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-year-old 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.haycreek.org, friend the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.