Latrobe’s Holly Jolly Christmas features Santa, gingerbread house contest |

Latrobe’s Holly Jolly Christmas features Santa, gingerbread house contest

Jeff Himler
Photo courtesy of Marcy Beggs | Westmoreland Photographers Society
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus walk through downtown Latrobe during last year’s Holly Jolly Christmas in Latrobe.

Gingerbread will be a featured ingredient in this year’s annual Holly Jolly Christmas in Latrobe.

A gingerbread house contest is part of the downtown event, to be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 7. Also, children will have the opportunity to make a gingerbread cookie craft, an activity sponsored by Adams Memorial Library at the Latrobe Art Center, 819 Ligonier St.

“We had at least a couple hundred people attend last year,” art center Executive Director Lauren Buches said of the event, noting that an early afternoon rain may have held attendance down. “We’re hoping the number will be higher this year.”

Downtown merchants will be open for holiday shopping while performers offer live music and entertainment on Main Street. The lineup includes Christ the Divine Teacher School Carolers, Greater Latrobe Senior High School Brass Ensemble, Derry Area High School Marching Band, Laurel Valley Academy of Dance, Greensburg’s Stage Right! theatrical troupe and two area vocalists — Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Ellie Oldfield and Antolena Damico, 13, of Penn Township, who has sung the national anthem at Heinz Field, PPG Paints Arena and PNC Park and has recorded an original song, “Rise Above.”

Food trucks and farmers market vendors also will be on hand.

Latrobe Area Historical Society will present the slide show “Latrobe: City of Firsts” and an historic photo exhibition in the Quatrini-Rafferty Building, at Ligonier and Main streets.

The Holly Jolly event coincides with Santa’s Party in the Park from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at James H. Rogers Memorial Park, Main and Jefferson streets. Children will be able to meet Santa, with the first 300 children receiving gift bags. In case of rain, visits with Santa will be in the city council chambers.

Children also can listen to Mrs. Claus read a holiday story at the art center, ride on a barrel train and have their faces painted by cosmetology students from Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

Entrants in the gingerbread house contest are invited to get creative, as there are only a few guidelines: Each entry must measure no more than 12 inches wide, 18 inches deep and 18 inches tall and must be comprised of at least 75 percent food.

Finished houses are to be submitted to the Latrobe Art Center by Dec. 4. Voting will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, during Latrobe’s monthly Shop Hop Night. They then will be displayed until Dec. 21 at downtown Latrobe stores.

Winning house designs will be selected in three age groups — 3 to 12 , 13 to 17 and adult — and will be announced at 3 p.m. at the art center during the Holly Jolly event. Adults winners will be rewarded with gift cards good at Ricolita’s Cafe, located at the art center.

Holly Jolly shoppers who visit downtown stores can submit a stamped punch card for a chance to win a gift basket of items from nine participating merchants — Chicora’s Boutique, Eclectique, GrayDog Comics & Toys, The Medicine Shoppe, Paper Heart Affairs, Rose Style Shoppe, Terri’s Gourmet Sweet Treats, Depot Street Boutique and Latrobe Farmers Market vendors, who will set up in the former Dollar General location on Ligonier Street.

Vendors, who were stationed next door in the Quatrini-Rafferty Building during past downtown events, will have more space available this year, according to farmers market volunteer Mary Lou Myers.

“We’ve never been able to expand as much as we did this year,” said Myers. “It was a great opportunity.”

The 25 confirmed vendors will offer such handmade goods and food as jewelry, soy candles, quilts, salsa and pizzelles. The Quilting Bees of Latrobe United Methodist Church will have sewn holiday items for sale.

Local musicians will perform acoustic holiday selections.

“I think it’s going to be a fun day,” Myers said.

For more information, visit or call 724-537-7011.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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