Start Off The Holiday Season With Old Sacramento’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

imagesCAN0WG2KBy Heather Crivellone

It’s official…even if you have been trying to deny it (like I have), the fact is, it’s here.  The holiday season is upon us! So with the hustle and bustle of preparing for the festivities, why don’t you take a break from the holiday cooking and start the season off with the annual tree lighting ceremony in Old Sacramento.

On Wednesday, November 27th  join other families in Old Sacramento at Front and K Streets to watch the kick-off of the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Music and festivities will begin at 6:00 pm to get you and your family in the holiday spirit.  Following the tree lighting, Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights will begin at 7:00pm.

The Theatre of Lights is a unique state-of-the-art live staging of the classic ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. The show blends a symphony of lights, sounds and visual effects which will take the audience back to a time when the beloved poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas was first introduced in Sacramento in 1857.   The 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 pm. and 7:45 pm. every Thursday through Sunday until December 31st.   December 24th will show at 6:15 and on New Years Eve 7:00 and 8:30pm.

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!).

There will be plenty more festivities to come in the following weeks,  so prepare yourself for some fun and excitement…and most importantly, have fun and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Three Kid-Friendly Fall Projects Using Leaves from Sacramento Area Trees

leaf-lantern-1By Alyssa Green

It’s an absolutely beautiful year for fall leaves in Sacramento.  I don’t know about you, but when I see trees all over the Sacramento Valley just bursting in colors of gold, orange and red, I want to preserve them.  Well, guess what I’ll be doing next week with my kiddos?  Yep, we’ll be preserving some Sacramento leaves in the way of Thanksgiving projects that my boys and I can do together in preparation for Turkey Day.  Take a look at the following three projects – maybe you’ll be making them too!

Leaf Lantern –  This is a fairly quick and easy project, assuming you plan ahead of time (you’ll need pressed leaves for this lantern.)  Take a canning jar, cover  the outside with Modge Podge, then layer your pressed leaves around the jar, to your liking.  Once the leaves have dried, add another layer of Modge Podge.  Add a votive and voila!  A beautiful Thanksgiving table decoration!

Magic Leaf Rubbings – you probably remember leaf rubbings from grade schoMagic Leaf Rubbings (2) from MadtownMacs_blogspot_comol.  Well, this technique takes leaf rubbing to the next level.  Using two pieces of watercolor paper, place your leaves between the sheets, then use a white crayon on its side, to rub over the paper and the leaves underneath.  Lastly, you’ll bring out the watercolor paints.  Using a paint brush, paint over your leaf rubbings, and…ta da!  Beautiful fall leaves appear!  Frame your picture or make them into greeting cards.  There’s a myriad of things you can do with this beautiful artwork.

Leaf-TurkeysLeaf Feather Turkeys – You’ll need some pressed leaves for this project as well, but once the leaves are pressed and dried, this work of art will take just minutes and is easy enough for even the smallest child to do themselves.  Cut out two circles (one large, one small) from brown paper, place the pressed leaves behind the large circle and glue.  The leaves become beautiful turkey feathers!  Next glue the small brown circle in the middle – this will be the turkey’s head.  Add eyes, a beak and waddle and you are done!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone – hope you enjoy our Sacramento leaves projects!

Five Unique Sacramento Activities To Do With Kids During The Thanksgiving Week Holiday

turkeytt_categoryBy Alyssa Green

Thanksgiving is next week, and while you have probably plotted and planned your actual Thanksgiving day dinner and activities, have you thought about how you are going to keep your kiddos busy during their vacation from school?  That’s right, your kids most likely have the ENTIRE week off and I bet you’ll want to keep them busy.  Here is a list of five “unique-to-Sacramento” activities you may want to check out.

1.  Turkey Trot at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – There is no better place for your kids to learn about America’s favorite bird this time of year, than at our very own nature center.  Beards, wattles and snoods? What strange things to find on a bird! Look and listen for wild turkeys as you explore their world on this guided walk through the Nature Preserve.  11/24

2.  Indian Arts & Crafts Holiday Fair at the California State Indian Museum – Looking for an authentic shopping experience on Black Friday?  Then Head on over to the Indian Museum.  Native artisans from all over California offer their wares for sale each year, on the two days following Thanksgiving. Enjoy browsing through jewelry, basketry, pottery, hand-painted gourds, ornaments, and much more, as you select those just-right gifts for the holidays.  11/29 – 11/30

3.  Small Train Holiday at the California State Railroad Museum – Your kids will think they have died and gone to heaven!   The whole family will get into the spirit of the season when the California State Railroad Museum presents a Small Train Holiday. Visitors will be dazzled by roving musical entertainment; fun, interpretive hand car rides; amazing scale and model toy train display; story time with Mrs. Claus and much more—all happening inside the Museum!  11/29-11/30

4.  Theater of Lights in Old Sacramento – This is a must for any family visiting Sacramento during the holidays!  Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights blends a symphony of lights, sounds, and visual effects that transport the audience back in time with a reading of the famous poem The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. The narrated reading of the powerful and nostalgic poem is brought to life through theatrical elements and visually-exciting lighting choreography that takes place on the balconies and rooftops of Old Sacramento’s historic buildings. The free outdoor performances artfully mix the historic charm of Old Sacramento with state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology to create a memorable and visually-exciting holiday experience for all visitors. 11/27-12/31

5.  Old Sacramento Underground Tours – Underground tours offer a fun fall excursion for individuals, families and groups of friends! Hidden beneath the city for nearly 150 years, Old Sacramento’s underground has long been the capital’s best-kept secret. Finishing out its fourth season, visitors have the opportunity to uncover the facts behind the legends that lie below historic buildings and sidewalks. Tour guests explore excavated foundations and enclosed pathways while entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides recount the tales of the devastation, perseverance, and determination that led to California’s only successful street-raising project.  Thru 11/30

***Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on Thanksgiving crafts and projects your kids can do at home!

Fairytale Town Gives Back To The Community With FREE Admission Days During The Holidays

MLK Day at Fairytale TownBy Heather Crivellone

I have to admit, one of my most favorite and cherished places to take the kids here in Sacramento is Fairytale Town. How can it get any better… a park made specifically for toddlers and little feet to run around and play to their heart’s content all while adding in the great nursery rhymes we have all grown up with? Stories and the Old Mother Goose rhymes literally come to life at this 2.5 acre play park.
The kids can explore old nursery rhyme favorites while speeding down slides, climbing through tunnels and balancing along the “Crooked Mile”.  Kids can enjoy viewing animals from the “Three Little Pig”, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and more.  My favorite area is Mr. McGregors Garden where the kids can help water the vegetable plants.  You can spend the entire day exploring and playing with your kids at this park!

And in the spirit of the holidays, Fairytale Town “gives back” to the community and give thanks to the Sacramento community by offering two FREE Admission Days during the holiday season.
On the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 29 from 10am to 4pm, Fairytale Town offers free admission to families who bring a canned food item for donation to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services– Holiday Spirit of Giving Food Drive.  The day also includes free arts and crafts activities.  Puppet Art Theater Company will be on hand to presents “Little Red’s Holiday Adventure”, which tells the classic tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” with a holiday twist, at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 pm. In the Children’s Theater.  Tickets for the puppet show are $1 for Fairytale Town members and $2 for nonmembers.

Families can let their imaginations run wild during the park’s second Free Admission Day on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Both Free Admission Days are offered weather permitting.
For more information, visit their website or call (916) 808-7462.

Weekend Family Fun

PicMonkey Collage

11/15 – Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons at the Sleep Train Arena

11/15 – 11/16 – Wizard of Oz – Little Dorothy Gale of Kansas, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy’s imagination as the Christian Youth Theater (CYT), Sacramento, presents The Wizard of Oz.

11/16 – Princess Academy at Fairytale Town – Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! Little princesses-in-training will learn the magical secrets of being a fairytale princess in this one-day workshop for ages 5 to 8. Princesses will play dress up, attend a pink tea party, and decorate delicious treats to enjoy.  From princess etiquette to royal manners and social skills, this fairytale-fun workshop has everything a budding princess needs, including a Fairy Godmother.

11/16 – Hands on History: The Donners and other Emigrant Wagon Parties at Sutter’s Fort – Wagon travel across the Sierra Nevada was a dangerous proposition. In the winter of 1846-1847 over 80 emigrants became trapped in the Sierra snows. They are known as the Donner Party, but they were many different families and individuals. Sutter’s Fort was their destination and became their only hope of survival. Rescue parties of volunteers were assembled at the Fort, mules and packs were gathered, and a variety of food supplies were packed for the rescue. Few people are aware that the second relief party carried 100 lbs. of cocoa and 400 pounds of sugar among other more staple items.  Come to the fort and hear why there is so much discussion about the Donner Party.  Visitors will be able to pack a wagon or write in a journal with a quill pen, or make a corn husk or rag doll, and create their own pioneer souvenir item.

11/17 – Family Sundays at Central: Musical Robot – Dance and sing along with the energetic music duo Musical Robot, and create a unique robot using recycled materials.

11/17 – Sunday Funday: Wild Things Inc. at Arden Hills – Looking for an amazing and captivating experience perfect for kids? Well, Wild Things Inc. to the rescue! Wild Things Inc. will be on-site so young ones can enjoy meeting and learning about animals from around the world. Don’t miss this perfect event for kids. Parents are welcome to stay and enjoy the fun or leave their children in the care of certified Kid’s Korner staff.

11/17 – Compass Walk at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center – Join docent Jennifer Kerr for a guided map and compass walk. You will learn how to use a compass, take bearings, use a compass with a map and find our way around the trails.  Donations are gratefully accepted.

11/17 – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies at Sleep Train Arena

11/17 – Free Family Concert: Bi-Lingual – For the first time ever, Camellia Symphony Orchestra will be hosting a bi-lingual Free Family Concert with Instrument Petting Zoo. This kid-friendly concert will also include a visual art element presented by I Can Do THAT!, who will offer “funshops” for children to create art related to the musical experience.

Win Tickets To The Sacramento Harvest Festival!

Harvest FestivalLooking for a unique holiday shopping experience?  Then you’ll want to head on over to the Sacramento Harvest Festival at Cal Expo November 22-24, 2013.

“The Harvest Festivals are the largest indoor arts and crafts shows on the West Coast and were rated as one of the top 200 craft shows in the United States.  The event offers over 24,000 unique handmade gifts that are all made in America.  Guests can browse jewelry, clothing, find are and photography, pottery, toys, home decor and more, all while mingling with the artists that create each piece.”

Here’s what else you’ll find at this wonderful family festival:

Live entertainment acts include a Johnny Cash Tribute band featuring James Garner and rock band Fargo Brothers.

Children 12 years and younger are FREE, and they will love  Mama Claus and Eddie the Elf who will be in the aisles singing Christmas carols.  WC Willy on stilts and Fables of the West will  will be  entertaining guests throughout the festival.  The kiddos can also head over to the KidZone, hosted by Nature of Art for Kids, where they’ll have plenty of fun, eco-friendly interactive art projects to keep them busy.

Would you like to attend the Harvest Festival and get some of your holiday shopping out of the way early?  Well, we have a family 4-pack to give away to one lucky reader.  For a chance to win, leave us a comment as to what unique gift you hope to find at this year’s festival.  A random drawing will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2013.  Good luck!