From Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, visitors to Joanna Furnace will be whisked away to the Christmas season of 150 years ago, back to the joyous celebration of the Christmas of 1865. This was an indescribably happy time for the iron master’s family and the village inhabitants at Joanna Furnace. The War is over! After four and a half years, the rugged iron community of Joanna Furnace is now free to celebrate the end to the worst of times. This allows the friends, new and old, to be freed of heavy heart and celebrate Christmas in its true intent. The villagers’ exuberance is shown by the thousands of candles, bonfires, carols and merriment not seen for some time. The iron master invites visitors from all over to join the Smith family and the community to welcome Christmas. Visitors of all ages experience that long ago time and gain a new perspective on their own holiday celebration.
This exciting Christmas celebration takes place Friday and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. with NEW extended hours on Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m.
Over the 26 acres of the furnace site, a large portion will be illuminated by candle light and bonfires. The historic site takes on a nostalgic glow. More than 1000 glowing luminaries warmly light various furnace walkways. Visitors are encouraged to explore the furnace complex by following these clearly defined pathways. All aspects of this night time event set the stage for an unforgettable family experience. Bring your camera!
Savor festival foods surrounded by those you love, stroll through our Christmas Craft Market. The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is proud to provide guests with a variety of wholesome holiday foods. Enjoy such homemade foods as sausage sandwiches, pork & sauerkraut, macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, soups and French fries. Warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, hot mulled cider or coffee.
Browse among holiday craft items sold by dozens of vendors in the annual Christmas Craft Market. Guests will find one of-a-kind gifts such as hand-carved items, various handcrafted fiber and woven items, unique Christmas craft items, baked goods, cookies, candy and additional sought-after food gift items. The items in the Craft Market exemplify the standards and quality for which Hay Creek Event Crafts are renowned. Portions of the Christmas Market will be housed in a heated vendor’s tent to make gift shopping even more pleasurable.
In preparation for the Gift Basket Raffle, local businesses have provided assortments of valuable items. Basket values range from $40 to hundreds of dollars. Also, visitors can enter the Christmas Tree Raffle for chances to win a fresh cut Christmas tree.
For the delight of visitors, on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and again at 5 p.m., the sounds of the season will be performed on stage by the Lukens Band of Coatesville. This band has an exciting history, being formed in 1911 by Mr. Charles Lukens Huston who was vice president of the Lukens Steel Company. Throughout its history, the Lukens Band, which is a non-profit organization, has changed its configuration several times, never losing its primary mission of bringing together casual and professional musicians of all ages to promote the love of music. Visitors will savor this new addition to the event entertainment roster.
Bonfire programs are scheduled to take place at 6 and 7:30 p.m. each evening. Nightly at 6 p.m. join the Joanna Furnace Carolers as they entertain with choral sounds of the season. On Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., the Elementary Music Department of High Point Academy of Geigertown, under the direction of Miss Amelia Ray, will present a concert full of traditional Christmas classics as well as fresh new tunes and fun texts. The singers will consist of approximately 100 vocal students from Kindergarten through fifth grade.
During both programs, Kris Kringle will make a special appearance near the main bonfire. All youngsters should also be on the lookout for the switch-carrying Belsnickle. This curmudgeon will make his presence known by passing out candy to all the “good” boys and girls, and perhaps “something else” for the mischievous children.
On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Joanna Furnace Carolers will entertain. At 7:30 p.m., the High Point Academy Secondary Music Department will take to the stage and present a variety of Christmas favorites. Their program is presented by choral students in grades six through 12. The performance will include several smaller vocal ensembles, of which the highlight will feature a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Silent Night, sung by the 30 member all-female chorus.
On Sunday at 6 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m., the Joanna Furnace Carolers will entertain with sing-along Christmas favorites. Also, Kris Kringle and the Belsnickle will again appear to delight children of all ages.
Strolling carolers will entertain and keep the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the historic site. Enjoy an old fashioned wagon ride with your family as the tractor slowly weaves through the light-painted historic site along the luminary-lit pathways. The Historic Joanna Furnace Blacksmith Shop will be open for visits. Here, visitors can see the village smithy at work. Join Joanna Furnace historians as they lead lantern tours of the historic site. Tours are free. Visitors wishing to join a tour are to meet by the small bonfire in the Christmas Craft Market. Tours will leave at 6:15 and 7:15 p.m. The tours will run approximately 20 minutes.
The Joanna Furnace Mule Stable will be transformed into the Ironmaster’s mansion parlor. Here, visitors have an open invitation from Ironmaster Levi Bull Smith to join his family and members of the community at their annual Christmas party. As visitors enter the warm, glowing, candle-lit parlor, the pleasant aroma of the freshly cut traditional 15 foot tall decorated cedar tree is a welcoming sensation. Visitors are encouraged to mingle with the Ironmaster’s family and friends to celebrate Christmas 1865 and the end of the Civil War. The revelry includes conversation, dancing and 19th century parlor games.
The true meaning of Christmas will be told through a Live Nativity and the arrival of the three Wise men. The Nativity takes place nightly from 6 to 8 p.m. Visitors will also enjoy seeing forests of lit Christmas Trees at two locations over the historic site. Many of the trees are presented in memory of visitors’ or association members’ family or friends.
No Christmas event is complete with toy trains. Children of all ages will be enthralled by the Antique & Vintage Train Display, located in the Mechanical Technology Building, Bay 6. To complete the historic interpretation of early technology, the 19th century line shaft will be operating actual old-time manufacturing machinery.
There is a charge for this even. Children 12 and under are admitted free. There will be free parking on Joanna Furnace grounds.
Joanna Furnace is located three miles north of Morgantown off Route 10. Look for signs, and enter by turning onto Furnace Road. Parking is available on site and along Furnace Road. A safely lighted, easily accessible parking area has been added 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 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Net event proceeds support the education, research and restoration of this significant 18th & 19th century charcoal-fueled iron furnace. For additional information, visit www.haycreek.org, friend Joanna Furnace on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.