Nothing beats Christmas in Manheim

By on December 5, 2018


This restored cabin car (caboose) at the historic Manheim railroad station was decked out in holiday finery to welcome visitors to the Friends of the Manheim Community Library’s Holiday Crossings event.


This festive tree decorated the Manheim railroad station during Holiday Crossings, a Manheim Christmas event hosted by Friends of the Manheim Community Library.


Holiday cheer was evident throughout the Manheim area this past weekend. Festivities kicked off with a program at Manheim Community Library Friday, Nov. 30 and included festively dressed Santas (and even a Grinch) running through the streets, activities at the historic Manheim railroad station complex, a tour of properties decked out in their holiday finery, and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.

Colleen Gergely, the library’s youth librarian, said Cookies, Crafts & Cocoa drew about 150 children and parents/grandparents. Activities included creating a “snowball” launcher, which incorporated STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) learning, a gingerbread house and photo booth, creating 3-D pop-up Christmas cards, building an edible snowman using marshmallows and pretzel sticks, and a snowman version of pin the tail on the donkey.

“This is a wonderful community-based event. Every station was made with the help of community members including a family who came together to create the gingerbread house (a playhouse and photo booth),” Gergely said.

Six volunteers from the Manheim Central High School’s child development class also assisted children at each station.

“As the youth librarian, Colleen visits Little Barons’ Pre-School as part of our story time, so we were glad to help out with this event,” said Debra Strickler, high school child development class instructor and one of the coordinators of Little Baron’s Pre-School.

Saturday, Dec. 1 began with the fourth annual Santa Run and Walk 5K hosted by the Manheim Lions. A number of the Santa garbed participants could be found after the race enjoying Breakfast with Santa at St. Paul’s UCC or at the Friends of the Manheim Community Library’s Holiday Crossings event in the Manheim railroad station.

Isabel Iddings (left) and brother Dean visit Santa during St. Paul’s UCC’s Santa Breakfast

Wynter Brandt (left) and brother Xyaden visit Santa during St. Paul’s UCC’s Santa Breakfast

A representative of St. Paul’s UCC estimated that nearly 250 adults and children visited the church during this event. They were welcomed by a smiling “elf,” and after enjoying pancakes, children could enjoy a visit with Santa. There was also a surprise in store &tstr; a school supply and winter wear giveaway. Akira Owens, youth and family minister, said this is the second year the church has hosted the giveaway in conjunction with the Santa Breakfast. The hats, scarves, gloves and mittens were hand knitted and crocheted, mostly by the church’s women’s fellowship.

Holiday Crossings was held both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors to the Manheim railroad station complex could do a bit of shopping, browse the holiday-themed book sale, sample some tasty treats at the pop-up cafe, and enjoy a visit with Santa. There was also caroling with the Trust Trio.

Stacey Gibble-Barrick, president of the Friends of the Manheim Community Library said the group has 237 members and is hoping to reach 250 members by the end of the year.

“Our current staff is doing a great job and the library is offering some great programs, “she said, “As we prepare for a new library, our funding is helping build staff so the library can offer more programs.”

The library has entered into an agreement to relocate to a new facility that would be constructed as part of Pleasant View Retirement Community’s expansion plan.

The snowman created by Caleb Brubaker.


Erin Brubaker helps her son, Caleb, build an edible snowman using marshmallows and pretzel sticks at Manheim Community Library’s Cookies Crafts and Cocoa, an event that launched Christmas in Manheim celebrations.

Model railroad layouts are part of the holiday magic for both young and old, and Christmas in Manheim had that, too &tstr; the Manheim Historical Society’s Stiegel Valley Model Railroad was also open for visitors to enjoy. Another piece of nostalgia was the peanuts for sale that were roasted in the society’s antique peanut roaster.

Glassblowing was also part of the mix of activities at the railroad complex. Visitors had an opportunity to see the artisans at Stiegel Glassworks create hand-blown glassware and perhaps pick up a holiday gift or two. The glass studio will also be open for demonstrations and sales during the Christmas Folk Art Show at the railroad station on Dec. 14 and 15.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at

Glassblowers Jeremy Friedly (left) and Allanah Green work together to add a nose on a hand-blown glass snowman.


A snowman and Christmas trees crafted by the glassblowers at Stiegel Glassworks 1976.


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