The holiday season is definitely one of the most magical times to live in Bellefonte. This year, old events and new events alike are slated in our downtown.
Now in its 37th year, the annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas weekend kicks off on Friday, Dec. 7, with a traditional opening ceremony at the Centre County Courthouse.
“The hometown spirit and the love of the history and beautiful architecture of Bellefonte are an essential part of (Victorian Christmas’) longevity,” said Sally Houser, president of Historic Bellefonte Inc., which hosts the event. With each new generation the event sees “a renewed spirit,” Houser said, making it memorable for both Bellefonte residents and visitors.
Event highlights that weekend include “Fezziwig’s Holiday Party,” when the Fezziwig family requests your presence at a dinner party complete with theatrical performances; Dickens strolling characters, singers and musicians; arts and craft shows at two downtown locations; History-On-Wheels guided bus and homes tours; Victorian teas; and more.
A personal favorite activity during Victorian Christmas is a horse-drawn carriage ride through beautiful downtown Bellefonte.
For the first time this year, the Bellefonte Historic Railroad Society is hosting special Santa Speeder Train rides on Friday during the Victorian Christmas festivities from 5 to 9 p.m. Rides begin at the Bellefonte Train Station.
Friday through Sunday, other events are happening around town as well.
New this year, an open-air winter market highlighting local makers and artisans will be held Dec. 8, from 3 to 9 p.m. on the Spring Creek Waterfront on the Lamb Street Bridge. The event, Bellefonte Under the Lights: Winter Market, is free and will feature local craft beverage producers selling wintertime favorites, a s’mores station and more. Make a season wish on the Wishing Tree during your visit. This event is hosted by Downtown Bellefonte Inc., Bellefonte’s newly revitalized, economic development-driven organization.
Local artisans will be displaying and selling their works all through December at the Bellefonte Art Museum of Centre County, which always has free admission. This year’s holiday show and sale is called “Color Your World,” and features hundreds of handcrafted items and fine art created by more than 50 artists. Stop by and visit the display and in addition, check out the new Twiga museum store.
On Saturday, kids can participate in an ornament craft activity at the Centre County Library on Allegheny Street, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. At 10:30 a.m., there will be a reading of “The Polar Express.” And, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day, the Centre County Library Historical Museum hosts free tours of its 204-year-old building and museum, where you’ll be able to take photos with Mrs. Claus and hear music played on an 1890 Steinway piano.
Throughout the season, don’t forget to shop locally in downtown Bellefonte. The downtown’s unique stores and friendly business owners make it the perfect place to find gifts this year.
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.
Note: Bellefonte Under the Lights: Winter Market will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday along the waterfront walk and Lamb Street bridge
-Centre County Gazette
FRIDAY, DEC. 7
4 to 8 p.m. — Festival of Trees, CPI. Proceeds will support the Centre County United Way’s partner agencies and the CPI student organizations.
5 to 8 p.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides, departing the Brockerhoff on Allegheny Street.
5 to 9 p.m. — Special Santa Speeder Train Rides, $1 per person, starting at the Bellefonte Train Station to The Match Factory and back. Take pictures with Frosty, the Grinch and maybe even Santa.
7 p.m. — Opening ceremonies on the Centre County Courthouse steps. Those attending will be greeted on the front steps by Dickens and 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 and Bellfonte elementary school choirs and other special performances. Enjoy a hot chocolate and cookie reception after the ceremony.
SATURDAY, DEC. 8
8:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Breakfast with Santa & Victorian Christmas Children’s Party, Faith United Methodist Church, 512 Hughes St.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Children’s ornament craft available all day for families to create together at the Centre County Library.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Arts & Crafts show and sale, YMCA downtown, Bellefonte Elementary School.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Festival of Trees, CPI. Proceeds will support the Centre County United Way’s partner agencies and the CPI student organizations.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Free shuttle bus between the 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. — Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour.
10 a.m. — Arietta Women’s Ensemble, Trinity UMC.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Centre County Library Historical Museum. Free tours of the 204-yearold 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. to 4:30 p.m. — Bellefonte Art Museum display and sales, 133 N. Allegheny St.
10:30 a.m. — Centre County Library reading of “The Polar Express.”
10:30 a.m. — Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour.
11 a.m. — PSU Graduate Brass Quintet, Trinity UMC.
11:30 a.m. — Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Horsedrawn carriage rides, departing the Brockerhoff on Allegheny St.
Noon — Callinish, Trinity UMC. Noon to 2 p.m. — First Presbyterian Church, 203 N. Spring St., is holding its annual free community turkey dinner.
Noon to 4 p.m. — Santa’s house open on the diamond.
12:30 p.m. — Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour.
1 p.m. — Children’s Tea at the Little House on West Howard Street, behind the Centre County Historical Museum.
1 p.m. — Penn State Saxophone Studio, Trinity UMC.
1 p.m. — TBA – Reynold’s Mansion, 101 W. Linn St.
1 p.m. — Bellefonte Women’s Club History On Wheels Tour.
1 to 2:30 p.m. — 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.
3 p.m. — Children’s Tea at the Little House on West Howard Street, 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 St.
SUNDAY, DEC. 9
8:30.a.m. to Noon — Knights of Columbus all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast to benefit Toys for Tots.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides.
Noon to 4 p.m. — Festival of Trees, CPI. Proceeds will support the Centre County United Way’s partner agencies and the CPI student organizations.
Noon to 4 p.m. — Santa’s house open.
2 p.m. — Children’s Teas at The Little House.
3 p.m. — Victorian High Teas at “The Queen” bed-and-breakfast.
3 to 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.
Free shuttle bus service and parking
Free parking is available at the Bellefonte High School and limited parking is available downtown due to the BWC guided bus tour and at the Bellefonte Middle School. From the high school parking lot the buses will take you to the Bellefonte Middle School then onto 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, you are encouraged to park at the high school and use the free shuttle. Parking will be very limited downtown. Shuttle schedule: Saturday, Dec. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.