Dauphin County hosts a series of holiday events at historic Fort Hunter Mansion and Park

HARRISBURG, PA (November 30, 2018) – The holiday season is in full swing at Dauphin County’s Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III and the county’s Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a series of special holiday events, from model train exhibits to the Craft Reunion, Victorian Tea and more.

  • Toy Train Exhibit: HO gauge trains, traveling through familiar central Pennsylvania scenery with sound and visual effects, will be exhibited by the Keystone Model Railroad Historical Society on a layout, which is available for viewing from all sides at the Fort Hunter Tavern. Different trains will be in use every weekend.

When: Weekends from Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

  • Festival of Trees: See Christmas trees decorated by local garden clubs of the Harrisburg Civic Garden Center in the Fort Hunter Tavern. Numerous raffles and handmade ornaments will be for sale. Free to attend.

When: Weekends from Nov. 24 – Dec. 16 from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

  • Craft Reunion Show & Sale: This three-day craft show is eagerly anticipated by generations who like to meet the makers of the fine works on offer. Originally located at Third Street Pottery, this sale continues today with a strong backbone of four functional potters.  Animal lovers will note a playful theme with delightful animals rendered in felt, clay, metal, photography, soap, paper, wire and wood.  Brilliant fused glass, handspun wool, and wooden toys, boxes, and cutting boards tempt the senses.  Ornaments in every medium abound.  This festive event features the finest selection of handmade works, with roots in the traditional crafts of Central Pennsylvania.  Buy local from the best of central Pennsylvania’s artisans.

When: Friday, Nov. 30 from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday, December 1 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Green Sale: Visit Fort Hunter’s annual Greens Sale at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn. Visitors can purchase handmade evergreen center pieces, boxwood “trees” and fresh evergreen arrangements of mixed greens.

When: Saturday, Dec. 1; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2; 11 a.m. until sold out

  • Christmas at Fort Hunter:  Enjoy a guided tour of the Mansion, decorated for the holidays by the Garden Club of Harrisburg with fresh greens, fruits and dried and fresh flowers. To assist in holiday shopping, the Fort Hunter Museum Shop is stocked with tasteful and unique Christmas gift items and is open during museum hours.

When: Dec. 1 – 23; Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Sunday – 12 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Adults - $7; Seniors $6, Children $4

  • Fort Couture - Christmas Tree Dresses:  Visit the Christmas Tree Dress exhibit in the Fort Hunter Stable for a different take on Christmas decorating. Taking their shape from a classic dress form, these Christmas trees will look different than anything you have seen at Fort Hunter. Created by volunteers, Friends of Fort Hunter and local florists, using fresh greens, these Christmas tree dresses will stimulate your senses and add wonder to your holiday preparations. Free to attend.

When: Weekends from Dec. 1 – Dec. 16 from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

  • Kids Only Holiday Shop: At the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, children 12 years old and under will find a Christmas store that they can visit without the help of parents. Elves and Santa’s helpers from the Friends of Fort Hunter will assist youngsters in picking out tasteful and unique items provided by the Museum Shop at Fort Hunter. All items are $10 and under and free wrapping guarantees surprises for family and friends. All purchases support the work of the Friends of Fort Hunter.

When: Weekends from Dec. 1 – Dec. 16 from 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

  • Victorian Tea: Enjoy sweet and savory refreshments at the Victorian Tea at Dauphin County’s Fort Hunter Mansion. In the style of a formal tea, guests will sip spiced tea, nibble tea sandwiches and petite sweets as they wander through the Mansion, viewing decorations of fresh greens and natural holiday trimmings. 

When: Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $10 Tickets available at the door

  • Clear Toy Candy Making Demonstration: A sweet reminder of the past; clear toy candy making will be demonstrated in the summer kitchen of the Mansion during the Victorian Tea. This Pennsylvania-German tradition that dates back to the 1700s involves molding sugar into a hard-candy sculptures. This candy was, and still is, a traditional holiday gift among local Pennsylvanians; one-part play-thing, and one-part edible treat. Candy makers George Kopp and Gina Napoli will demonstrate and have candies for sale.

When: Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Cost: Free; Candy will be available for sale.

  • Saint Thomas Dulcimer Society in Concert: Enjoy a mixture of holiday and seasonal tunes played on mountain dulcimers, Baritone dulcimers, a Bass dulcimer, banjammer (plays like a Dulcimer sounds like a banjo), guitars, harps, a hammer dulcimer, and new this year an Autoharp chorus plus an Irish drum. A holiday sing-along will conclude the concert and the Toy Train Exhibit will be open for a brief visit at the end of the evening. Seating is limited.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Cost: Free

  • Mrs. Santa and Santa’s Reindeer Visit: Visit and take pictures with Santa’s reindeer and Mrs. Santa at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn. Refreshments are available by donation and benefit the Friends of Fort Hunter.  Free to attend. The line to the reindeer closes at 2:15 p.m.

When: Saturday, Dec. 8 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

  • Susquehanna Folk Music Jam Session: SFMS Jams are enjoyable afternoons of homemade acoustic music. Everyone who loves making music or listening to it, regardless of age, performers or non-performers, beginners to experts are welcome. Folk music is at its best when made by hand and shared among friends — so drag that ukulele out of the closet and join in! Bring instruments, ears, voices, and (if you wish) snacks to share. Copies of song words and/or guitar chords help others play and sing along.

When: Sunday, Dec. 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Free 

  • Brass Triumphant in Concert: Enjoy the sounds of the season with an 8-piece brass ensemble at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn.

When: Sunday, Dec. 16; 2 p.m.

Cost: Free

For more information about Dauphin County’s Christmas at Fort Hunter event, please visit www.FortHunter.org or call 717-599-5751. Connect with Dauphin County Parks and Recreation at Facebook.com/DauphinCountyParksRecreation and Twitter.com/DauphinParksRec.

Fort Hunter Park is located at 5300 N. Front St., six miles north of downtown Harrisburg.