Every pew was filled on Sunday evening in the softly lit former church that is now home to the Lansford Historical Society and the Panther Valley Public Library. Christmas carols resonated through the room, decked with greenery and red bows evoking old-fashioned Christmas decor, and children stole longing glances at a table laden with cookies and candy.
The Historical Society's second annual "Victorian Christmas in Lansford" celebration filled the night with the rich colors, music, fragrances and tastes of Christmas.
"We're very pleased with the turnout," said Historical Society president Bill Harleman. "Our program this year was a little better. We had a smaller crowd last year due to a snowstorm the day before. We're very, very pleased with the turn out this year. It went very well."
Harleman said the Historical Society is considering continuing the Christmas celebration next year.
The celebration took place at the Historical Society's home at 117 E. Bertsch St., Lansford. The society is housed on the upper floor while the library occupies the lower floor.
The Rev. Marjorie Keiter welcomed the guests, and the Rev. John Keiter offered the invocation.
Guests sang along to carols, including "O Come all Ye Faithful," "The First Noel," "We Three Kings,"Silent Night" and "Joy to the World," accompanied by organist Chris Opresko.
Vocalist Leilani Chesonis, dressed in Victorian garb, sang old favorites including "Do You See What I See" and Winter Wonderland," accompanied by pianist/organist Chris Opresko. Carmen Caruso read from Matthew 1: 18-23, and Society secretary Dale Freudenberger offered closing remarks.
Freudenberger and Linda Yulanavage, president of the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce and Tamaqua Historical Society member, delighted guests with their authentic Victorian garb, as did similarly-clad members of the Eckley Players.
The program began with a dedication in honor of Historical Society past president and longtime member Ron Hood Sr., who passed away in May. A commemorative plaque will be placed in the building in Hood's honor.
After the program, guests were invited to tour the Panther Valley Public Library to see the array of books, bank of computers and comfy children's section as they sampled cookies and other treats.