St. Nick and his elves will arrive at Howell Living History Farm this Saturday, Dec. 3, aboard a massive steam engine loaded with cookies, coal and holiday cheer, highlighting an all-day program, “Christmas on the Farm.”
St. Nick’s ride will descend from the farm’s northern slopes at 12:30 p.m. Its white-bearded navigator will check Christmas lists and give out treats (or coal, as the case may be) inside the farmhouse until 3 p.m. The house, and the parlor where St. Nick will visit with his guests, will be decorated to reflect the farm’s 1890 to 1910 period of interpretation.
The celebration begins at 10:15 a.m., when children can climb aboard a work wagon for a ride to the woods to cut down a Christmas tree. All children will be given a chance to take a turn helping farmers cut the tree with a two-man saw. Afterward, all visitors can help decorate the tree with ear corn, pine cones and other natural ornaments.
Steam engine rides will be offered throughout the afternoon; cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Inside the Visitor Center Barn, visitors can enjoy homemade lunch fare, and listen to the live music of the Jugtown Mountain String Band.
The farm’s maple syrup, honey, popcorn, wool and other produce will be available for sale in the Visitor Center gift shop. Handcrafted items include sleigh bells made by the farm’s harness maker, and gifts made by the farm’s blacksmith, carpenter and sewing guild.
Howell Farm is an official drop-off site for Toys for Tots. Anyone wishing to contribute to the program can do so by bringing an unwrapped toy to the farm anytime during regular operating hours.
Farm hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays, through Dec 3. The farm will be closed to the public beginning Dec. 4 and will reopen Jan. 28, 2017. The farm gift shop, in the Visitor Center, will be open Tuesday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 2017 Calendar of Events will be available beginning Dec. 15.
Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and maintained by the Mercer County Park Commission. It is located on Valley Road, just off Route 29, in Hopewell Township. GPS address is 70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530. Parking and admission are free.