Christmas in Bethlehem: Awesome Festivals for the Holiday Season
Bethlehem, PA is called “The Christmas City” for a reason that is plain and simple: we LOVE our holidays! Walking up Main Street feels like walking through a Christmas wonderland with lights, wreaths, and Christmas trees scattered throughout. Bethlehem hosts a variety of Christmas events and festivals that are open to the public. Moravian College even offers some holiday events of their own to get students into the holiday spirit. To get the full Christmas City experience, I have a few events listed below to check out at Bethlehem during the Christmas Season.
Vespers is a traditional service throughout the Moravian College and Bethlehem communities. Music and liturgy are combined with a candlelight ceremony; making this event a Moravian tradition unlike any other. The music pieces throughout this service are a great way for visitors to get into the Christmas spirit, while the candlelight service adds a touch of Moravian Tradition.
I attended this event last year at the Central Moravian Church. As attendees walked in, the Moravian College trombonists played Christmas songs in the top tower of the church. Once we walked in the church was packed with people while the Moravian College Choir was singing hymns. I was very impressed by the ceremony and I would highly recommend it for students wishing to experience a Moravian Tradition.
2. Evening on Main Street
Evening on Main Street is an event hosted by the Moravian College Alumni Association. Participants in this event can shop around participating stores that are offering special deals for one evening only. People go to the Hotel Bethlehem to pick up bags with complimentary gifts and a booklet with deals from participating stores. For every store you visit, an employee stamps your booklet, and those stamps help determine the amount of raffle tickets participants get for a big raffle basket of Moravian spirit wear in the end. The more stamps you have, the better the chance you have at winning the big raffle basket. There were also several little raffle baskets in the Hotel Bethlehem that people could use pre-purchased raffle tickets for. I went to this event for the past two years with my mother and it was a great way to get our Christmas shopping done. It was also nice to walk up and down Main Street during the Christmas season and seeing all of the different shops ready for the holidays.
Christkindlmarkt is a Christmas shopping festival that is held in the SteelStacks complex in downtown Bethlehem. The term Christkindlmarkt is derived from Germany and it is an event when several towns and cities hosted outdoor markets to allow people to shop for the holiday season. Shops participating in this event feature items such as homemade foods and pastries or handcrafted ornaments and gifts.
Christkindlmarkt was first introduced in Bethlehem in 1993 from ArtsQuest and has been a growing festival ever since. While adults shop for gifts and try different foods, children can feel free visit Santa Claus and tell him what they want for Christmas. This festival has even been recognized as one of the top holiday markets by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Christkindlmarkt lasts from Thursday-Sunday on the weeks of November 17th to December 23rd.
4. Christmas Tours and Shopping at the Hotel Bethlehem and around Bethlehem
Special Christmas Tours are also offered in the Hotel Bethlehem and around Bethlehem itself. At the Hotel Bethlehem, guests and visitors can tour of the Christmas decorations in the main lobby and walk around to the ballroom and the mezzanine. They can also gaze at the towering Christmas trees in the main hall and the numerous Christmas decorations around the hotel.
People can also visit the Bethlehem Visitors Center and sign up for one of the various Christmas Tours around Bethlehem. The Visitors Center holds bus tours at night, carriage ride tours, or walking tours throughout the day. I have taken both a bus tour and a walking tour and I feel that they were both amazing ways to showcase the history of Bethlehem, especially during the Christmas season.
5. Koziar’s Christmas Village
Koziar’s Christmas Village is a dazzling display of Christmas lights just outside of the Lehigh Valley. The reflection of the lights on the lake also adds a magical effect to the overall experience. This is a family-owned attraction that rose to popularity in 1948 after William M. Koziar decorated his home and farm. It has been a huge tradition for the Koziar family that they wish to share with all of their visitors. This display also received several awards, such as the “Best Outdoor Display in the World” and the “Award of Excellence as one of the Top Ten Travel Attractions in Pennsylvania.” So, if you are looking for a light show to blow you away, definitely check out Koziar’s Christmas Village.
Image courtesy of http://www.koziarschristmasvillage.com/home/
PEEPSFEST® New Year’s Celebration
After Christmas is over, Peepsfest is a great way to celebrate the New Year. This festival celebrates the PEEPS® Brand with various family friendly activities at SteelStacks. Kids can enjoy a Family Disco Lounge and various performers from Musikfest. While adults can participate in a PEEPSFEST® 5K sponsored by Just Born. At the end of the festival, families come together to watch the PEEPS® Chick Drop, which is when a 4 ft., 9-inch-tall light up PEEPS® comes down to ring in the New Year.
For more information visit http://www.steelstacks.org/festivals/peepsfest/
Bethlehem hosts various Christmas events and festivals that are a great way to get into the spirit this holiday season. If you have never experienced any of these festivals or events, you should definitely check them out. They are a great way to learn about some traditions and experience festivals that convey the true essence of holiday spirit in Bethlehem, PA.