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Boalsburg Hometown Christmas Shares the Village's Rich History

by on December 04, 2019 5:00 AM

By Terry Swanger

The Boalsburg Hometown Christmas committee welcomes local residents and those from neighboring communities to celebrate the coming holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Annually, we share our rich history on the first Saturday in December and invite friends and visitors to enjoy a true, smalltown Christmas experience.

Our village was established in the early 1800s as the town of Springfield, officially taking on the name of Boalsburg in 1820. Many of the prominent buildings built on the early stagecoach route that is now Main Street still stand on their original sites.What we know today as “The Diamond” was a traffic circle for wagons. Imagine that as you enjoy a carriage ride down Main Street to see these original homes first-hand. The carriage ride drops you off close to the Boalsburg Heritage Museum, built in 1825, with its summer kitchen and beehive oven offering up fresh gingerbread cookies served with hot beverages.

We invite you to begin your day at the Boalsburg Fire Hall for breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 8:30-11 a.m. This is a popular happening that may require some wait time for available seating. Fill that time with a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. We will have a photographer present so that parents may be part of their children’s photo op with the jolly elf.

An art display created by Mount Nittany Elementary School students will also be available for viewing. It will feature the drawing contest winners from kindergarten through fifth grade, but includes all the completed entries. There is also a children’s book sale and a holiday cookie sale available during breakfast and local girl scouts volunteering to help youngsters with Christmas crafts.

The carriage rides described above begin at The Diamond at 10 a.m. and run until noon at a cost of $3 per person. If you prefer, there will be walking tours from The Diamond to the Boalsburg Heritage Museum guided by Boalsburg history experts — this is a wonderful, new addition to this year’s festivities. Also in The Diamond is a petting zoo featuring Willow the pony, Tucker the goat, Waldo the llama and other furry and feathered friends, underscored by Christmas music throughout the day.

From 3 to 4 p.m., join Richard Sleigh and friends back at the Boalsburg Fire Hall. Sleigh will host an hour of family holiday music featuring his harmonica class participants and local musician J.T. Thompson. Bring your singing voice as printed lyrics will be shared with the audience so that all can sing along.

The festivities continue at 4:45 p.m. as we move to The Diamond for the community tree lighting. This year we will be featuring the renowned a cappella ensemble “Rama- Lama!” They will keep us warm no matter the weather with Christmas carols while we await the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Again, the Boalsburg Fire Company comes to the rescue and delivers them on a fire truck. After a few magic words from Santa and a rousing “Merry Christmas” from all on hand, the community tree will light up, signaling the official kick-off of Boalsburg’s holiday season.

As all in attendance continue to enjoy hot cocoa courtesy of the Boalsburg Lions Club, the Mount Nittany Elementary drawing contest winners will be announced, followed by prize drawings of gift baskets donated by local businesses and Boalsburg merchants. Entries for the drawings are available at Boalsburg shops and businesses.

Everyone is encouraged to cap off the day at the family friendly Holiday Hop at the Boalsburg Fire Hall. Dance to DJ music till your legs give out.

Our village holiday celebration is intimate and unique. We are proud to be a village whose footprint has changed very little since the 1860s. So join us to celebrate a holiday that reaches far into our past. Come join.

Terry Swanger is a member of the Boalsburg Hometown Christmas committee.

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