Skip to main content

FunTimes Magazine

It takes a village…

Nov 29, 2023 11:00AM ● By FunTimes Staff

Photo courtesy of Christmas Village in Philadelphia

FunTimes Magazine “Culture + Entertainment” column, Week of November 27, 2023


The City of Neighborhoods is poised to light it up! That means ‘tis the time of the year to ring in the spectacular season of joy, jolly and jingle bells. Ring-a-ding-ding, FunTimers! Venture out to enjoy the festive sounds, sights, and lights of the holiday season. This column, which is devoted to mostly tree lighting events in Philadelphia, will help illuminate your life. Cheers! Enjoy the fa-la-la vibe of fall, but please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID variants and other infectious health threats.

The Christmas Village, LOVE Park.
Photo by Sophia Carrara, The Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Strudel or Schnitzel? 

Through Saturday, December 23, 2023. When entrepreneur Thomas Bauer ventured into Philadelphia fresh from Germany 16 years ago, he was new to town with only a concept for an old-world European village-style market like those he knew back home. His Philly contact list was small, but his dream was big. With passion and persistence, he connected with the City Representative’s Office for event support, and the rest is history. Now Bauer’s dream is a reality, with more than 100 vendors offering Christmas giftware and European food specialties in wooden huts. The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is now a holiday tradition in Center City. It’s a winter wonderland of fun. Check out the double-tier carousel, the Kids Train, and the illuminated 65-foot Ferris wheel. Follow the scents of German treats like Bratwurst, Raclette Cheese, Strudel, Schnitzel, Spätzle or Belgian fries. Buy some authentic ornaments from German vendor, Käthe Wohlfahrt. Free entrance. Sundays to Thursdays: noon to 8 p.m. EST, Fridays & Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): noon to 5 p.m. EST. Three locations: City Hall’s Courtyard and the north apron, Broad Street and JFK Boulevard, and across the street at LOVE Park/JFK Plaza, 15rh Street, and JFK Boulevard.

The City Hall holiday tree was prepped last week for this week’s official lighting.
Photo by Tu Huynh

Jordin Sparks it up at City Hall tree-lighting 

Thursday, November 30, 2023. The sure signal that the holiday season is upon us is the official kickoff of the City Hall tree lighting ceremony. The annual 6ABC Presents: City of Philadelphia Tree Lighting Celebration is part of a fantastic festival called The 2023 Philly Holiday Experience featuring activities including free admission to museums citywide. Be mesmerized by the Visit Philadelphia Holiday Tree – a towering 55-foot white fir adorned with Philly-inspired ornaments. The tree’s custom-made metal pedestal -- the brainchild of the festival’s founder, the late Jeff Guaracino -- reflects Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods and familiar landmarks. Enjoy the music of Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks and live music from DJ Diamond Kuts, Felicia Ponzo, and Disney’s Frozen. The tree is illuminated during a countdown at the beginning of the hour-long program. Free, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Live-streamed on

Photo courtesy of Philly Holiday Experience

Strike up the band…

Saturday, December 2, 2023. Philly loves a good parade. So, march on down to Market Street for The Holiday Parade, now in its third year. The parade gloriously highlights marching bands, festive floats, musical groups, and holiday themes celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Lunar New Year. The parade is billed as a multicultural experience. Watch from the three designated cheer zones, prime perches along the route, to get a great view of the activities. Free, 5 p.m. EST. Kick-off at 2nd and Market Streets to Philadelphia’s City Hall on the north side near Broad and Market Streets.

Photo courtesy of Society Hill Films

Old Saint Nick in Old City

Wednesday, November 29, 2023. Immerse your jovial self in the jovial fun of the 7th annual Historic Holidays in the Old City Tree Lighting presented by The Ryland. The celebration will spotlight caroling, music, a dance performance by The Philadelphia Dance Academy, special guests including Santa, who arrives in a fire engine, a Betsy Ross reenactor, local dignitaries, and a holiday tree designed by Old City’s Petit Jardin en Ville, a Parisian florist and garden designer. Free, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST (tree lighting at 6 p.m. EST). Betsy Ross House Courtyard, 239 Arch St. 215-592-7929 or


Photo courtesy of Kory Aversa

East Passyunk Annual Tree Lighting

Wednesday, November 29, 2023. Yo, sled on down to South Philly to the East Passyunk Annual Tree Lighting. Where else will you find The Singing Fountain, a place to revel in one of Philly’s biggest neighborhood celebrations? It’s all part of the area business district’s Deck the Ave. Seasonal campaign featuring more than 160 shops on what the locals call “The Avenue.” Santa will help light the tree near the locally famous fountain and take photos with every eager child in sight. Enjoy carolers, live music, and special guests. Free, 5:30 p.m. EST until you drop from shopping.11th Street and East Passyunk Avenue near Tasker Street.


Photo courtesy of Kory Aversa

A beer with Santa’s name on it…

Thursday, November 30, 2023. The annual Evil Genius Beer Company Fishtown Tree Lighting Party will be the festive hotspot. Soak in the live music, carolers, and more. A 20-foot tree will be illuminated indoors, with a visit by Santa, plus photo stations. And the decorations are described as “over-the-top.” They even have special winter cocktails including a holiday beer (adults only!) called “Santa!! I Know Him!,” to check out for the occasion. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST. (Tree lighting at 7 p.m. EST). Evil Genius Beer Company, 1727 N Front St. 215-425-6820 or [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Josh Pellegrini


Count them, five tree lightings…

Friday, December 8, 2023. It’s a weekend of fun. Roxborough Tree Lighting Ceremony and Happy Holidays from Rox Kick-Off are calling you. The Roxborough area comes alive with not one, but five! See the dazzling fierceness of five fabulous Douglas fir trees matching the art on the murals of the park. Two trees will be designated as “wishing trees” for children to decorate with wooden ornaments and inscriptions with their holiday wishes. It’s the official kickoff to a three-day holiday pop-up market. The Friday tree lighting will be followed by the popup market of some 20 creatives -- makers, crafters, and artists. Free, Friday’s tree lightings at 5 p.m. EST. Roxborough Pocket Park, 6170-1674 Ridge Ave.215-508-2358 or

Recycled, refurbished, and rejoice!
Image courtesy of


Saturday, December 2, 2023. Cross off items on your holiday gift list with some first-rate second-hand gems. The Resource Exchange's reFlea Vendor Market offers vintage, refurbished, upcycled goods by local makers and creatives. Score big with a wide array of sustainable gifts such as fine art, crafted items, décor, home goods, jewelry, clothing, and accessories. Free admittance, noon to 5 p.m. EST. The Resource Exchange, 1800 N American St, in Kensington. E-mail: [email protected], 267-997-0060 or