Holiday Festivals in PJM States  


Throughout the PJM footprint, in big cities and small towns, people will celebrate the holiday season this December. Here are just a handful of the celebrations that will occur throughout the PJM footprint.

Specific-Date Events

Washington, D.C. – Lighting of the National Menorah: On Dec. 2, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, founder and president of the Capitol Jewish Forum, will light the menorah in a ceremony on the Ellipse on the National Mall. Thousands attend the ceremony every year. The event is free, but tickets are required.

Fairmont, W.Va. – The Festival of the Seven Fishes: This annual festival (Dec. 7 and Dec. 8) showcases the area’s Italian heritage. On Dec. 7 is the Festival Cucina, during which chefs prepare the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner of seven different fish dishes. An all-day Italian street market will take over the town on Dec. 8.

Annapolis, Md. – Parade of Lights: There are holiday events all through the month in Annapolis – including the Annual Chocolate Binge Festival – but one of the highlights is the Lights Parade on Dec. 8, when beautifully decorated boats cruise in Annapolis Harbor.

St. Joseph, Mich. – Annual Reindog Parade: On Dec. 8, look out for a Santa Bernard at the 20th annual Reindog Holiday Parade, which features dressed-up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Santa Claus himself arrives in town at the end of the parade.

Leesburg, Va. – Hanukkah Celebration: During Hanukkah, the town puts on a celebration in the Village Plaza, including menorah lighting and a donation drive. The big party is on Dec. 9.

Newark, N.J. – Kwanzaa Festival: On Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, visitors can celebrate Kwanzaa with a dance and drum workshop at the annual festival and marketplace, presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Valley Forge, Pa. – March In of the Continental Army: One of the highlights of the year at Valley Forge National Historic Park is the annual Dec. 19 commemoration of the day in 1777 when General George Washington led the army into Valley Forge for what would become a six-month encampment. The “march in” marked what ultimately became the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

Extended events

Ashtabula, Ohio – Lights-on-the-Lake: On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through Dec. 31, visitors can drive through Lake Shore Park’s 54 acres to see the largest light display on Lake Erie.

Bethlehem, Pa. – Christmas City: (pictured) At the Christkindlmarkt Festival find ice sculpting demonstrations and art glass demonstrations. Tour Historic Bethlehem, which dates to the 1700s, or visit with candy PEEPS on Dec. 31, and watch the Chick Drop – an almost-five-foot, 400-pound lit PEEPS Chick that will descend at 5:15 p.m.

Bluefield, W.Va. – Holiday of Lights: Every weekend through Dec. 31, the Bluefield City Park has a free show featuring more than 850,000 lights. In addition, visitors can drop off donations or canned items as they exit the park.

Chicago, Ill. – A Plethora of Holiday Festivals: Visitors to the Second City can attend ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Nov. 23–Jan. 6, 2019) or the Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier (Nov. 30–Jan. 6, 2019). There are holiday-themed events at the city’s world-renowned museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago’s Holiday Thorne Rooms (Nov. 17–Jan. 8, 2019) and the Museum of Science & Industry’s Christmas Around the World exhibit (Nov. 15–Jan. 6).

Indiana, Pa. – It’s a Wonderful Life: This town in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains was the hometown of actor Jimmy Stewart. And it celebrates the holidays in a big way with a six-week “It’s a Wonderful Life” festival. See the movie at the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

Lewes, Del. – Christmas Village: Through the end of December, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal will become Christmas Village with an ice skating rink, live music, indoor holiday workshops, a strolling Santa and carnival rides, including a giant Ferris wheel. Check the Winter WonderFest website for dates.

Philadelphia Region – City of Brotherly Lights: Center City is packed with holiday pop-ups such as the nightly show at Dilworth Plaza (the Made in Philadelphia craft show and Christmas Village are nearby) and the Ben Franklin-inspired Franklin Square Holiday Festival. Take a drive to South Philadelphia for a traditional rowhouse lights display. For an experience like no other, usher in 2019 with the nation’s oldest folk celebration, the Mummers Parade, on Jan. 1.

West Orange, N.J. – Turtle Back Zoo: Through Dec. 31, celebrate the season of giving by bringing donations of non-perishable food items, new toys and gently used coats to the zoo. About 50 animal and holiday-themed figures will light up the zoo and surrounding Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.