Ebensburg preps for 18th Dickens of a Christmas

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Ebensburg is gearing up for the 18th annual Dickens Christmas this weekend with a vintage-holiday extravaganza downtown.

Dane Koss, director of community development, said the holiday tradition allows the community to “celebrate the spirit of Christmas” through old-fashioned holiday events, including the New Nativity Play at St. Francis University.

The event also attracts visitors to shop at local stores.

“Over time, it’s kind of turned into a big event where more businesses get involved,” she said, adding that it’s good for the community when new businesses get involved.

The annual celebration begins at noon Friday at the Cambria County Historical Society’s courthouse with a sailing and gingerbread house decorating contest.

The district will mark the official start of Dickens Christmas at 6 p.m. with Kimball Park’s traditional lighting ceremony led by former Police Chief Terry Weiland. Cookies and hot chocolate are available.

Although the weather forecast is calling for bad weather, Kos said that the celebration will be held.

“A lot of people, if it’s raining, they still go out with their umbrellas,” she says. Friday night shouldn’t be affected by rain unless it’s raining.

Also starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, four half-hour performances of “Journey to Bethlehem” – a part of the journey of the Nativity of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem – will be held at the Science Building of the University of St. Francis in Lloret. The performance takes place outside the house.

Breakfast with Santa at 8 a.m. Saturday will kick off that day’s events. The breakfast will be held at the Young People’s Community Center on Prave Street and will be followed by the annual Christmas Parade which is scheduled to start at 11am.

Santa will greet children at the gazebo at Penn Eben Park at 11:30 a.m. and will be joined by the reindeer, all of whom will be available for pictures, Koss said.

Although there are plenty of crafts for kids in the community, Koss said there are plenty of fun events for adults, too — like the Cresson Lake Playhouse Santa Pub Crawl and “Dickens of a Fat Bike Day” at Pour on Center along South Center Street.

“Fat Bike Day is International Day. Pour in the middle will accept that (a) ride on the Ghost Town Trail,” she said, adding that the ride starts at 11 a.m.

She said the gastropub hosts an outdoor event on the patio where adults can sample beers from various regional breweries.

At 2:30 p.m., adults are invited to gather at the Penn Eben Park gazebo for a champagne toast, which will begin with a pub crawl, which requires participants to register in advance.

Registration can be completed online for $25 through the Cresson Lake website at www.cressonlake.com/2023_santa_pub_crawl/. Registration at the park is $35 and registration begins at 1:30 p.m.

Kos said the goal is to try the signature drinks of participating bars. People who visit at least six participating pubs will be entered to win a prize.

“People are encouraged to wear their Santa costume or their elf costume,” she said. “It’s a fun thing to do.”

A new addition to this year’s festivities is an hour-long performance by the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s community strings. A Christmas-themed concert will be held at the Cambria County Courthouse on Saturday at 4 p.m.

A full schedule of Dickens Christmas events can be found at ebensburgpa.com/ebensburg-dickens-events-summary/.

Glass Staff Secretary Matt Churella is available at 814-946-7520.



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