The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Santa Train Celebrates 25 Years in a Small Town

The most wonderful time of the year is almost here, and so is the beloved Santa Train! Join the 25th anniversary of this free family event that brings magic and joy through the Lackawanna Valley on Saturday, December 2nd.

The Santa Train will travel along the historic Delaware & Hudson railroad line, stopping at six stations to greet children and families with special silver anniversary surprises. Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves, and other characters will distribute candy, gifts, and holiday cheer. The train will feature live entertainment by Doug Smith’s Dixieland All-Stars, Franko the Great, Ryan Cornelius the Balloon Wizard, a special guest appearance by the Brown Initiative, the Valley View High School Band, and Champ, the mascot of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders.

A holiday tradition since 1996, the Santa Train took a two-year hiatus but made a triumphant post-pandemic return in 2022 with hundreds of families and children in attendance. The train will arrive in Carbondale at 10:30 AM; Archbald at 11:20 AM; Jessup at noon; Olyphant at 12:45 PM; Dickson City at 1:30 PM, and its final destination, the Steamtown National Historic Site, at 3 p.m.

Beyond its popularity as a festive celebration, the Santa Train is a way of honoring the region’s rich heritage, shaped in large part by the railroad industry. With its origins in Carbondale, the D&H was one of the most important railroads in the country, connecting local coal mines with markets in New York and across the Atlantic seaboard. The Steamtown NHS in Scranton preserves and showcases the history and legacy of steam locomotives with exhibits, demonstrations, and excursions.

The Santa Train is a communitywide effort made possible by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Steamtown NHS, Delaware/Lackawanna Railroad, Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority, Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau, Carbondale Business Association, City of Carbondale, the boroughs of Archbald, Jessup, and Jessup 21st Century Association, Dickson City, Olyphant, and the City of Scranton.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors: Peoples Security Bank, Community Bank N.A., NBT Bank, Honesdale National Bank, Rotary Club of Scranton, North Penn Charitable Foundation, Quinn’s Market and Propst Transportation and Lackawanna County.

For more information, visit

Lackawanna Heritage Valley Partnership Grant Funding

Lackawanna Heritage Valley has announced the start of a new spring cycle of partnership grant funding, open for application through March 11 at 12 p.m.

The program is open to members of non-profit and civic organizations, municipal and governmental agencies, and educational institutions with proposals for projects designed to enhance the quality of life within the Lackawanna Heritage Valley. Successful grant applicants will receive up to $5,000 each to conserve, preserve, and educate the public about Northeastern Pennsylvania’s historic, cultural, economic and natural resources.

Lackawanna Heritage Valley, designated as both a national and state heritage area, has provided more than three million dollars in funding assistance to community organizations through its Partnership Grants Program since its inception. Given the dire funding constraints and lack of community programming brought on by the ongoing health crisis, the organization feels this round of grants is perhaps one of its most crucial.

Justin Topa, community engagement and programs manager, hopes that Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s spring grant program will continue the organization’s work toward stimulating the region’s economy, enhancing tourism initiatives, strengthening community organizations and increasing the quality of life for area residents.  

“We are proud to support our creative local partners who help us to tell the region’s story and to preserve and conserve our natural resources,” Topa said. “With each successful grant cycle, we invest in our history, our resources and the families in our communities. In a year that presents unique challenges, we hope that this year’s applicants will find creative ways to showcase our region’s story of perseverance and the strength in working together.”

For general information about the heritage area, or for grant program guidelines and applications, those interested are asked to visit or call Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s office, via (570) 963-6730.

The Heritage Explorer Bike Tour

The Heritage Explorer Bike Tour is back! We hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Lackawanna Heritage Valley’s Heritage Explorer Bike Tour is returning to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in 2020, but this year, things are going to be a little different. 

The Heritage Explorer Bike Tour has become an annual tradition to promote the development of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. With safety in mind, this year’s event will bring our community together in a virtual celebration throughout September in honor of Trails Month. Cyclists will embark on their own journeys, at their own pace, when and where they choose to help support the ongoing maintenance of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.

The event is a fun, family-friendly and noncompetitive event. Riders of all ages and abilities will have the chance to ride along in support of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. Supporters can register now, choose their route and distance, and show their support online for the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. At the end of Trails Month, Lackawanna Heritage Valley will award participants with official event t-shirts as our way of saying thank you for your support.