Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Tree lighting, seasonal songs to bring holiday cheer to Italian Lake

Italian Lake in Harrisburg

The Christmas season may seem like a shadow of its normal self this year, but a local nonprofit is bringing some of the traditional holiday spirit to Harrisburg.

On Saturday, Bethesda Mission will host a tree lighting ceremony, along with seasonal music and cheer, at Italian Lake.

“We are glad to be able to host the Christmas tree lighting and offer a bright spot in what has been for many, a tough year,” said Cindy Mallow, Bethesda Mission’s director of development. “It expresses everything that Bethesda truly stands for: family, relationships, bringing our community together, and of course, celebrating and sharing the true meaning of Christmas.”

For the past few years, Bethesda Mission has hosted “Christmas at Italian Lake,” a fundraiser that has featured an entire weekend of events, including sleigh rides, a Christmas market, a petting zoo and food trucks.

Due to the pandemic, mission officials scaled back the event significantly to a 90-minute ceremony, which will feature Christmas carols from the Brookfield Bible Church, in addition to the tree lighting. Cookies and hot beverages will also be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the mission’s work of helping the homeless in Harrisburg.

According to Bethesda Mission, the event was made possible through gifts from numerous sponsors, including Wendell Hoover of Iron Valley Real Estate, Good’s Tree and Lawn Care, Larry and Mitzi Means, HB McClure Co., Walter’s Services and Klock Entertainment.

“What a better time and place to both give hope to those who need our help, while enjoying the holiday together with our own friends and families,” Mallow said.

Christmas at Italian Lake takes place Saturday, Dec. 12, 4:30 to 6 p.m., at Italian Lake Park, N. 3rd and Division streets, Harrisburg. For more information, visit Donations can be given at

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