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LehighValleyLive: Easton and Bethlehem managing to have some holiday fun amid pandemic

December 11th, 2020 |

Written by Connor Lagore for Lehigh Valley Live

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to cause cancellations and postponements in nearly every facet of life, both Easton and Bethlehem aren’t letting it damper their respective holiday spirits. While each city’s typical holiday hubbub will be a bit different this year, they both have plenty of activities to safely participate in.


In Easton, thanks to the Greater Easton Development Partnership and its programs, the fun starts with the Winter Village that’s livened up Centre Square since Black Friday. Organizers this week announced additional hours Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 21-23, for shopping noon to 6 p.m. and for skating on the synthetic rink noon to 4:30 p.m., as well as shopping only 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24.

For those checking out the shopping huts Downtown, take note of which ones you think have decked the halls in the most festive manner. That’s because you’ll have a chance to vote for the best-decorated hut in the People’s Choice contest. There’s a QR code on the info hut that will, when scanned, ask participants to cast a vote for their favorite. The winning hut will receive a Mayor’s Choice award, as well as a Downtown Easton gift card and some marketing opportunities.


Another Easton contest won’t be up to the good people of Easton, but rather the Easton Main Street Initiative Events Committee volunteers. Business owners in the city can vie for the Most Festive Storefront contest to win free inclusion in the Easton Map & Guide for 2021. Of course, it’ll also come with bragging rights over your neighbors for the next year, an invaluable reward.


The city’s West Ward will also have plenty of activities to do with your family to celebrate in some competitive holiday cheer. The West Ward Community Initiative is partnering with West Ward WISE for a Grab and Go Wreath decorating event — wreaths and decoration kits can be picked up starting at noon on Dec. 13 at Centennial Park. The wreaths and kits are free, but registration is required at

Those wreaths will be an integral part of the West Ward’s first Holiday Decorating Contest. Deck your house or business out with greenery, inflatables, lights and whatever other holiday decor you can think of, and maybe you’ll win one of the numerous awards at stake: Best Block, Brightest House, Most Colorful, Most Creative, Best Business and Best In Show.


Judges for the contest will be out making their observations on Dec. 19. Registration is required by Dec. 13, and you can register your address at A map of contest entrants will be put together to be found on the West Ward Community Initiative’s Facebook page, which also includes take-out specials, a scavenger hunt and tips on when Santa Claus might be making his way around the neighborhood.


Over in Bethlehem, it’s likely going to be one of the weirder Christmases for the Christmas City given the pandemic restrictions, but the city is still making the most of it.


Its newest holiday activity is promoting some safely distanced decorating fun: Maybe you’ve noticed the 50 two-foot-tall wooden gingerbread cutouts dotting downtown Bethlehem. Those are part of the Gingerbread Games, the Downtown Bethlehem Association’s follow-up to the Scarecrow Showdown.

The gingerbread cutouts were made by Northampton County Community College’s Fab Lab and decorated by participants vying for the top prize of a $200 gift card to Downtown Bethlehem. And the vote is up to you, so you can cast your ballot at for your favorite decorated gingerbread cutout anytime before Dec. 22 on the association’s website.


Also, back again this year is the annual Window Decorating Competition. Voting started last week, and you can vote for the best looking window on the association’s website. The Downtown Bethlehem Association additionally offers Christmas Huts on Main on Main Street, open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 27. Visit for a schedule of vendors and more information.


Center City Bethlehem is home, as well, to Christmas in the Quarter put on by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites through Dec. 27, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Colonial Industrial Quarter, 459 Old York Road. Suggested donation is $10 for a family of four. Visit for more information.

On Southside Bethlehem, the new Christmas Tree Trail features 15 uniquely decorated trees from which visitors can choose their favorite for a chance to win $200 in gift cards — $100 to the Southside business of their choice and $100 to the merchant who wins the trail contest. Winners will be announced on the SouthSide Arts District Facebook page on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 9 p.m.


Download the map to the trail, including shopping and dining discounts to be honored every Saturday, or vote for your favorite tree, at


Bethlehem offers a free three-hour parking session daily Dec. 21-24 through the ParkMobile app at any on-street parking meter. That’s in addition to two free hours of parking all day Saturdays, Dec. 12 and 19, at meters with green bags that read, “Free 2-hour Parking/Happy Holidays from Lehigh Valley Health Network.”


Easton offers free meter parking Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 20.

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