The evenings of December 2—4, visitors to Joanna Furnace will be whisked away from the anticipation of their own Christmas season—back to the joyous celebration of the Christmas of 1872. Whether families come for unique holiday shopping, wonderful light holiday treats, to experience the candlelit 200-year-old furnace complex, to hear Christmas music, or even have the kids encounter the Belsnickel . . . everyone is enthralled by the transformation of Joanna Furnace into a 19th-century-holiday experience.
Christmas 1872 was a grand time for the Smith ironmaster’s family and the residents of the Joanna Furnace community. They celebrated the Holiday and gave thanks that the furnace was busy providing income to so many families. In fact, it was during this period of time that the ironmaking business was the most prosperous for the Smith family as they were operating two charcoal iron furnaces. Nationally, suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time and fined $100 for being in defiance of the law, and Republican President Ulysses S. Grant just won his second term in office. Visitors of all ages will be able to experience that long-ago time and gain a new perspective on their holiday celebration.
Candlelight illuminates the entire furnace complex.
The historic site takes on an entirely new radiance — over one thousand glowing luminaries warmly light various furnace walkways. Visitors are encouraged to explore the furnace complex by following the clearly defined pathways. All aspects of this nighttime event set the stage for an unforgettable family experience. Visitors are encouraged take pictures with their cell phone.
Also, carefully placed lighting illuminates the historic buildings’ exteriors to give visitors a new perspective of the furnace complex. Inside, each building is illuminated by lamps or candles to recreate an 1870s atmosphere.
The Joanna furnace Mule Stable is transformed into the parlor of the Victorian mansion of Iron Master L. Heber Smith and his wife Ella Jane Grubb Smith. As visitors enter the candle lit parlor, they will see and smell the pleasant aroma of the freshly cut cedar Christmas Tree.
In the parlor, the Smith family members have gathered to prepare for a beautiful family Christmas celebration complete with a dining room table set for their upcoming feast, playing parlor games, making crafts and sharing stories about past Christmases at Joanna Furnace by the fireplace. Guests are invited to interact with family members to learn more about the family and life in the iron furnace community.
Victorian dancing will also take place at the event in a large heated tent. The Hay Creek Trio will perform various old-time music while the Hay Creek Dancers will entertain visitors with period dances. Guests are also invited to step onto the dance floor and participate in the period dancing.
Outside, in front of the stage, the largest of the roaring bonfires becomes the focal point of the furnace community. Here all can warm up by the fire and enjoy bonfire performances by local community organizations on the stage. Near the holiday bonfire, from time to time, the Belsnickel has been known to appear and delight visiting children.
Traditional wagon rides and MORE give visitors of all ages an alternative way to explore Joanna Furnace. Rides are $2 per person and occur weather permitting. The youngsters can also visit the Kid’s Santa Craft Workshop and face painting inside one of the heated tents. The Morgantown Arts Center will be providing various holiday craft activities for children in this workshop. Plus, the Children’s Light Maze is always a favorite for guests at the event.
The historic buildings will be open for visitors to explore. Visitors can take self-guided walking tours of the Joanna Furnace ironmaking complex and visit the Blacksmith Shop, Casting House, Wheelwright Shop and Office/Store. NEW IN 2022 — Live metal casting demonstrations will take place each evening in the Casting House where visitors will see aluminum Christmas stars being poured. These limited edition stars along with other unique traditional gifts will be for sale in the Joanna Furnace Office/Store building.
Savor festival foods
The Hay Creek Historians are proud to provide guests with a variety of delicious holiday foods. Enjoy such homemade foods as sausage sandwiches; hot dogs; hamburgers, pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes; macaroni & cheese, a pork barbeque & macaroni bowl, grilled chicken sandwiches, soups, chili; and homemade “Furnace” fries. Warm-up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, hot mulled cider and coffee. Unique homemade Holiday cupcakes and freshly made kettle corn will also be available to purchase.
Visitors can enter the Christmas Gift Basket Raffle. The raffle contains gift baskets and certificates donated by area businesses and vendor participants at the Christmas event. These items can be shared at holiday parties & social gatherings, given as gifts to friends and family, and enjoyed for your own personal use.
The Christmas Craft Market provides a showcase for visitors to shop for holiday gifts and home decorating items. Selected items available for purchase from the handpicked vendors include things such as baked goods, cookies and candy; assorted holiday décor items and crafts; hand-made wood Items; homemade soaps. Other unique gift items such as hand-crafted blacksmith items, stoneware pottery, hand-knit scarves, jewelry, candles, fresh Christmas wreaths and more are available. Rebel Hive Meadery from Reading, PA will also be at the event giving out samples and selling their delicious wines by the bottle.
Admission is $10.00 for adults, Children 12 & under are Free. Parking is free on-site.
“Christmas at Joanna” happens Friday December 2, from 5 pm to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday, December 3 & 4, 4 pm to 9 pm at Historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works “Where the Spirit of Christmas Comes Alive”!
Joanna Furnace is located three miles north of Morgantown off Route 10. Look for signs and enter by turning on Furnace Road. Parking is available on site and along Furnace Road. A safely lighted, easily accessible parking area is located along Furnace Road. For the safety of visitors, all are encouraged to avoid parking along route 10.
The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a non-profit organization. Net event proceeds support the education, research, restoration and preservation of the significant 18th & 19th century Joanna Furnace Iron Works, Tri-County Heritage Library and the Hay Creek Valley community. For additional information visit www.haycreek.org, friend Hay Creek Valley Historical Association on Facebook or call 610-286-0388.