Tis the season for baking, shopping and decorating in Sacramento! This Wednesday, take a break from the holiday preparations and start the festive season off with the annual tree lighting ceremony in Old Sacramento. On Wednesday, November 25 at 6pm, join others in Old Sacramento at Front and K Streets to watch as the 58-foot tall Old Sacramento Christmas tree will be lit for the season.
Following the tree lighting, Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights will kick off the annual season with the classic “Twas the Night before Christmas. If you haven’t seen this show, it’s one not to miss. The Theatre of Lights is a unique state-of-the-art live staging of this classic tale. Incorporating a symphony of lights, sounds and visual effects that takes the audience back to a time when the beloved poem was first introduced in Sacramento in 1857. This poem comes to life on the balconies and rooftops of Old Sacramento’s historic buildings on K Street between Front and 2nd Street.
The Theatre of Lights will take place through the holiday season with two 20-minute light shows at 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday until December 17. Dec 17-23 the show will run every night at the same times. December 24 there will be a 6:15 showing and again on December 26 and 27 back to the two times. December 31 there will be a 7:00 and 8:30 showing.
This is a FREE family fun event… so wrap up the kids in their cozy sweaters, grab some hot cocoa and enjoy an evening in Old Sacramento. This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit (and escape the kitchen from all the pre-Thanksgiving baking and prep work!).
Other tree lighting ceremonies in the area to get you in the festive spirit include (but not limited) to the following:
Rancho Cordova: November 29 from 4-7:30pm at the Village Green Park. Enjoy this family fun free event. Includes hay and train rides, food trucks, music, live entertainment and even a visit from Santa!
Elk Grove: Old Town Elk Grove will go back into time with their annual Dickens street fair on November 28. The street fair will take place from 10am-4pm and their annual “Parade of Lights” will go from 6pm- 9pm.
Roseville: On December 3 from 6pm-8pm on Vernon Street in Old Roseville, enjoy a “Winter Wonderland” with activities for the entire family. Kid’s activity zone, crafts, vendors and even snow! It will be an event not to be missed.
There will be activities and festivals going on all month-long around the Sacramento valley. I hope this quick list helps you plan some festive outings with your family.
Enjoy the beginning of the holiday season!
By Heather Crivellone
Fall color is everywhere here in the Sacramento region. Typically, we associate fall with pumpkin spice, apple pies and falling leaves…but what about oranges? In nearby Placer County, it’s the season of the mandarin. You can find everything from mandarin jelly, mandarin BBQ sauce, mandarin cookies…or just pluck a ripe and juicy fruit from a local tree and dive right in!
Sacramento and its surrounding areas is known to be the biggest and best of the Farm-to-Fork communities. With farms, wineries, and agriculture all around us, there is no reason we shouldn’t be enjoying the local produce and sampling some of the best fruits and vegetables around. And if you are looking for some unique local gifts to give this holiday season, then head to Placer County this weekend (just north of Sacramento), for their annual Mandarin Festival, November 20-22.
“The Mountain Mandarin Festival marks the official beginning of Placer County Mountain Mandarin season. The event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving every year at the Gold Country Fairgrounds at 1273 High Street in Auburn. This 3-day celebration draws 30,000 visitors from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno”.
You can sample fresh mandarins, olive oils, jams, jellies, syrups and more. I want to check out the Chocolate Dipped Mandarins, Mandarin Popcorn, Fudge and some of the other tasty concoctions!
There will also be cooking demonstrations, craft shows, vendors, kids’ activities and fun for the entire family. About an hour outside of Sacramento, you will be in Auburn, the heart of Gold Country. If you haven’t visited Auburn, it is a charming town that is known for their deep roots during the Gold Rush days. A visit to Auburn makes for a wonderful weekend day trip, with “mom and pop” shops, restaurants and plenty of outdoor activities. This time of year is gorgeous with the fall colors popping and the holiday season just around the corner, you will be sure to make some festive memories with your loved ones.
If you would like to check out this event the address again is: 1273 High Street in Auburn. Event hours are Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.
By Heather Crivellone
Registration is Now Open for 22nd Annual Run to Feed the Hungry, A Sacramento Race that Grows Each Year
Thanksgiving is around the corner and Sacramentans are gearing up for an annual tradition that seems to grow year after year. With only a few weeks to prepare, go ahead and lace up those jogging shoes and get ready for the 22nd Annual Run to Feed the Hungry.
The Run to Feed the Hungry race has become a family tradition for thousands of local residents. It is also one of the largest and respected races in the United States….with close to 27,000 participants each year!
On Thanksgiving morning (November 26th), join others at the entrance to the Sacramento State Campus and choose between the 5K or 10K courses to run/walk through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento.
All proceeds from the race will benefit the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS). This is the largest fundraiser for the SFBFS and if you are not familiar with the organization, click here to find out about the amazing things that they accomplish each year. Besides offering food assistance, clothing, baby supplies and more to local in need residents, they also offer adult education, daycare and a youth academy to those families who are in need of such assistance.
The organization does wonderful things for the community and with the help of the thousands of volunteers and participants in the annual Run to Feed the Hungry, they can continue to offer these great programs.
So, if you would like to participate or help out at this annual run, register online and/or contact the SFBFS to volunteer. I have done this run for several years and am looking forward to having my children join me this year (strollers are welcome).
I can’t think of a better way to start out my Thanksgiving holiday…my family, the beautiful colors of fall in East Sacramento, a chance to give back to my community and burn some calories before the turkey feast begins!
We hope to see you and your family out there on Thanksgiving morning… and with any luck, it will also become a family tradition in your home. And of course, if you already have plans for Thanksgiving morning, but want to be in “the know” for other races and running/ walking events that are in the area check out our link for local Runs and Walks. We update the site monthly, and if you are an avid runner and don’t see your favorite race listed, please let us know – there are so many in our area that it’s hard to keep up.
So again, lace up for a great cause and enjoy the holiday season!
By Heather Crivellone
Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11. This is a day that is dedicated to honoring those who have served in our United States military. We are all very thankful to the sacrifices that are made to keep our great country safe! The holiday began as a day to remember the end of World War I and was declared a holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday became Veterans Day in 1954.
Around Sacramento you can find several ways to honor veterans and military personnel. Here is a quick list of events happening in our area:
The 5th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Sacramento will begin at 11am at Capitol Mall. There will be vendors, food trucks and children’s activities immediately following the parade.
Auburn Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 7, will begin at 11am on Main Street in Auburn.
The Sacramento Zoo will offer half-off admission to all military families on November 11.
The Aerospace Museum will be having a special veteran-honoring day that includes free admission into the museum on November 11.
California State Railroad Museum will offer a Veterans Day Train Ride at 1pm 2pm and 3pm. All veterans can ride free and will also receive free admission on this day.
Chicago Fire Pizza is offering a 10% discount to anyone who shows a valid military ID.
Fat’s Asia Bistro is also offering a discount to Veterans on this day. They will receive 20% off any appetizer or dessert.
This is just a quick list of what you can participate in. The best way to celebrate Veteran’s Day in my opinion is to thank a veteran for all they have done and all they continue to do to make our country great.
By Heather Crivellone
Some of the best things in life are free. We can take our children to the park and watch them play – for free. We can take a hike around a nature preserve – for free. We can even keep them busy building and learning – for free.
You may be thinking, “where in Sacramento can they craft and learn for free?” Well, it’s not every weekend that you can find a special free activity, but on select Saturdays, you can visit Lowe’s building supply and join their Kids Clinic.
Each session has a unique wooden project the child can build, along with their very own apron, goggles and other tools they need to complete the project. Some projects in the past have been bird feeders, airplanes and such. Coming on Saturday, November 14 the kids will be making a racecar! It’s simple fun for the kids and they get to take home their creations. Tip -Registration must be made prior to the visit, as these free classes fill up quickly.
Looking for something a little more artistic? Lakeshore Learning Center in Roseville offers a free crafting class every Saturday from 11am-3pm. This is a walk-in event, no pre-registration is required as kids can come and go as they please. Each week they have new holiday or seasonal crafts for the kids to explore and create. Here is a list of what is coming up in November:
November 7- Stars and Stripes Windsock
November 14- Thanksgiving Door hanger
November 21- Give Thanks! Centerpiece
November 28- Nature’s Picture Frame.
So as you begin to think about the holiday shopping that is around the corner, take a look at some of our local stores that are doing something for our kids. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and let your children be kids and create something fun. Happy Crafting!
By Heather Crivellone
One of the best things about living in the Sacramento area is that there are plenty of options for family friendly day trips. Whether it’s to the Sierra Foothills, down to the beach in Monterey or enjoying some world-famous wines in the Napa valley, we have access to some of the greatest tourist destinations within just a few hours.
Recently, our family decided to do something different – we ventured out to the “big city”- not by car, not by train, but by ferry!
I still can’t believe that after so many years of living in the Sacramento area, I had never even thought about taking the ferry into San Francisco for a day trip. Now, we are hooked! If you have kids that love the idea of experiencing different transportation sources, then this is the trip for you!
We began our day with a peaceful drive to Vallejo that took us just a little over an hour. Once we arrived into Vallejo, we easily found a parking spot across the street from the ferry building, paid our $5 daily parking fee, grabbed our backpacks and set off on our day trip adventure. We boarded the San Francisco Bay ferry around 9am and enjoyed some coffee and pastries on the ship while the kids got ready to “set sail”.
We had plenty of room to relax and play a few hands of Uno, but my kids were mostly entertained by watching the waves and enjoying the cool ocean breeze on the back deck. In about an hour and a half, we arrived at Pier 41 and set out to enjoy a day in the city.
The ferry gave us the ease of travel, without the hassle of paying for toll bridges, parking in the city, or traffic on the Bay Bridge, and we were able to just hang out and enjoy our kids. The cost for our family of four to ride the ferry was approximately $45 round trip. This is what it would have cost us to park our car at the pier!
Once we were at the Pier, we enjoyed the sights and tastes of the city (Clam Chowder in a Boudin Bread bowl of course!).
We debated on hiking up to Ghirardelli Square and riding the trolley, but we opted for yet another ferry that took us to Angel Island. On the island, we were able to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful hike with views that you could typically only see on a postcard!
It was by far, one of the best day trips our family has taken in quite a while. No stress with driving, parking and fees – just a day out enjoying some of the treasures our great state has to offer, while making memories with our family. If you are looking for a fun day trip adventure, I highly recommend taking the ferry into the city. It was a great experience for not only our kids, but our entire family!
By Heather Crivellone
Disney on Ice’s Production of Dare to Dream Brings to Life your Favorite Disney Princesses, Past and Present
Last night was opening night of Disney on Ice’s Dare to Dream show celebrating 75 years of Disney Princess stories. This is our third show in the past couple of years and Disney on Ice always does a wonderful job at featuring a variety of your favorite Disney movies and characters. Last night’s performance showcasing a mix of classic and modern characters from Snow White and Cinderella to Rapunzel and Tiana, was no exception.
I love the look on my daughter’s face as her favorite characters, in amazing costumes, glide across the ice with the greatest of ease singing her favorite songs. The highlights of the night were watching Flynn Rider and Rapunzel fly into the air numerous times high above the ice! It was nothing short of amazing and a bit Cirque de Soleil-esque! The other was the Maximus character from Tangled! Two people in an awesome horse costume really captured the funny and animated character from the movie!
We love that every show is hosted and narrated by the classics, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck! We sang, we danced, and we tried our hardest to catch the attention of our favorite princesses, who all made an appearance at the end. The Disney on Ice series always has us leaving with giant smiles on our faces!
Disney on Ice Presents Dare to Dream captivates audiences at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena through Sunday, Oct.25, 2015. Get your tickets here.
By Lindsey Adams