Of all the holiday events that take place in Sonoma County, these are the top local traditions and quirky hometown productions that truly feel like home.
The Sonoma County Repertory Theater version of the classic is the longest-running in the area and plays to a packed house each year.
104 N. Main St., Sebastopol; (707) 823-0177.
Parade of Lights featuring more than 100 entries of floats, horses, marching bands, antique cars, trucks and more all decorated with Christmas lights by local merchants, religious organizations, service groups, and individuals.
Downtown Guerneville; free; 5:30 - 8pm; (707) 869-9000
In a dramatic evening spectacle, a flotilla of decorated lighted vessels glide into the Historic Downtown Petaluma harbor at about 6:30 p.m. (View anywhere along the waterfront around the D Street bridge.) Afterwards, enjoy shopping or dinner at one of Petaluma's many nearby shops or restaurants. The lighted boats remain throughout the night.
Free; 6:30 pm; (707) 769-0429
The 6th annual event features a line-up of Bay Area comics, musicians and actors reading truly strange holiday tales.
7:30 p.m.; $20 in advance/$25 at the door; The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa (707) 338-6013
This is not your typical holiday show. The wonderfully quirky Pegasus Theater holds an annual variety 'HollyDay' show extravaganza. See heroic elves, scheming reindeer and a Bad Santa face challenges familiar to us all. Enjoy music from solstice and Hanukkah plus classic Christmas compositions.
20347 Hwy.116, Monte Rio. (707)522-9043
Candlelight procession from Sonoma Barracks to Mission San Francisco Solano, followed by nondenominational service at 5, 6, and 7 p.m. Free but reservations/tickets are required; limit four per family. (707) 938-1519. A food donation drive is part of this program. Canned food may be brought to the Mission while picking up tickets or the day of the event. (707) 938-9560.
Also at the Mission in December: The Blessing of the Olives ceremony
, which is now part of the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival
, will take place on December 6,
2008. Learn about the olive traditions in Sonoma County and enjoy music and refreshments. Then, go across the street to the historic Sonoma Barracks for olive tastings. See video
This season’s production of the perennial Christmas classic features professional dancers such as Rasta Thomas
as well as local talent.
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. (707)546-3600
The ever-popular Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah is now in its 27th consecutive year--which is the longest in the entire country! Proceeds benefit the Santa Rosa Symphony Music Education Department. A replay of the concert will air on KRCB-TV, Channel 22.
7:30 p.m.; $20 general, $15 seniors and students; Santa Rosa High School, 235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. (707) 579-4094
The Sonoma Valley community gets together for their Annual Free Christmas Dinner at the Sonoma Community Center. Some folks come because they can’t afford a meal otherwise. Some show up because they want companionship. Most everyone is there because they want to share a communal feast on this important day. And what a feast it is. The holiday meal features gourmet foods, wine, live music, candlelight, flowers and more.
276 East Napa Street Sonoma; (707) 938-4626 x1
Shop in such a way that the day you spend and the memories you create are as wonderful as the gifts you buy. Ride a horse-drawn carriage, listen to carolers, sip hot apple cider and find the perfect present at these Sonoma County locations.
Go out to the farm, breath in the crisp winter air and the scent of pine, enjoy the scenery, search for the perfect tree and create a wonderful Christmas tradition. These are some of my favorite Christmas Tree Farms in the area.