A Dickens of A Downtown
All Day Saturday in Historic Downtown Ebensburg
The streets of historic Downtown Ebensburg will come alive with the Christmas spirit. Wander into a local restaurant or pub offering Dickens-era food and ale; shop for antiques and collectibles; enjoy checking out the Victorian Costumes! In “Victorian Ebensburg”, don’t be surprised if you run into Father Christmas! You will have the pleasure of walking tree-lined streets outlined by Victorian lampposts, resting on a Victorian park bench and simply enjoying an old-fashioned holiday. It’s a day right out of “Currier & Ives” in Downtown Ebensburg!
Enjoy the cressets in Penn Eben Park, filled with wood and set aflame. A “cresset” is a basket of fire. They were kept continuously alight and placed at the focal point of a community. Around it people gathered for their meetings and social discourse. From it they took fire to light and heat their own homes. Ebensburg’s cressets are hand-made based on 18th century originals.
Breakfast With Santa
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.; Young Peoples Community Center (YPCC)
Making a special pre-Christmas journey direct from the North Pole, Father Christmas (Santa) is inviting kids and their families to a breakfast exclusively at the YPCC! Come join Father Christmas and the Ebensburg Woman’s Club in celebrating the holidays. To help pay for the extra hay required by Santa’s reindeer to make this special trip, admission will be $5.00 per child ages 3-10, $10.00 per adult and per child 11 and over, and children under 3 are free. Enjoy a full breakfast – Create a holiday craft – and Listen to a Christmas story!
Pre-registration is not required this year.
~Cash or check only please~
** All proceeds benefit community events*
For questions, email EWCBreakfastwithSanta@yahoo.com.
Indoor Craft Fairs
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. at Holy Name Church, Dauntless Fire Station & VFW
Visit our holiday craft fair at THREE locations as you begin your Christmas shopping. Over 100 costumed vendors on hand to peddle their wares and serve their fare. Exhibitors will display a wide variety of hand-crafted items such as clothing, home decor, baked goods, spices, wood crafts, metal sculptures, art decor, and numerous other unique products. Our craft shows focus on hand-made original crafts and products, and will grow to be the region’s largest craft show! This event is just what Santa ordered; an enjoyable, affordable place to unwind with friends and family.
The craft fair at Holy Name Church boasts 50 vendors and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is also a bake sale and food booth. The craft fair at Dauntless Fire Station, and right across the street at the VFW, are open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Christmas Shopping Spectacular
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Ebensburg Municipal Building, Community Room
Stop by and check out our selection of crafts, crystals, jewelry, specialty drinks and boutique clothing! Vendors will include: Rhinestone Diva, Basic Bittie, Robin’s Creations, McClain’s Country Crafts, All About That Bling, JB Coffee, Sandy’s Baked Good’s, Socielle Boutique, Kimberly James Boutique and Shawna’s LuLaRoe.
Sugar Cookie Contest, Bake Sale & Children’s Christmas Crafts
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Bishop Carroll High School Library
Join us for a Sugar Cookie Contest, Bake Sale and Children’s Christmas crafts at Bishop Carroll High School. There will be a $5 fee for the cookie contest and prizes will be awarded. Crafts are free. More information can be found at www.bishopcarroll.com.
Vendor & Craft Show
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; First United Church of Christ, Jenkins Education Building
The First United Church of Christ Sunday school program will be having a vendor and craft show in the education Hall from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Food, snacks, and drinks will be for sale with all proceeds benefiting the Sunday School program and activities.
Santa Claus will also be stopping by after his visit to Penn Eben Park and will be available for pictures with your children until 3 pm! Bring your camera and take your own free picture as a special keepsake!
Rotary Club Hot Chocolate Booth
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Penn Eben Park
The Ebensburg Rotary Club will be giving out FREE hot chocolate in Penn Eben Park. Stop by on your way to see Santa Claus!
Model Railroad Display
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; First United Church of Christ
Visit the First United Church of Christ on East High Street and view a model railroad display.
Model railroading has become an integral part of Christmas in America. Ironically, it is undeniable how much Dickens abhorred the rail system and the impending industrial revolution that was to sweep England (and the world) in the mid-nineteenth century. Dickens writes of railways as though they were the epitome of gloom and doom, catastrophic, as demonstrated in Dombey and Son. Charles Dickens seems to be mourning the death of a different life, one he will never return to. Dickens was using the railway and the death of a particular lifestyle as a metaphor for the death of young Paul Dombey.
Charles Dickens is mentioned in most books that were written on the history of the British Rail system, which is indicative of the fact that Dickens’ critique of the railways and the industrial revolution must have reached far beyond the pages of Dombey and Son.
There is no charge for this event.
Saturday, 11:00 a.m.; Downtown Ebensburg
The Ebensburg Christmas Parade is a grand tradition! The theme for this year’s parade and other events is “Winter Wonderland”. The parade begins at the middle school, proceeds down North Center Street, turns right onto West High Street and finally north on Julian Street. The center of town is your best seat! The parade will include holiday floats, local civic organizations and churches, fire equipment, dancers, marching bands, and more. As always, a very special guest from the North Pole will signal the end of the parade and the beginning of the holiday season!
Residents and visitors are encouraged to dress in Dickens-style costume for the parade and their afternoon in Downtown Ebensburg! An entry form can be found here.
Children’s Treats & Photos
Saturday, immediately following parade; Penn Eben Park
As soon as his duties with the Christmas Parade are discharged, Santa Claus will visit the gazebo in Penn Eben Park. There he will distribute free Christmas treats to all good little urchins, compliments of the Central Cambria Lions Club! Mom & Dad are free to take photos of the kids with Santa, or the Dickens staff will take a photo for you and email it to you later. Photos are free, compliments of Claire Terese Photography!
Cresson Lake Playhouse Christmas Tree Toss
Saturday, Noon to 2:00 p.m.; Penn Eben Parking Lot
For a $5 fee, participants will enter a competition to see who can toss a Christmas tree furthest at the Penn Eben parking lot from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. Prizes will be given for the longest tossed tannenbaum. There is no age limit on potential tree tossers who want to show their strength, however a smaller tree will be provided for the younger tree tossers. Proceeds benefit Seedz 4Needz and Cresson Lake Playhouse.
Live Nativity & Nativity Festival Displays – with light refreshments
Saturday, Noon – 3 p.m.; Ebensburg United Methodist Church
In this busy holiday season, take some time to pause and remember the story of Jesus’ birth by stopping by our Live Nativity Journey. Let the Story speak for itself as members of the church portray this ancient story in simplicity and beauty as it continues to bring hope and light into our dark world. Don’t let the rush of Christmas push out the true reason for our celebration. After your journey, please join us in our Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and tour our church family’s Nativity Festival displays. A sight for all to see and enjoy this wonderful season.
Saturday, Noon – 3 p.m.; Penn Eben Park
Two of Santa’s Reindeer will be joining him this year as a special treat! Stop by and get a photo taken with these incredible creatures!
Sleigh & Carriage Rides
Saturday, Noon – 4:00 p.m.; Downtown
Experience an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride or carriage ride through charming Ebensburg. Your ride will take you over the meadow, through the woods to grandmother’s house. Let our holiday sleigh take you back to yesteryear and become a part of your family tradition. You and your whole family will enjoy this nostalgic ride.
Carriage & sleigh rides are only five crown ($5.00) per person.
Mrs. Buck’s Bake Sale & Holiday Open House
Cambria County Historical Society
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm; 615 North Center Street
Join us for our annual open house in the holly-decked halls of the A.W. Buck House, home of the Cambria County Historical Society. Enjoy your favorite baked goods – eat in or take out! Drinks provided. Refreshments, tours and more. Our Christmas tree in the library is always a holiday delight.
The A.W. Buck House was built in 1890 (only 20 years after Dickens’ death) in the Victorian Queen Anne Style. The house belonged to a well-known local banker, and more recently served as a convent until the Society acquired it in 1991. There is no charge for this event.
Contact the Cambria County Historical Society with any questions at 814-472-6674 or by email at: email@example.com.
Old English Prison Tour
Saturday, Noon – 4:00 p.m.; Former Cambria County Prison
The English practiced a peculiar form of punishment for someone who could not pay their bills – a special prison where the offender was incarcerated indefinitely until his creditors were satisfied. The fact that a person in prison was unable to work to earn the money necessary to repay the debt did not enter into their logic. Debtors often died in these prisons due to the terrible living conditions.
Dickens’ father was constantly in debt, and in 1824 he was imprisoned in Marshalsea debtor’s prison. Charles Dickens was forced to leave school at the age of 12. It was his personal experience of factory work and the living conditions of the poor that inspired Dickens to frequently write of workhouses and prisons. For example, in Oliver Twist, Dickens describes Fagin crossing “a gloomy passage lighted by a few dim lamps, into the interior of the prison”. In A Visit To Newgate, he refers to “the tortuous and intricate windings” of the prison. Dickens was a true champion of the poor, and repeatedly pointed out the atrocities of the system through his novels.
The former Cambria County Jail was built in 1872, approximately 50 years after Dickens’ father served his sentence, and two years after Dickens’ death. While certainly not festive, many visitors will enjoy the opportunity to inspect the 19th century lockup. Distasteful and uncomfortable circumstances were common in Dickens’ writings. Of his masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, Dickens said, “I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.” Stop by and visit Cambria County’s version of “Newgate”, London’s infamous prison.
Remember when the charity fundraisers came to Scrooge’s office looking for a handout for the needy and Scrooge responded gruffly, “Are there no prisons… and the Union workhouses, are they still in operation?”
Admission for this event is free.
Family Christmas Movie with Santa
Saturday, 1:00 p.m., Ebenburg VFW (Upstairs)
Christmas Musical Performance of “Where Love Leads”
Saturday, 2:00 p.m.; First United Church of Christ, 217 East High Street
The Christmas musical performance at the First United Church is a Dickens highlight each and every year. Visit this old Historic Welsh Independent Church established in 1797 – the first church in Cambria County. Experience the past in style as you celebrate this “Dickens of a Christmas” concert featuring the UCC Bell Choir accompanied by La Bella Musica. The Bell Choir will also be performing some holiday favorites. Come early – the kids won’t want to miss the Model Train Display in the church basement open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cresson Lake Playhouse’s Santa Pub Crawl
Saturday, 2 p.m. (Registration 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.), Penn Eben Park Gazebo
For a $25 fee, age 21 and older participants can wear festive Santa, Mrs. Claus or elf wear and visit 6 participating bars from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th to purchase specialty pub crawl drinks or other alcoholic beverages. Each bar will also be giving out 10 free drinks to the first arrivals that are participants of the Santa Pub Crawl. The pub crawl will begin at the Penn Eben Gazebo where participants will receive their wristbands and the race for the free drinks will promptly begin at 2:00 p.m. Pre-registration is available online at www.cressonlake.com but wristbands must be picked up at the Gazebo the day of the event from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Proceeds benefit Seedz 4 Needz and Cresson Lake Playhouse.
Pipe Organ Christmas Recital
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.; Ebensburg Presbyterian Church
The Ebensburg Presbyterian Church will be hosting the annual Pipe Organ Christmas starting at 3:30 p.m. on December 7th. The recital will feature various organists and a brass ensemble. The recital is free to the public, but donations towards the restoration fund of the historic organ are appreciated. The recital will be performed in memory of Mr. Tom Nagy.
It’s a Wonderful Life presented by Bishop Carroll High School
Friday, 7:00 p.m.; Bishop Carroll High School Cafetorium
George Bailey gave up on his dreams to help his family and the citizens of his hometown of Bedford Falls. On Christmas Eve after a series of heart-wrenching disappointments and failures, he finds himself on a bridge ready to end it all. With the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence George learns a lesson in just how important his life is in the lives of others, and that he truly is the richest man in town.
Courthouse Decorating Display
Saturday; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cambria County Courthouse
County employees do a terrific job of decorating the courthouse row offices for the holiday season. The courthouse is open to visitors Saturday during scheduled times and is a stop that the entire family will enjoy.
The Cambria County Courthouse was originally constructed in 1880, a decade after Dickens’ death. Major additions were made to the building in the early 20th century. it stands today in its original splendor as an example of Victorian Second Empire architecture.
Cresson Lake Playhouse Holiday Production of “A Cresson Lake Playhouse Christmas Cabaret”
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Cambria County Courthouse
As part of Ebensburg’s “Dickens of a Christmas” celebration, Cresson Lake will be “singing in the holidays” with a program of Christmas music performed by some of the best vocalists in the region. We’re also including a sing-along of carols with the entire audience.
Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the beautifully restored Courtroom #1 at the Cambria County Courthouse, 200 S. Center Street in Ebensburg. Tickets are only $10 and will be available at the door and by calling 814-472-4333.
Indoor Ice Skating
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; North Central Recreation Center
Admission is $5/person, skate rentals are $4/person. Concessions available.
Call 814-419-PUCK or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Lights
Throughout Downtown Ebensburg