Tonight’s Olde Time Christmas tree lighting honors hometown hero

33rd Annual Jim Thorpe Olde Time Christmas tree lighting tonight at the Josiah White Park.
33rd Annual Jim Thorpe Olde Time Christmas tree lighting tonight at the Josiah White Park.

Santa’s arrival by fire engine, Christmas trees, carolers and hometown heroes – the holiday season doesn’t get more All-American than the 33rd Annual Olde Time Christmas Festival in Jim Thorpe.

Sponsored by the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency, the festival will be held the first two weekends in December. It not only echoes the Victorian Dickens theme of the Spirits of Christmas Past but also the Olde Time Christmas traditions of community, generosity and thankfulness.

This year the residents of Jim Thorpe and surrounding area are especially thankful for the round-the-clock work of the Pennsylvania State Police protecting families in their homes and on the road, making trips to Grandma’s house safe this year.

To show their appreciation, the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency has tapped Jim Thorpe native State Police Cpl. Mike Dugan to light this year’s Christmas tree, donated by Beisel’s Christmas Tree Hill in Lehighton, during Friday’s ceremony at Josiah White Park. Dugan was one of the thousands of law enforcement officers that searched the Pocono Mountains for the fugitive now charged with the murder of State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson in a September ambush outside the Blooming Grove barracks, which also wounded Trooper Alex Douglass.

A true role model for area youngsters, Dugan has also organized teams of Jim Thorpe cyclists and raised more than $15,000 for the Tour De Shore Bike Race, which benefits children in need and the families of fallen firefighters and police officers including Dickson.

“The Tour De Shore Irish Pub has graciously donated $5,000 to the family of Cpl. Bryon Dickson,” Dugan said.

The Community Choir and Jim Thorpe/Kidder Township Daisy Girl Scout Troop 30331 will get the festival crowd in the spirit singing Christmas carols “loud and clear for all to hear,”  during the tree lighting ceremony, which will begin at 6 p.m. after Santa arrives at the Josiah White Park, courtesy of the Jim Thorpe Fire Department’s Diligent Hose Company.

Emceed by Carbon County resident and BRCTV 13 reporter Katya Fitzpatrick, Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko and State Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-122) are expected to attend. A Marine from the Schuylkill/Carbon Marine Corps League Detachment 626 will also be on hand to accept toys for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.

The Behans at the Molly Maguire will also be at the park with their annual hot chocolate donation.

Merchants will remain open until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. during Olde Time Christmas weekends. A Spirits of Christmas Past Scavenger Hunt through participating stores offers shoppers the opportunity to win 23 gift certificates.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 21 Race Street, will hold an open house with tours, cookies and caroling tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a goodwill donation.

At 8 p.m., Twelve Twenty-Four takes the stage at the Mauch Chunk Opera House with their holiday rock orchestra concert, featuring the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Doors open at 7 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. Can’t make Friday’s performance? You’re in luck. They perform again Saturday night at 8 p.m.

For more information on Olde Time Christmas, call 1-888-JIM-THORPE, visit or follow our Facebook page JimThorpeOldeTimeChristmas for complete event information.

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