Prepared by Allison Mowatt
Hawley Winterfest is an exciting family event celebrating downtown Hawley’s old-fashioned charm and the surrounding area’s beauty while ushering in the holiday season. With horse and carriage rides, holiday house tours, holiday concerts and theater, seasonal dining, wine tastings, various demonstrations, strolling carolers, contests, ice carvings and other fun activities, it’s easy to see why this time-honored event is in its 14th year and known as one of the most popular seasonal festivals in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Hawley Winterfest gets better every year and the continued efforts are made possible through the efforts of the Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP), a dedicated committee, numerous volunteers, sponsors and generous donations. The DHP is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the downtown Hawley area.
The entire community including business owners, merchants, residents and other volunteers work together to bring this cherished festival to town and keep it fresh and fun each year. But Hawley Winterfest is more than just a winter themed festival for people of all ages.
Benefiting community projects
Many of the events held over the course of the three-day weekend are free while others require payment. Money raised by Hawley Winterfest always goes right back into the community to help with projects throughout town for enhancement purposes or to aid with worthwhile causes. For instance, according to Maura Rottmund, Hawley Public Library Director, over the last few years the library received $9,000 from the Winterfest Committee. Some of the funds received recently allowed for the restoration of the gravity railroad car on the library property.
"The contributions have really allowed us to make the necessary repairs for the preservation of the historic rail coach," said Maura. Tom Kennedy, chair of the project, worked closely with contractors to see that the roof of the pavilion and the windows were replaced. The 19th century passenger coach was scraped and painted and the floor was replaced. The installation of a handicap ramp is underway and new signage is planned. "The community always had a strong connection with the history of the Pennsylvania Coal Company Gravity Railroad and our goal in preserving the car is to allow it to serve as a continuing reminder of Hawley’s early days for generations to come," said Mr. Kennedy.
Painting raffle
In addition, for the eight consecutive year, local artist Barbara Briden and Peter Daniel, proprietor and creator of custom frames at Artisan Picture Framing and Art Gallery at 204 Main Avenue in Hawley, have collaborated to create beautiful paintings of familiar Hawley street scenes which have been raffled off to benefit the community. The recipient this year is the Ritz Company Playhouse at 512 Keystone Street and raffle funds are designated for the Ritz Bitz Players, which are the junior actors’ summer theater group, ranging in ages from five to 15. In the past, painting raffle funds were delegated to the Hawley Public Library, the local fire department, an area special needs child and the Wayne County Family Center in Hawley. Since the raffle money is benefiting the Ritz this year, Barbara wanted to create a scene with the venerable theater in it.
This is just an example of the many worthwhile endeavors made possible through Hawley Winterfest. Continue supporting this magical festival so this gem of a town can continue to sparkle.
For more information, call The Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center at (570) 226-2141, visit or "Like" Hawley Winterfest on Facebook. Winterfest brochures are available at the Visitors Center and other local businesses.