Winter in the Pinelands

A wide array of winter events are set for the Pinelands National Reserve throughout December to help funnel in some holiday spirit.

Tabernacle’s sixth annual Christmas tree lighting is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., ready to shine the holiday lights all month long at Town Hall (163 Carranza Road). Music will be provided by Tabernacle schools and church groups, while the Tabernacle Home and School Association will have cookies and cider available for spectators to feast on.

Santa himself will arrive on a firetruck, ready to flip the switch on the tree, followed by a performance by Tabernacle’s own first responders.

Medford’s 29th annual Dickens Festival will take place on the next day, Dec. 7, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. on Main Street. Other than seeing the street donned in Dickensian decor, performers and vendors in the festival will be dressed, ready to offer free entertainment to visitors.

The street is scheduled to close from Branch to Mill streets starting at 2:30 p.m., reopening shortly after the festival concludes. Santa’s parade makes its grand entrance around 4:30 p.m., and he will be at the festival for families to meet and take pictures with.

Food courts are planned at opposite ends of the festival to provide people with options on what to grab to eat, as well as a Dickensian-Steampunk costume contest. Categories in the contest are: adults, kids 14 and under, best “A Christmas Carol” character, best bonnet or top hat, best Steampunk costume and best handmade costume.

Additionally, spectators are encouraged to visit shops on Main Street throughout December to receive entries into to the Merry Main Street contest. Entries are given for every $20 purchase made at participating shops for a grand prize valued over $2,000. Visit for more information.

Shamong is capping off its holiday house lights tour this year with a celebration at Atsion Lake Recreation Park on Dec. 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The celebration will include winners for the light tour, gingerbread decorating contest, carriage rides and a do-it-yourself holiday ornaments craft. Kids are strongly encouraged to attend to write their letters to Santa Claus.

Festivals and tree lightings galore!

Shawnee High School (600 Tabernacle Road, Medford) hosts a free winter craft and gift show on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is recommended to bring multiple forms of payment.

Seneca High School (110 Carranza Road, Tabernacle) hosts a winter craft fair on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to benefit the school’s band. For more information, visit for more information.

Suffolk Stables (1418 Old Indian Mills Road, Shamong) hosts a Christmas tree lighting and pony parade on Dec. 8 from 2 to 6 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 for adults, $5 for children. Tree lighting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Visit for more information.

Crossroads Church of Shamong (445 Oakshade Road) hosts a tree lighting on Dec. 7 from 5 to 6 p.m. for all to enjoy. The free event includes music, refreshments and family fun. A donation of a gift for a teen is generously accepted for Foster the Family. Visit for more information.

St. Mary of the Lakes (196 Route 70, Medford) hosts their annual Christmas Bazaar on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help people find the perfect gift or stocking stuff. A variety of vendors will be there, and raffles will be done throughout the day. Refreshments will be available. Visit for more information.

Celebrate the wintry season at the Pinelands Branch Library’s Winter Warm-Up party. All teens are invited to create festive decorations, ugly holiday T-shirts (bring your own) and more! Register at BCLS.Lib.NJ.US/Pinelands.

Listen to the sounds of the season

Fellowship Alliance Chapel (199 Church Road) welcomes all for a free Christmas carol concert Dec. 5 and 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. Light refreshments will be served following the performances. Visit for more information.

Seneca High School hosts a winter band and choral concert Dec. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium. To learn more information, visit

Shawnee High School choir hosts a choral concert Dec. 12, beginning at 7 p.m., and a band concert on Dec 17, beginning at 7 p.m. To learn more information, visit

Medford’s own Village Carolers sing at Reily’s Candy on Dec. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. before the Dickens Festival to sing to those entering the candy store.

Where to find jolly old St. Nick? 

Breakfast with Santa at the Tabernacle Fire Company (76 Hawkin Road, Tabernacle) on Dec. 14 from 8 to 11 a.m. Admission is free for kids, $5 for adults, bring your empty stomachs.

Redmond’s Garden Center (1360 Route 206, Tabernacle) gets St. Nick and the Grinch together on Dec. 7 (5:30 to 8 p.m.) and 8 (noon to 6 p.m.) for holiday family fun. Receive a face painting, taste wine (with a valid government ID), food truck and more.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are making a pit stop at Johnson’s Corner Farm (133 Church Road, Medford) every day in December until the 23 to learn what every boy and girl wants for Christmas. Appearance are scheduled between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. and are free. Visit for more information.

Where to celebrate Chanukah

The Chabad in Medford hosts a giant menorah lighting and Chanukah celebration on Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. at 74 S. Main Street. The event will feature live music, doughnuts, dreidels, latkes and more! Visit for more information.

Editor’s note: Have an event you’d like to share with The Sun? Contact us by visiting and include your event’s name, duration, location, cost (if necessary) and where to find out more information.