Experience the holidays with a German-Amish influence

Jane and Marvin Bond

Hop on one of the Santa excursions on the Colebrookdale Railroad during the holiday season. (Pennsylvania Americana Tourism) 

The Christmas tree isn’t the only German holiday tradition to make its way into the American celebration. The Berks County area around Reading marks the season with tours, lights, and even two “Christkindlmarkets.”

For the 70th year, the Koziar family lights up the holidays with one of the most fantastic walk-through light displays you can find.

Koziar’s Christmas Village is an annual treat for some, but worth the trip to Bernville if you only do it once. It’s open weekends Nov. 4 through Thanksgiving, and then daily through Jan. 1.

The Allentown & Auburn Railroad in Kutztown offers scenic excursions, but adds Santa to the mix on select dates beginning Nov. 18. The Colebrookdae Railroad begins various Christmas-themed excursions starting Nov. 19.

Also, on Nov. 18, the local artisans “Fall Into Winter” tour invites participants to visit with potters, jewelry makers, and even artisan cheesemakers and brewers. 

The decades-old Christmas Craft Fair at the Leesport Farmers Market brings 350 crafters and artisans under one roof for holiday shopping Nov. 25–26. 

On Nov. 25, the Candlelight Open House at the Ephrata Cloister brings together local artisans and food and music to enjoy. Artisans, crafters, food, and entertainment bring holiday cheer to the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center in Kutztown on Dec. 2.

Two holiday home tours welcome seasonal visitors with decorations. The Boyertown Open House Tour and Festival of Trees is Dec. 1 and the Centre Park Historic District tour is Dec. 10.

Two German-inspired Christmas markets are great holiday festivals to enjoy. The Reading Liederkranz Christkindlmarket in Reading is Dec. 2 and the Christkindlmarket at the Daniel Boone Homestead in Boonsboro is Dec. 9.

In nearby Lancaster County

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum hosts a number of holiday events, including the Country Christmas Village, Dec. 2–3, with its emphasis on German holiday traditions, decorated buildings, a Civil War winter encampment, tavern foods, and mischievous “Der Belsnickel.”

Kitchen Kettle Village in Inter-course is always a fun place to shop, but the holidays bring more music, entertainment, special guests (did someone say “reindeer”?) and even dinners with Mrs. Claus. 

The Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Café is the place for “Cookies, Carols & Santa Claus” on Dec. 9. Get a taste of the holidays and join the celebration with Santa and Mrs. Claus. While in Bird-in-Hand, enjoy a seasonal show such as Our Christmas Dinner or The Magic & Wonder of Christmas at the Bird-in-Hand Stage. Both shows have dates Nov. 7–Dec. 30.

This may be the last opportunity to visit the National Christmas Center in Paradise, which features a huge collection of Christmas exhibits and memorabilia. After 19 years, the attraction expects to close in January. 

 

Pennsylvania Americana Tourism 

Hop on one of the Santa excursions on the Colebrookdale Railroad during the holiday season.

 

Pennsylvania Americana Tourism 

The Centre Park Historic District Tour is Dec. 10.

 

Kitchen Kettle Village 

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, Pa., including the s’mores station.

 

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