Today’s post is about celebrating Christmas in Hershey. I’ll have a post on the history of Christmas Candylane in a few weeks.
So what was it like in Hershey around Christmastime? In the very early years of Hershey, it wasn’t very exciting. Many people didn’t even live in Hershey as the factory was being built in 1903-1904, so few people were actually in the new town during the holiday. By the later parts of the first decade of the 20th Century, many more people were living in Hershey. As a result, the town had a newspaper publication – The Hershey Press.
First published in September 1909, they had a Christmas Eve issue of the paper. Only the front and back pages had any mention of Christmas in the issue, with Christmas tidings on the front page and letters to Santa Claus on the back page.
The first town celebration wasn’t until 101 years ago (1915) – the first time Hershey had a tree lighting ceremony.
Christmas In Hershey
It wasn’t until 1983 that Christmas in Hershey began, with the opening of Hersheypark for the Christmas season. Over the years that event has expanded to include most rides in the park that are available to be operated when the temperature is generally cold. Roller coasters were introduced to the event in 2015 (although the kiddie coaster Cocoa Cruiser operated in Candylane in 2014).
Typically the promotion for Christmas in Hershey was for guests to enjoy a stay at either Hershey Lodge or The Hotel Hershey, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World and Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.
In 2003, a new attraction, Sweet Lights, was added. Within a year or two, that event expanded to include a road that was used for the Hershey Hill Climb.