County Hosts Holiday Events at Local Historic Sites

NORRISTOWN PA – Historic sites in three western Montgomery County municipalities – Pottstown, Schwenksville, and Worcester – all are offering family-friendly and low or no cost tours and events during November and December to help make your winter holidays merrier, its Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites office reports.

In Pottstown, at Pottsgrove Manor

Pottsgrove Manor’s 18th Century Holiday Frost Fair is scheduled for Dec. 11 (2022; Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the manor, 100 W. King St. It’s where “visitors can gather, explore, find unique items, and learn about the past by immersing themselves in a historic-style market fair,” according to organizers.

Follow the sound of laughter and music to enjoy Tucker’s Tales Puppet Theater. Play a fair game to engage with the past. Keep warm by stopping over at the hot chocolate tent for a sample of this historic beverage. Explore the world of 18th-century goods made by historic woodworking and weaving vendors.

Also, see what recipes are being prepared at the bake oven. Take a look, too, at what the cook is preparing in the reproduction kitchen, and uncover holiday recipes worth bringing to your own table. Then journey through the first floor of Pottsgrove Manor to learn about the history of Twelfth Night traditions from the 1750s.

Visitors will also be able to talk with living history interpreters throughout the museum to hear about life from over 200 years ago.

Frost Fair is primarily an outdoor event and depends on acceptable weather. Come dressed appropriately. Although a $2 per person donation is suggested to attend, free parking and a complimentary shuttle are available nearby at Memorial Park on West King Street. Visitors should be aware they may encounter uneven terrain and steps as they go through the grounds. A handicap accessible entrance to the museum is available; ask about it at the greeter tent.

In Schwenksville, at Pennypacker Mills

Holiday tours offered now through Jan. 8 (Sunday) provide “a breathtaking range of Christmas décor sure to take you back in time,” advocates claim, at Pennypacker Mills, the Schwenksville homestead of former Pennsylvania Gov. Samuel Pennypacker. Admission is free Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. at the mansion, 5 Haldeman Rd.

Visitors will uncover the story behind Christmas of the past (1850), present (1910) and the future (1920), and how each time frame coincided with Pennypacker’s life.

Tours include:

  • An 1850’s Christmas scene when Samuel Pennypacker was a young boy, and there were a few homemade ornaments on the Christmas tree and gifts of the era;
  • A 1910-style Christmas tree decorated with handmade and purchased ornaments, gold, and red beads for shine, and presents under the tree; and
  • In the 1920s, visitors can see how Christmas decorations changed with the use of electric lighting, telephones and the first radio broadcast. Guests can also view early examples of printed gift wrap and tinsel garland.

Throughout the mansion Christmas is celebrated with decorations that reflect the influence of ladies’ magazines, such as Lady’s Home Journal. A large centerpiece graces the dining room table along with a turkey, which was enjoyed every Christmas Day.

In Worcester, at the Peter Wentz Farmstead

Come spend a winter’s eve Dec. 3 (Saturday) from 3-8 p.m. during the annual candlelight event on the Peter Wentz Farmstead at 2030 Shearer Rd., east of the intersection of Routes 73 and 363, in Worcester Township. A $2 per person donation is suggested.

The soft glow of candles will light the way for visitors to explore the historic property, offering a picturesque look at wintertime on a Colonial-era Pennsylvania farm. Call 610-287-9349 to register for timed tickets that allow guests to tour the first floor of the historic house and learn how people made do on cold December nights before the advent of electricity and central heating.

Other activities also will take place throughout the property. Meet members of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment to hear about winter life in the Continental Army, or stop by its summer kitchen to watch an open-hearth cooking demonstration. Those brave enough to approach the Belsnickel will find out if they’ve been naughty or nice … and maybe come away with a treat.

And there’s more

For a comprehensive list of upcoming historic site and events, see the county’s calendar here.

Photo provided by Montgomery County