Five reasons to visit small town Indiana, Pa., this holiday season

Ellen Matis

This article originally appeared on the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival website. The festival begins Nov. 18 and continues through the season each weekend.

Indiana, Pa., comes alive every season with holiday events and activities for all ages.

Most prominent is the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Festival held annually. This year, the festival has been expanded through six weekends starting with the kickoff Nov. 18.

Located about 60 miles from Pittsburgh, Indiana will transform into a magical tourism destination in November and December.

Here’s why you should pay picturesque Indiana a visit this season:

1. It’s the Christmas Tree Capital of the World

According to the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, Indiana County harvests more than 500,000 Christmas trees from over 80 farms. During the holiday season, families can come to pick out a tree and learn more about why the evergreen is used for these celebrations.

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2. It’s Jimmy Stewart’s hometown

Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” this season in the star’s birthplace. The film will play at the Jimmy Stewart Museum numerous times throughout the holiday season. Plus, you can visit Stewart’s boyhood home, the church he attended as well as a statue that was erected in his honor.

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3. Thousands of lights will line the streets

Light displays from one of the county’s former holiday lights tours will line Philadelphia Street in the biggest display downtown Indiana has seen yet. During the kick-off festival, a 30-foot Christmas tree will be lit. And, organizers of this year’s festival are bringing back some old, festival traditions.

Read more here.

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4. It’s a great destination for children and families

Events planned for children and families include readings of beloved Christmas stories, visits with Santa and his live reindeer, crafts, music, hayrides, marshmallow roasting and more. Visit this page to learn more. See the full schedule to see which weekend is right for your family to visit.

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5. You can watch your favorite holiday movies

Most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season, you can watch holiday favorites like “A Christmas Story,” “Elf,” and of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for free at the Indiana Theater in downtown Indiana.

See the full lineup of movies here.

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Check out this list of local accommodations during your visit, and while you’re in town, see some of the other entertainment, venues and more that Indiana offers

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