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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:12:07 16:53:56

Vincenzo Mannina of Old Forge confers with Santa at a previous Sno Forge. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE TIMES-TRIBUNE

This weekend, downtown Old Forge will once again be overtaken with the Christmas spirit.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, the borough will celebrate its fifth annual Snow Forge, a free Christmas-themed event organized by a dedicated group of borough residents.

The festivities will take place from 2 to 6 p.m., culminating with the lighting of the Old Forge Christmas tree on the Borough Building lawn, followed by fireworks.

Initially inspired by the annual Christmastime festivities in Jim Thorpe, the always evolving and growing Snow Forge will feature numerous family-friendly attractions along Main Street, which for the second year in a row will be completely closed to vehicular traffic.

“The whole purpose is to get people to come to Old Forge to see how great our little town is,” said Snow Forge committee member and former Old Forge mayor Bob Mulkerin. “Every year, we plan throughout the year to make it bigger and better.”

Activities will include: pictures with Santa Claus; trolley rides with Mrs. Claus; Kid Zone activities; an ice carver; a brass band; old-timey Christmas carolers; student performers; and horse-drawn wagon rides. Other returning favorites include live reindeer and the Jingle Bell Jog, a 1.2-mile fun run along Main Street that will start Sunday at 11 a.m. at Augustine’s Club 17.

Also, there’s the ever-popular Craft Fair, which this year will feature about 68 vendors selling everything from wreaths and other holiday decorations to alpaca sweaters and specialty foods.

“The first year, we had about 20 vendors. So it’s definitely grown, and people want to get in on it,” said Snow Forge committee member Kelsey Renzi. “A lot of the same vendors are back, but we have a lot of new faces, too.”

The craft fair also provides free space to the Old Forge School District sports teams and various local non-profit organizations, who will be selling baked goods, spirtware and other apparel for fundraising purposes.

“It’s a great way for groups and school teams to promote themselves, and raise some money in the process,” Mulkerin said.

Meanwhile, about 65 Old Forge businesses will participate in the annual Festival of Trees, for which they’ll custom-decorate a Christmas tree to be displayed outside their building.

“We get so much support from the businesses in town,” Mulkerin said. “And obviously, we encourage them to be open for Snow Forge.”

Generous monetary contributions from those borough businesses, along with a Lackawanna County grant, make it possible for the Snow Forge committee to put the event on for free. Planning for Snow Forge takes up most of the year and includes the group’s annual Christmas in July happy hour fundraiser.

“Without the support of the community, we wouldn’t be able to put this on,” Mulkerin said. “The first four years have been great, and we’ve been very fortunate to have great weather. So, fingers crossed there.”

“It’s a lot of work, with a very small group of people putting it together,” Renzi added. “But it’s worth it, because it’s a great day.”

 

If you go What: Fifth annual Snow Forge

Where: Downtown Old Forge

When: Sunday, Dec. 2, 2-6 p.m.

Details: Admission is free. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.