Santa's coming and he's not waiting 'til Christmas Eve.

He arrived this weekend on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, riding on the train every weekend through Dec. 19. Rides are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday except on Dec. 11 when the train won't be running.

He's coming next weekend to Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, and Summit Hill.

In Jim Thorpe, a Christmas parade kicks-off the holiday festivities at 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a tree lighting ceremony in Josiah White Park.

In Lehighton, an Old Fashion Christmas Celebration will be held in the Upper Park behind the Municipal Building from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Santa will be brought to the event on a fire truck.

In Summit Hill, the annual Christmas on the Hill will occur on Saturday, Dec. 4, beginning at 11 a.m. Santa is scheduled to arrive by helicopter, weather permitting, at the Ginder Field.

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe's streets bustle with the sounds and joy of the Christmas season beginning next weekend.

Street carolers sing in chorus while horse-drawn carriages transport riders through the beautifully adorned Victorian streets. Visiting Jim Thorpe during the holidays is like taking a step back in time to relive festive childhood memories – it's a Christmas of yesteryear.

This year, Jim Thorpe's popular Olde Time Christmas Celebration is spread out over three weekends: December 3-5, 11-12, and 18-19.

The Christmas parade kicks off the festivities on Friday. This year's features include holiday music from street carolers and musicians, train rides and photos with Santa on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, breakfast with Santa at the elegant Albright Mansion Restaurant, scavenger hunts and greetings from Peef the Christmas Bear downtown at Nature's Trail.

The Grand Master Concert Organ will provide a musical backdrop of favorite Christmas tunes at Josiah White Park.

Children of all ages will laugh at the antics of Santa Claus and Robert the Elf and Kenlin Dance Academy's Christmas Dance performance will delight viewers as well.

Lehighton

The "Christmas in the Park" event is an Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration on Friday.

It features musical entertainment, free cocoa, and the awarding of numerous presents including a boy's and girl's bicycle.

Christmas in the Park is sponsored by the Lehighton Area Council of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.

Earl Schneider, event coordinator and office manager for the Chamber, said Christmas in the Park will be held rain or shine.

Santa Claus will arrive at 6:30 pm.

Paul Smith and the Lehighton Band will provide musical entertainment, playing your favorite Christmas Carols, while members of Senior Girl Scout Troop 583 provide the hot cocoa.

Each child 12 and under will be entered in a drawing to receive numerous presents including bicycles donated by Wal-Mart and Lehighton Area Council.

Candy Canes will also be given out by Santa.

For more information, please contact Schneider at 610-377-2191.

Summit Hill

Christmas on the Hill in Summit Hill next Saturday not only includes the arrival of Santa, but lunch with him as well.

During the event, the children attending will be able to write a letter and share it with Santa.

The program is sponsored by the Summit Hill Recreation Commission.

Monica Marshall, president of the commission, said Santa is expected to arrive at Ginther Field by helicopter between 11 a.m. and noon.

After Santa arrives he will celebrate the season of giving with the children at the Summit Hill Community Center, 117 W. Ludlow St. in Summit Hill. There will be a light lunch served for the children as well as Polaroid photo opportunity.

The festivities are expected to last from noon to 2 p.m.

There is no pre-registration needed, however a small donation for the Toys for Tots program, one unwrapped toy per child, will greatly be appreciated, said Marshall.

Tamaqua

In Tamaqua, a Santa Parade and Depot Square Park Illumination occurs Friday at 6:30 p.m. Santa & Mrs Claus stop to illuminate the park, then continue to the Tamaqua Art Gallery for photos and visits, Depot Square Park.

The Tree Festival at Tamaqua Art Gallery, 114 West Broad St., Tamaqua, is Friday from 7-9 p.m.

On Saturday in Tamaqua, at 9 a.m., Breakfast with Santa occurs at Tamaqua Salvation Army. Reservations are required. Call 570-668-1880.

Lansford

On Sunday, December 12, the Lansford Improvement Committee will be holding their annual Free Children's Christmas Party for children residing in Lansford at Kelly's Irish Pub, 636 E. Patterson Street, Lansford.

Pre-registration is required for all Lansford Children up to age 10 and can only be made by calling 570-645-2125.

There is limited seating and therefore the Committee asks that you register early and limit the number of adults in your party.

Registration deadline is Thursday, Dec. 9. Seating time for children is at 1 p.m. and at 1:15 p.m. sharp DeeJay Ann Marie Calabrese will be providing entertainment (games, music, & fun!).

Refreshments will be served at 2 p.m.; and at 2:30 p.m. Santa arrives by fire truck courtesy of the American Fire Company No. 1 of Lansford.

All children will receive a free gift from Santa.

Renee Slakoper, coordinator of the event, remarked, "Bring your camera!"