There’s No Place Like Happy Valley for the Holidays
The Best of the Season’s Shopping, Celebrating, and Santa Greeting
For the happiest season of all, what better place could there be for holiday fun than somewhere with “Happy” right in its name? Holiday festivals, seasonal concerts, treats, sightseeing… There are so many ways to celebrate in Happy Valley this holiday season. Here’s a preview of our favorite holiday events to add to your calendar.
Buy Unique Gifts
Happy Valley has you covered for all your gift giving this year. Visit the Holiday Craft Festival in Huntingdon December 1-3, the Winter Craft Market at Mt. Nittany Middle School December 3, the Holiday Art & Ornament Sale at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art December 3, or the Stocking Stuffer Sale December 2-3 for antiques, fine art and crafts.
Santa is making several trips to Happy Valley this year, so it’s easy to make sure the kids don’t miss out on seeing the big man himself at least once. You can treat them to Breakfast with Santa on December 3 and 10 at the Nittany Lion Inn. Enjoy a delicious start to your day, and take home a complimentary photo with the star guest, Santa. Head to the Bellefonte Court House on November 26 for the annual Santa Arrival, or venture into Lincoln Caverns to see Santa in the Cave December 10-11. During the Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, you can stop in and see Santa at Pizza Mia! on North Spring Street. On December 9 and 10 from 1-3 p.m., there will be face painting and gifts for the kids. From December 10-23 during the hours of 5-8 p.m., Santa and one of his elves will deliver your order!
Celebrate the Season
There’s a holiday festival in every corner of Happy Valley. Enjoy music, food and drink, local vendors and good spirits at the 7th Annual Christmas in Lemont German-style festival December 2-3. At the Boalsburg Hometown Christmas festival December 2-3, choose from a huge array of activities, including breakfast with Santa, carriage rides, caroling, tree decorating, Christmas crafts, and of course, tons of merchants and food. At the 34th Annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas December 9-11, you can enjoy A Christmas Carol, arts and crafts, food, tours and much more. And don’t miss out on First Night, everyone’s favorite New Year’s Eve celebration that takes place in downtown State College.
Take in the Sights
Sometimes, the best parts of the holiday season are the simple things. On November 17, see the lighting of the magnificent Allen Street Christmas tree at the annual Downtown Tree Lighting, where holiday cheer is spread and hot chocolate, cookies and carols are shared. The Arboretum Winter Celebration on December 9 offers a beautiful view of lighted tree displays throughout the gardens. Or check out the Holiday Home Tour, which takes you through the beautifully decorated homes of State College’s historic West College Heights on December 4.
Taste Some Treats
It wouldn’t be the holidays without festive food and drink events. For the wine lovers: the Heartland Christmas Wine Trail is a delicious wine tasting journey through Central PA’s great wineries, including our hometown favorites Mt. Nittany Winery, Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellars. You’ll also receive a cookie cutter and favorite recipe from each winery, and a grapevine wreath to hold them all. Tickets are good for any or all of the weekends of November 19-20, November 26-27, and December 3-4. For other treats: reserve a spot at the Christmas Tea and Candlelight Tour December 4 at Boalsburg’s Boal Mansion for a special high tea with incredible food. Or, take the family for some classic Gingerbread House Making at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center December 10.
In the arts and entertainment department, there are plenty of seasonal shows to enjoy. Home Free: A Country Christmas brings holiday favorites with a country spin to the State Theatre November 13. Kenny Rogers makes a stop at Eisenhower Auditorium December 17 for his Kenny Rogers Christmas & Hits Tour, which will feature both his long list of hits and Christmas classics. It’s also the beloved singer’s final farewell tour. And, it’s the perfect time to see the holiday favorite The Nutcracker performed at the State Theatre December 16-18.
There are fun ways to stay active in Happy Valley even during the colder months. Get your November fix with the Boalsburg Turkey Trot on November 26, then brave up for the Polar Bear Plunge at Black Moshannon State Park December 14, and start the New Year off right with the Resolution Run 5K in Downtown State College on New Year’s Eve. Each of these events benefits a great charity, so the season for giving is the perfect time to participate.