsylvania where ladies in long traditional dress ride in horse-drawn carriages, men in top hats greet visitors and the sounds of holiday carolers ring during Bellefonte’s Victorian Christmas. Explore a complete 19th century Victorian England miniature Dickens Village laid out in the Bellefonte Museum; experience the elegance of a traditional Victorian High Tea; take in the Bellefonte Historic Homes Tour and a Victorian Brass Concert. Children can make ornaments or climb aboard a horse-drawn buggy ride of their own. December 9-11.

In eastern Pennsylvania, Bethlehem, declared by city officials in 1937 as the “Christmas City of the United States,” celebrates the holidays with special events, tours, unique shopping experiences and a giant, guiding star atop a hill.

Bethlehem is home to Christkindlmarkt, a holiday market featuring more than 75 visual artists and craftsmen, food, live holiday music, ice carvings, children’s entertainment and decorations. Bethlehem’s historic downtown offers one-hour walking tours lead by guides dressed in Moravian costumes who share the stories of the 250-year-old city and the people and places that made it a center of culture and industry in early America. Dec. 8-11 and Dec. 15-18.

The landscape sparkles in south central Pennsylvania each holiday season as York’s Christmas Magic lights up a half-mile of woods in Rocky Ridge Park with 250,000 lights, animation and entertainment. Named one of the top 13 events in the country by the Wall Street Journal, and one of the top 10 holiday events in Pennsylvania by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christmas Magic is open in the evenings through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-31.

Other “must-see” holiday celebrations and attractions in Pennsylvania include the National Christmas Center in Paradise, Lancaster County, Christmas in Hershey (south central PA), and downtown Indiana’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” celebrations in honor of hometown star Jimmy Stewart (southwestern PA).

For a complete list of “must-see” holiday events, log onto http://www.visitpa.com/mediaroom. For more information about Pennsylvania’s holiday celebrations, or for information about Cabin Fever Month, two-for-one hotel rooms in January 2006, go to http://www.visitpa.com/ or call (800) VISIT PA.

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