Joanna Fur­nace to of­fer Vic­to­rian Christ­mas ex­pe­ri­ence

The Southern Berks News - - ENTERTAINMENT - From Mark Zerr

As Novem­ber draws to a close and the hol­i­days are on the hori­zon, most peo­ple are start­ing to think ahead to the most beloved sea­son of the year, Christ­mas. It makes no dif­fer­ence how you cel­e­brate. One thing is cer­tain; ev­ery­one has their fa­vorite tra­di­tion to make this sea­son ex­tra sweet.

For three evenings, the His­toric Joanna Fur­nace com­mu­nity glows with the warmth of a sto­ry­book-like 19th cen­tury Christ­mas vil­lage. Fri­day, Nov. 30, from 5 to 9 pm, Satur­day, Dec. 1 and Sun­day, Dec. 2 from 4 to 9 pm; throngs of vis­i­tors will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence Joanna Fur­nace Iron Works com­mu­nity in a new light. Thou­sands of lu­mi­nar­ies light the walk­ways through­out the fur­nace com­plex; flood lights gen­tly il­lu­mi­nate the 227-yearold iron fur­nace com­plex; the his­toric build­ings are lit by can­dle­light. Two bon­fires mark gath­er­ing places for warmth and the old tra­di­tional com­mu­nity fes­tiv­i­ties of Carol­ing, sto­ry­telling and meet­ing the Bel­snickle. Vis­i­tors will once again be able to ex­pe­ri­ence the ex­cite­ment of a 19th cen­tury Joanna Fur­nace Christ­mas and gain a new per­spec­tive on their own Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions.

Bring your cam­era to record the 19th cen­tury! The en­tire his­toric site takes on a nos­tal­gic ro­man­tic new glow. Vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to ex­plore the fur­nace com­plex by fol­low­ing lighted lu­mi­nary path­ways. All as­pects of this after dark-event will set the stage for an un­for­get­table fam­ily Christ­mas-time ex­pe­ri­ence.

Sa­vor fes­ti­val foods sur­rounded by those you love, stroll through our Christ­mas Craft Mar­ket. The Hay Creek His­to­ri­ans are proud to pro­vide guests with a va­ri­ety of whole­some hol­i­day foods. En­joy such home­made foods as sausage sand­wiches; hot dogs; pork and sauer­kraut & mashed pota­toes; soups, chili; and French fries. Warm up with a steam­ing cup of hot choco­late, hot mulled cider or cof­fee.

The Christ­mas Craft Mar­ket is com­prised of over 30 ven­dors. Most ven­dors are lo­cated in the out­door Christ­mas Mar­ket. In the ex­panded area, a heated tent will house a num­ber of ven­dors. This year there is an even more ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of qual­ity gifts from which to choose.

Ex­am­ples of the qual­ity craft gift items in­clude home­made wreaths, al­paca hats and scarves, can­dles & soaps, jew­elry, wrought iron pieces, bot­tled wine va­ri­eties with wine tast­ing and other hol­i­day dé­cor items. In this year’s Gift Bas­ket Raf­fle, jam-packed gift bas­kets with a com­bined value of over $2000 have been do­nated by lo­cal busi­nesses. Vis­i­tors can also en­ter the Christ­mas Tree Raf­fle for chances to win a fresh cut Christ­mas tree for only $2.

Vis­i­tors can walk through the his­toric com­plex. Guests are free to walk about the com­plex, chat with the vil­lage res­i­dents and meet some of the vil­lage work­ers. The Store­keeper is keep­ing the Joanna Fur­nace store open for guests, the Black­smith in the Black­smith Shop is wait­ing for vis­i­tors and the mold­ers in the cast­ing house are hard at work prepar­ing to make fur­nace prod­ucts. The tours and build­ing vis­its are free.

Danc­ing and rev­elry recre­ate the hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties of the iron­mas­ter and his fam­ily in the late 1800s. Vis­i­tors are in­vited to come to the mule sta­ble and join the danc­ing and hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions. The iron mas­ter L. He­ber Smith and his new bride Ella Jane Grubb Smith will wel­come all guests to their recre­ated par­lor in the mule sta­ble and cel­e­brate their first Christ­mas to­gether. There ev­ery­one will be able to learn pe­riod dances and Vic­to­rian par­lor games…. and join in the fes­tiv­i­ties. The recre­ated man­sion par­lor will be adorned by the tra­di­tional large cedar Christ­mas tree just as in the Smith fam­ily man­sion a cen­tury and a half ago.

Cozy­ing up by an Invit­ing Bon­fire: Vis­i­tors will find the stage bon­fire sur­rounded by benches to be a great cen­tral meet­ing place. Ev­ery­one is in­vited to en­joy the hol­i­day stage en­ter­tain­ment at this bon­fire. Kris Kringle will make an ap­pear­ance at the fire and will read a 19th -cen­tury Christ­mas clas­sic for the de­light of the young and young at heart.

And, as usu­ally hap­pens at this event, the un­in­vited switch-car­ry­ing Bel­snickle is sure to be present at the main bon­fire. He will pass out treats to the “good” boys and girls .... naughty boys and girls, be­ware!

Trains, Toys and Old Time Ma­chin­ery .... In the Me­chan­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing. No Christ­mas event is com­plete with­out toy trains. Chil­dren of all ages will be en­thralled by the An­tique Train Dis­play – lo­cated in the Me­chan­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing. To com­plete early 19th-cen­tury tech­nol­ogy in­ter­pre­ta­tion, the Joanna Fur­nace line shaft will be op­er­at­ing ac­tual in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion era man­u­fac­tur­ing ma­chin­ery.

Wagon Ride, Lu­mi­nary Path­ways, and more: En­joy old-fash­ioned wagon rides with your fam­ily through lu­mi­nary path­ways and the gen­tly lighted Joanna Fur­nace com­plex. There is a small fee charged for the Wagon Ride ac­tiv­ity. Face paint­ing will also take place in the heated tent and on Satur­day evening fam­i­lies can en­joy get­ting their pic­ture taken in the Christ­mas photo booth.

Vis­i­tors are also en­cour­aged to stroll through the path­ways of the 26-acre Joanna Fur­nace site lighted by thou­sands of lu­mi­nar­ies. Back again this year is the large light maze which will chal­lenge young­sters and the young at heart.

Ad­mis­sion is $7 for adults, Chil­dren 12 & un­der are Free. Park­ing is free.

Joanna Fur­nace is lo­cated three miles north of Mor­gan­town off Route 10. Look for signs and en­ter by turn­ing on Fur­nace Road. Park­ing is avail­able on site and along Fur­nace Road. A safely lighted, eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble park­ing area is lo­cated along Fur­nace Road. For the safety of vis­i­tors, all are en­cour­aged to avoid park­ing along route 10.

The Hay Creek Val­ley His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion. Net event pro­ceeds sup­port the ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and restora­tion of this sig­nif­i­cant 18th & 19th cen­tury char­coal-fu­eled iron fur­nace iron works and com­mu­nity. For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion visit www.hay­, friend the Hay Creek Val­ley His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion on Face­book or call 610-286-0388.


Vis­i­tors can visit the Iron­mas­ter’s Fam­ily in the man­sion and learn about Vic­to­rian par­lor games at the Christ­mas at Joanna event.


Vis­i­tors can in­ter­act with the Joanna Fur­nace in­trepreters and learn the dances of the 1860s.

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