From Twelfth Night Tours to Bargain Busters to an Army's Arrival

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - An amazing array of celebrations and special events illuminate winter in Valley Forge and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. As diverse as frenetic Black Friday sales, gaily decorated homes and historic re-enactments, visitors and residents alike will find no dearth of things to do, places to go and people to see amidst the holiday merriment!

Historic Pennypacker Mills in Schwenksville, once home to Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker, offers free holiday tours from Nov. 22 through Jan 8. The turn-of-the-century mansion is adorned with breathtaking Victorian-era decorations, showcasing traditions and customs of the early 1900s.  

Pottsgrove Manor, in Pottstown, offers guided Twelfth Night tours beginning Nov. 26. The early Georgian-style manor house, built in 1752 for English ironmaster and town founder John Potts, reveals the traditional English celebration of Twelfth Night and illuminates the differences in the ways Christmas is celebrated today.

Black Friday begins midnight at Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick. Strolling Victorian-attired carolers help kick off a weekend of extended hours, super sales and live entertainment. New this year at the King of Prussia Mall, a complimentary shuttle will run continuously, making nine stops throughout The Court and The Plaza, available from mall opening until 30 minutes after closing on weekends.

In addition to Christmas decorations and events, Ardmore's Suburban Square becomes a Hanukkah Wonderland Wednesday, Dec.1, through Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Kids can help build a giant Menorah, create arts and crafts, enjoy an olive oil show and moon bounce, watch puppet and magic shows and sing along to holiday music.

Candlelight Tours of Peter Wentz Farmstead, in Worcester, will be held Saturday, Dec. 4, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. George Washington planned the Battle of Germantown here in the fall of 1777. Softly illuminated and decorated in the tradition of a Pennsylvania German Christmas celebration, the day's highlights include period music and a visit from the mythical "Belsnickel"or, St. Nicholas in furs. The last tour begins at 7:30 p.m.

In quaint Souderton, the annual Holiday Parade heralds the town's shopping season as it has for 52 years. This 2010 theme is "Classic Towns, Classic Christmas" and it steps off at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4.

For a different spin, Glenside's Keswick Theatre presents A Very Merry Doo Wop Spectacular on Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. Rock 'n roll aficionados will identify with and all fans of great music will enjoy guests (and their trademark songs) including Herb Reed's Platters ("Only You"), The Teenagers ("Why Do Fools Fall in Love?"), The Capris ("There's a Moon Out Tonight") and The Bobbettes ("Mr. Lee").  

Switching genres, international gospel superstars, Blind Boys of Alabama, will "Go Tell it on the Mountain" at the Keswick during their Christmas Show on Friday, December 10, at 8 p.m.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove wildlife sanctuary hosts a family-friendly Holiday Open House featuring live music and light refreshments on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A children's "scavenger hunt" will find the little ones searching for charming "teasel critters" tucked amidst the seasonal decorations.

The 52nd Annual Souderton Parade will be held Saturday, December 4, starting at 11 a.m. with marchers parading along Main St. from Summit St. to Broad St, East Broad St. to School Lane. The same day Radio Disney AM 640, part of the number one radio network for kids, tweens, and families will join in the fun for as they host a special event sponsored by Clyde S. Walton for kids and parents at the Pavilion in the Souderton Park by the Scout Cabin featuring music, games, and prizes.

Old-fashioned fun happens on Dec. 10 when Santa flips the switch at the annual Telford Tree Lighting at Penn Ave. and County Line Road. Carolers will stroll in from all around town to join in the illumination that begins at 7 p.m. on Dec.10.

Narberth's downtown becomes a 19th century English village during the Narberth Dickens Festival, on Saturday, Dec. 11. Street musicians, costumed carolers and horse-drawn carriages all pay homage to the esteemed author of The Christmas Carol from noon to 4 p.m. Keep a lookout for Ebenezer Scrooge, who usually comes calling.

When General Washington's tattered Continental Army troops arrived in Valley Forge on December 19, 1777 they weren't thinking about holiday celebrations. Having just eluded the British (warmly bedded-down in occupied Philadelphia), they were more concerned with building shelters, finding food and overcoming deprivation. More than 2,000 lost their lives to disease during that difficult winter.

Commemorating their struggle, Valley Forge National Historical Park will be the site, Sunday, Dec. 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., of a march-in reenactment, guided candlelight tours, Colonial carols and period music. Interpretive park rangers will escort visitors from the Visitor Center to the Muhlenberg Brigade area, sharing the story of the Army's arrival along the way. General Washington will be on hand to meet and greet visitors and refreshments will be served.

To learn about these and other seasonal events in the Valley Forge area, and to plan a weekend escape or holiday hotel stay, visit

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