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Take a carriage ride down Gettysburg's Main Street to save your energy for shopping and cocoa drinking./ A Gettysburg Christmas Festival

Christmas is a magical time for both young and old, and Main Street Gettysburg is helping families celebrate the season by hosting an event that has been 11 months in the making. What was once “A Victorian Christmas” and limited to the Steinwehr Avenue area, was replaced last year with “A Gettysburg Christmas Festival,” a one-day celebration that includes the entire town. The event was so popular that it has been extended to three days this year. “We began planning last January for this year’s special event to be held from Dec. 6-8,” said Dru Neil, steering committee member.

Plenty of free activities

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Gettysburg's townsfolk are dedicated to making the holiday experience memorable./ A Gettysburg Christmas Festival

According to Neil, the three-day extravaganza will be jam-packed with activities galore, many of which are free. On Friday and Saturday night, guests will be treated to free movie screenings at Foursquare Church. Friday night will kick off with, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” to be followed on Saturday by an animated Christian Comedy called “The Star,” which has been known to bring smiles to the faces of both young and old.

Additional free activities will include craft making for kids at the Rupp House History Center and “Reindeer Games,” on Lincoln Square, featuring interactive family fun for all ages. The ever-popular carriage rides will also return this year and to enable families to preserve precious holiday memories while attending the festival, a free photo booth will be set up at the Dobbin House Tavern.

Get a jump start on Christmas shopping

Merchants will help kick off events with a cookie walk, providing cookies, discounts and more. Steinwehr Avenue will twinkle brightly as part of “Winter Wonderland” with thousands of lights and 20 live trees to help visitors get into the Christmas spirit.

There will be plenty of opportunities to buy a unique gift for that special someone at the Gettysburg Christmas Festival, starting with the Trinity United Church of Christ’s 41st Annual Holiday Bazaar, which will last the entire weekend and include home cooked food, soup, baked goods and hand crafted, one-of-a-kind gifts.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to peek inside the historic G.A.R. Building, Gettysburg’s oldest standing church building dating back to 1822. There, guests will be able to purchase hand crafted holiday gifts and homemade baked goods.

Musical entertainment

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Children will be delighted to see Santa--both plush and person!/Jon Dawson (Flickr)

There will be no shortage of festive music at the three-day celebration. Friday night will feature “Cocoa and Carols” at the Historic Christ Lutheran Church, to be followed by a holiday concert featuring St. Paul’s Brass Quintet at Trinity United Church of Christ. To entertain festival guests on Saturday, a fiddler will be strolling the streets of Gettysburg and a Cornet Band will perform at O’Rorke’s Family Eatery.

The a cappella group Capital Blend will perform at the Gettysburg Middle School auditorium on Saturday, with proceeds benefiting the festival and fans of Disney’s “Frozen” will want to mark their calendars for a musical that features songs from the popular children’s movie. Performances will be held all three days at the Gettysburg Theatre.

Holiday Film Fest 2019

If you’ve ever wanted to see the historic Majestic Theater, now is a good time to visit. On Saturday, a selection of popular holiday movies will be on tap, from The Polar Express, to Elf, A White Christmas and A Christmas Story.

This is just a sampling of the many activities created to help families kick off the Christmas season.

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