Old-time celebrations pull crowd to Boalsburg for 'Hometown' holiday

Horses clomped down Main Street and the sweet smell of wood smoke filled the air.

Boalsburg Hometown Christmas celebrations took the village’s main drag back in time Saturday. But a gift from Mother Nature — snow that blanketed the area overnight — helped make it a postcard-perfect scene.

“It looks so beautiful, and the snow just makes it look more beautiful,” said Jenni Evans, chairwoman of the Hometown Christmas committee.

The event, sponsored by the Boalsburg Village Conservancy, drew families and shoppers alike downtown. It featured everything from horse-drawn carriage rides to holiday staples like a tree-lighting and caroling.

“It just feels like when you were a kid,” said Evans, who was warming herself by a fire Saturday afternoon. “This is the place you wanted to be.”

The celebration could help a new generation develop that holiday nostalgia.

Local resident Greg Mudzinski and his son Cooper, 9, heard about the event and decided to check it out together.

“It was beautiful; snow was on the trees,” Mudzinski said stepping off the carriage. Cooper said he liked the horses.

Herbie and Nathan, the large draft horses that pulled the carriage, were also in the holiday sprint. They wore Santa hats and were raring to go when owner Frank Zajaczkowski loaded them in their trailer, according to his young daughter, Abby.

“They always have the Christmas spirit,” Abby said of the 1,800-pound Percherons.

Those looking to warm up after a carriage ride found hot chocolate and a glowing fireplace inside the Boalsburg Heritage Museum. Inside, historical tours and exhibits were featured side-by-side with a children’s story time and sing-along event.

Janice Sweet McElhoe, whose ancestors owned the property, said it was good to see an influx of visitors.

“Part of our objective is to education the people in the community,” she said.

And after the history lesson, there were plenty of treats waiting at local shops and from the cookie contest and sale that was held earlier Saturday.

The Hometown Christmas celebration started about 25 years ago and has been a staple for the residents and an opportunity for businesses to show off their products ever since, Evans previously said.

“This is a big community event,” she said. “All the local restaurants and merchants are involved, and we just want people to come and see what Harris Township has to offer.”