Latrobe’s Holly Jolly festivities include contest, crafts, shopping, virtual Santa visit

This year’s Holly Jolly holiday festivities in Latrobe will include a virtual visit with Santa and four days of extended downtown shopping promotions.

As with the town’s Great American Banana Split Celebration in August, Holly Jolly entertainment this year will be streamed onlineto keep people safe through social distancing, while getting into the holiday spirit.

Instead of a single Saturday, participating downtown merchants will welcome visitors for Holly Jolly shopping Dec. 2-5. The event will kick off with a town-wide open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2.

“We’ve stretched the event for four days to get away from people crowding into the stores,” said Chairperson Emily Pasqualino.

Local artists will have creative works for sale at the Latrobe Art Center, 819 Ligonier St. Across the street, at the former Dollar General location, Latrobe Farmers Market vendors will display their wares between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5.

Shoppers who buy from five participating merchants during the four days will have a chance to win one of two gift baskets. Pasqualino said one basket will feature merchandise from downtown stores. The second will include items with a Latrobe theme.

Participating locations include the art center, the farmers market, Paper Heart Affairs, Eclectique, Rose Style Shoppe, Chicoras, Graydog Comics and Toys, Masterspieces, Dainty Pastry, Terri’s Gourmet Sweet Treats and Depot Street Boutique. Pasqualino’s Paper Heart Affairs will showcase locally made items Dec. 4. Chicoras, which features women’s fashions and gifts, will mark its ninth anniversary Dec. 5.

Leading into the festival, select downtown Latrobe merchants will participate in the second-annual Cookie Crawl from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 28. Each store will conduct a drawing for a dozen cookies.

Gingerbread contest returns

The Holly Jolly festival will coincide with the town’s second-annual gingerbread house contest.

“ This year, to alleviate crowding, the participating merchants will have gingerbread houses displayed in their windows,” Pasqualino said.

The houses will be available to view beginning Dec. 2. Visitors may vote for the best house in each of three categories (ages 3-12, ages 13-17 and adults or organizations) through Dec. 5 at the art center.

Contestants have until Monday to enter. Visit for rules and forms. Three contestants from each category will have a chance to win prizes, with winners announced Dec. 5.

Virtual Christmas countdown

The Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is organizing a virtual countdown to Christmas. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, through Christmas Eve, holiday-themed entertainment and presentations will be offered in 20- to 30-minute online episodes.

The episodes will appear on Facebook pages for the chamber, Downtown Latrobe and the Great American Banana Split Celebration, according to Isaac McDaniel, event director for the chamber.

“Depending on how travel restrictions are, people may not be able to get together and come back to Latrobe,” said McDaniel. “This is our way of being able to share Latrobe with people who typically would travel back home for the holidays.”

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

Local | Westmoreland

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