Santas explore National Christmas Center in Middletown | Entertainment

It may still be summer, but in central Pennsylvania on Thursday, it began to feel a lot like Christmas.

Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves from seven states explored the National Christmas Center, formerly in Paradise and now in Middletown, while in the area for the Santa Gathering. The center reopened in 2021 under the ownership of Stone Gables Estate in Elizabethtown.

The Christmas performers explored the displays inside the expansive center, and later boarded a Stone Gables train for a ride.

The annual Santa Gathering event provides educational opportunities and community for entertainers who provide holiday cheer. The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Lancaster on Willow Street Pike served as the event’s home base, where there were workshops on everything from makeup application to staying healthy while on the job. The gathering began Wednesday and continues through Saturday, with performers departing Sunday morning.

About 160 participants were expected at this year’s event, according to “Santa” Paul Stober, an organizer with the group.

“Our goal is to get everyone ready for the season,” Stober said.

For more information on the Santa Gathering event, visit For more information on the national Christmas Center, visit

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