The National Park Service (NPS) invites the public to celebrate an “Iron Plantation Christmas” and stroll through 100 years of American Christmas’, at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. This free event will take place on Saturday, December 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature Christmas as celebrated during the 18th and 19th centuries at Hopewell Furnace. Hopewell Furnace Site Manager David Blackburn encourages visitors to experience the simple elegance of Christmas through the years during the event. “This is an opportunity for today’s public to travel back in time and witness Christmas at different periods of the furnace’s history” he said. “The company store will be open for business and the park’s buildings will be staffed with employees and volunteers bringing the village once again to life” he added. Visitors will find nearly a century of Christmas illustrated through a series of recreated holiday scenes, dating from 1795 to 1880, inside the park’s historic buildings. Visitors will be able to discover the variety of customs, foods, and traditions of the holiday season from different times during the furnace community’s history. Staff and volunteers will present three different iterations of Santa. Der Belsnickel, a mischievous version of Santa Claus with a commitment to justice, will be in the Cast House. Belsnickel rewards good children with candy and naughty children with switches. Additionally, St. Nicholas, as Hopewell Furnace residents knew him in the 19th C, will be in the Ironmaster’s House and Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Visitor Center.Along with the regular program of historical Christmas activities, a special program will be presented at the park’s Bethesda Church. This is one of only a few days of the year when the historic church is open to the public. It is located one mile east of the main iron furnace community, on Bethesda Road. Ms Christine Emmert will be presenting the one woman play “Out of the Fiery Furnace.” This will be the final performance of this work. After years of playing Ruth and sharing stories of the women of Hopewell, the play is being retired. Come join Emmert for the free performance will be at 3:00. Directions to reach Bethesda Church will be available at the park’s visitor center or by contacting the park at (610) 582-8773. There is no admission fee for visitors to the park or to this special event.Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site preserves and interprets an 18th and 19th Century iron furnace and its associated landscape. The park’s facilities are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday including Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. It is closed other federal holidays. Hopewell Furnace is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA on Route 345. No entrance fee is charged. For more information stop by the park’s visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park’s web site at: www.nps.gov/hofu, or contact us by e-mail at: [email protected]. Visitors with specific needs may contact the park for assistance before their visit.