The Tamaqua Community Arts Center will be filled with the sounds, scents and sights of Christmas this weekend as the center plays host to a number of Spirit of Christmas Festival activities.

The fun begins tonight, following the Santa Parade. After Santa and Mrs. Claus turn on the lights at Depot Square Park, the jolly couple will walk to the art center, located at 125 Pine St., to visit with children of all ages. While at the center, visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite decorated Christmas tree and gingerbread house. At 8 p.m. today, "A Very Merry Christmas in Tamaqua" will be presented, featuring popular Christmas carols and readings from "Jingle Bells" and "The Night Before Christmas."

The center will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the day will be filled with activities for children of all ages. In addition to voting for entries in the tree and gingerbread contests, there will be a morning painting class (pre-registration required), a cookie decorating contest from 1:30 to 3 p.m., 2 to 4 p.m., an opportunity to create a personal story collage (preregister), and an encore performance of "A Very Merry Christmas in Tamaqua" at 7 p.m.

Festivities will continue on Sunday. Mrs. Claus will be conducting a story time session from 1 to 2 p.m. and visitors will have their final opportunity to vote for their favorite tree. Children and their parents will have the opportunity to create three personal Christmas cards between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., Glenn and Cherie Roberts will present a concert of holiday memories. The concert is scheduled to end at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The Spirit of Christmas Festival will conclude with the announcement of the winners of the Christmas tree, gingerbread house and cookie contests and the lighting of the community Christmas Tree at Depot Square Park, at 6 p.m. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served at the Tamaqua Community Ambulance garage on Railroad Street.

For more information on art center activities, call 570-668-1192.