Christmas Festival Brings Holiday Cheer to Gettysburg

For this year’s Gettysburg Christmas Festival, downtown businesses decorated to fit their theme; the Spirited Ladies Shoppe held a speakeasy, complete with card games in the back of the store (Photo Thea Toocheck/The Gettysburgian)

For this year’s Gettysburg Christmas Festival, downtown businesses decorated to fit their theme; the Spirited Ladies Shoppe held a speakeasy, complete with card games in the back of the store (Photo Thea Toocheck/The Gettysburgian)

By Thea Toocheck, Staff Writer

The appearance of December and the approaching end of the semester heralds another arrival: that of the holiday season.

It is hard to miss, what with the multi-holiday decorations in Servo and the library, the snowman tree in Commons, and festive music playing whichever way you turn.

The town of Gettysburg celebrated the arrival of the holiday season with the Gettysburg Christmas Festival. In the past, it has been held on the first weekend of December in shops on Steinwehr Avenue.

This year, the festival was expanded and divided into six sections, each a different period Christmas theme. Chambersburg Street was Roaring Twenties; Baltimore Street was Civil War and “Our Christmas Heritage”; York Street was Colonial, and Steinwehr Avenue was Victorian.

Highlights of the festival took place inside existing stores, meaning festival goers had to search for various activities.

Stores on Chambersburg Street, however, participated enthusiastically in the Roaring Twenties theme by playing a mix of jazz and Christmas music.

In A&A Village Treasures, employees were dressed in period clothing, and one serenaded customers with requests to try samples of pickles. For those less fond of pickles, free samples of jam, varieties of dips, and coffee were available as well.

In the Spirited Ladies Shoppe, the dressing rooms were converted into selfie booths complete with boas, fedoras, and strings of pearls; the small back room, meanwhile, was decorated as a speakeasy.

Across the street at Fresh Boutique, live mannequins dressed as flappers sat in the windows, sometimes surprising passersby with sudden movements.

In the town square, musicians stood on the veranda of the Gettysburg Hotel playing Christmas carols; on the opposite corner, eager children formed a long line to meet Santa Claus. Earlier in the day, the hotel had hosted a breakfast with Santa.

Meanwhile, at the gallery Lincoln Into Art on Baltimore Street, guests could also meet Lincoln himself.

In the Grant Building, gingerbread houses made by community members were displayed, and visitors could vote for their favorite.

While the festival was supposed to include a parade, the all-day rain required administrators to cancel it the day before.

Despite the dreary weather, the festival seemed to have decent attendance.

In fact, the 2 p.m. showing of It’s a Wonderful Life at the Majestic Theater was completely sold out.

Afterward, One Lincoln’s dinner menu was inspired by the movie.

Though the festival is over, a towering Christmas tree remains in the town square. Holiday music continues to play everywhere, and increasingly cold weather has some students hoping for snow.

Still, the festival was a great way to bring the town together and instill in visitors the beginning of the holiday spirit.

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Author: Thea Toocheck

Thea Toocheck '21 plans to double-major in English and History. She loves traveling (she's been to six continents), reading, writing (she's self-published four books), musicals, and her dog (his name is Cosmo). Thea is also a fan of sleeping, Harry Potter, and anything Disney. Follow her on Instagram @theajoytooch.

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