Get festive: holiday happenings in and around Burlington Township

Here’s what Burlington County and your town have planned for December

It’s official: Burlington Township residents can finally commence holiday festivities. Between the annual township traditions and county-wide winter fun slated for this season, the coming weeks are chock-full of events and activities suited for all ages.

Annual Tree Lighting & Toy Drive

Have a jolly good time and feel good about it with the township’s yearly tree lighting ceremony at Green Acres Park, where, as of last year, residents are also asked to bring a toy to donate to Burlington Township families in need.

“Last year, I completely filled up my work truck with toys. We were able to give toys to 25 families, and each child received three toys,” said Eileen Liss, chairperson for Burlington Township Heritage Commission.

This year, Liss aims to surpass the amount of donations collected in 2016 so no child in Burlington Township goes without a gift. While the tree lighting will take place Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., the drive will continue until Dec. 11. Residents can stop by the Municipal Court to take an ornament from the township’s Angel Tree in the lobby.

Don’t miss the festivities, which will include performances by BTHS Jazz Band, Fountain Wood and B. Bernice Young School Choirs, free hot chocolate and an appearance by none other than the season’s most prominent celebrity couple, Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Holiday 5k Race for the Hungry

Calling all runners! The Burlington Township Food Pantry is back for its eighth 5k race to raise money for Burlington Township families in need.

The race starts at 9 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Burlington Township Municipal Building. The route is a USATF Certified course with one water stop. Runners can anticipate primarily flat terrain with a few gradual hills on evenly paved roads.

The pantry also asks participants and supporters to bring a nonperishable food item.

“The pantry is able to operate due to the kindness and spirit of service of our community members,” a representative said in a news release.

Please register at btfoodpantry.org to participate in the race. Registration is $20.

Victorian Holiday Celebration

’Tis the season, so come all ye faithful and join in the yuletide festivities at Historic Smithville Park & Smith’s Woods Dec. 3. From noon to 4 p.m., all are invited to witness ice carving demonstrations, live reindeer, tours of Smithville Mansion, live entertainment and a holiday marketplace with one-of-a-kind gifts.

Appearances by the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge and the Clauses are sure to delight the masses, along with holiday train and carriage rides. Admission is free, but fees apply to tour the Mansion, whose halls will be decked with boughs of holly and other authentic decorations. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Mansion at Smithville.

Don’t forget the figgy pudding!

Holiday Winter Market

The Burlington County Community Agricultural Center’s annual holiday market will open for business Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 500 Centerton Road in Moorestown. Check a couple items off your holiday shopping list and your grocery list in one stop!

Santa Quest

Looking for a holiday activity that will burn off grandma’s Christmas cookies? Visit the Rancocas Nature Center on Dec. 10 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to search for Saint Nick on a hike the whole family can enjoy along with a cup of hot chocolate and a campfire. In addition to this event, there will be a bake sale hosted by South Jersey Homeschool Builder’s Club.

“Santa couldn’t fit into his suit this year, so Mrs. Claus is sending him out for some exercise,” the Burlington County Agricultural Center said.

Call (609) 261–2495 or email info@rancocasnaturecenter.org to register. The cost is $15 per parties of five for RNC members and $21 per parties of five for nonmembers.

Library Events

The Burlington County Library is as excited for the holidays as you and your family.

On Dec. 3, watch as the Divine Hand Ensemble Victorian holiday show featuring a theremin, the world’s first electronic instrument, and an eight-piece string ensemble. Mano Divina, a professional concert thereminist, bends electricity with his hands to release the sound of singing angels backed by heavenly harps and a violin section starting at 2 p.m.

On Dec, 10, the Burlington County Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Initiative invites you to the Santa Sign and Read Storytime at 3 p.m. Stories are read aloud and signed using ASL, according to the library, and Santa himself will be there. Contact Nicole Margiotta, program supervisor, at nmargiotta@bcsssd.k12.nj.us for more information.

The holidays are a time for giving, so join in the Annual Gift Making Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 15. Young attendees can make a variety of DIY crafts to give to friends and family, and there are stations for teens and adults, too. Gift makers are also invited to give back by making cards for the residents of The Ronald McDonald House Southern New Jersey or by making toys for the animals at the Burlington County Animal Shelter. Attendees are welcome to bring “wish list” items, www.friendsofbcas.org/ways-help/wishlist, to donate to the Burlington County Animal Shelter.

Wrap it up with the library staff from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 16. All are welcome to wrap presents or make pet toys for the Burlington County Animal Shelter to the sounds of acoustic guitarist David Falcone. The health department will also be there to detect lead in toys. Please bring a donation for the annual Burlington County food drive.