When it comes to Christmas displays in Pittsburgh, we're used to over the top and extravagant. It is just what we do during the holidays in southwestern Pennsylvania.
We visited Overly's Country Christmas in Greensburg with a great deal of excitement because of this, and ended up being, well, quite underwhelmed!
Overly's Country Christmas is a Small Holiday Display
We're going to start this one off on a bad foot and simply say this: Overly's Country Christmas is small. Too small, even.
The property features a modest light display, a nativity scene with live sheep and a donkey, a talking Christmas tree (our favorite part), a fire pit, a model train exhibit, a small handful of shops in the makeshift Christmas village, and a few more activities oriented for children (such as Santa's workshop, train rides, horse drawn carriage rides, and a small play area).
Even with looking at all of the attractions in detail, those who visit without kids can enjoy these highlights in no more than 30 minutes. This includes time to grab a deep fried nutter butter (that is fried upon order for you) and doubling back to see a few favorites a second time.
Those who visit with kids, however, may be able to get an extra hour out of their visit as the bulk of the attractions are oriented for the younger set.
What they have they do well, but this one really does become the case of simply wanting more for the effort you have to make to visit.
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We think this distinction is fairly important because Overly's Country Christmas is located about an hour outside of Pittsburgh and is also known for entry waits of multiple hours for those who are not the first to arrive.
Overall, we were fairly disappointed in Overly's Country Christmas, and that is probably an understatement on our part.
We wouldn't recommend driving an hour from Pittsburgh for this small Christmas display, but if you are nearby and can get in when right when they open (and are going with young children), you will certainly have a much more enjoyable experience than us.
If this is you, we have a few tips for getting the most out of your visit to Overly's Country Christmas!
Tips for Visiting Overly's Country Christmas
As we mentioned above, Overly's Country Christmas is known to have waits of several hours to get in on weekends. While we personally would turn around and leave if we saw any sort of wait, we do have a few tips for those are looking to avoid the crowds.
First, get there before they open. If you are hoping to park in the paved lot ($18 per carload in 2017), get to the fairgrounds at least 15 to 30 minutes before they open.
This is important because the paved lot is fairly small and once it is full they do not let anyone else in until a spot opens up. If you're that first carload after the lot fills up you may find yourself with an decent wait until the very first person leaves!
If you do choose to park in this lot and are lucky to be one of the first people there, it will still take quite a bit of time for you to get to the parking lot after Overly's opens (we were leaving before the first batch of cars even finished parking).
The reason for this is that those who pay to park get to drive around the outside of the grounds first to see the lights and traffic moves fairly slowly as cars wind their way around the small course into the lot.
Second, park in the at your own risk lot. On high traffic nights (typically Saturdays in December), Overly's opens up overflow parking in the field next to the fairgrounds. They call this “park at your own risk”, which sounds more dramatic than it should be, but really it is simply field parking.
You can access this from a special entry on Blue Ribbons Road where Mount Pleasant Road and Pleasant Unity Mutual Road merge just before the main entrance (it is a blink and you'll miss it turn-off), as well as from the five lane parking queue prior to the paved lot (typically published as lanes 2 and 5, but we popped out of the 3rd lane before the cars piled up). Note that in the latter you may get stuck in stand-still traffic, so if you enter via the parking queue you may have a bit of a wait- so don't miss that turn!
Parking here is free, and you are charged $4 per person entry instead of the flat $18 rate for a carload (saving money and time, yes!).
If you get in to this one early (as you still should), several field parking spaces are right off a paved road- so you have very little risk to your car in our opinion. But it is worth noting that they do not open this lot if it is icy or muddy, so it could be somewhat of a gamble on whether it'll be open on any given Saturday based on the weather.
Finally, get there before they open! Are we making the same recommendation twice? Yes, I believe we are.
Overly's Country Christmas is known for traffic back ups for miles down the road that takes hours to get in on peak nights. In just 30 minutes from opening the line of cars heads out to the main road and backs up well beyond the entrance for the field parking.
If you miss getting in early you're going to be in for a very long wait that is simply is not worth it- even if you are visiting with kids for a fun family evening.
So if you think you're going to hit up Overly's Country Christmas, it is best to keep these things in mind for an activity that is simply too popular for its size.
Overly's Country Christmas is located at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds at 116 Blue Ribbon Lane outside of Greensburg, PA. Be sure to check their schedule on their website and Facebook page as they sometimes close unexpectedly due to inclement weather.
On your way back to the city, stop at Bubba's in Greensburg for pizza and Polish food!