Get into the holiday spirit at one of our local tree lighting ceremonies

free-christmas-tree-ipad-wallpaper-13By Heather Crivellone

Where did this year go?  If you are like me, you are scratching your heads and wondering what happened to 2017!  But, nonetheless, it’s the holidays and it’s time celebrate.  Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, scoping out the best “Black Friday” advertisements or trying to find at least one good picture of your children to put on holiday cards- tis the season for holiday everything.

One of the best ways (in my opinion) to kick off the holiday season is to enjoy the annual tree lighting ceremonies in my neighborhood and to view Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights.  There are plenty of ceremonies in the surrounding areas and here is my quick list of for your family to choose from and enjoy:

This Wednesday, November 22 is the annual tree lighting ceremony in Old Sacramento.  Enjoy a break from Thanksgiving prep and join other families at this festive event. Family friendly events begin at 4:30pm with the tree lighting at 6pm. Following the

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 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday through Christmas Eve.  December 24 showing will be at 6pm only.

Here is a list of other tree lighting ceremonies in the area to get you in the festive spirit:

Elk Grove:  Saturday November 25, enjoy a day at the Dickens Street Fair and conclude it in the evening with a Parade of Lights, concluding with the tree lighting ceremony at approximately 7:30pm.  All festivities are free and take place in Old Town Elk Grove located on Elk Grove Boulevard.

Roseville: Thursday November 30 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.

Folsom:  Friday, December 1 from 6pm-9pm, enjoy a winter wonderland in the Folsom Historic District.   Activities for the entire family will lead up to the tree lighting at 7:30.  Bring your warm jackets and even ice skates to take your turn on the rink.  200 Wool Street in Folsom

Carmichael:  Thursday, December 7 from 5pm- 8pm, join other families at this family friendly event.  Food trucks will be onsite for your dinner needs, kids activities and crafts will keep everyone busy waiting for tree to be lit.  Festivities will take place at the Carmichael Park at 5750 Grant Avenue.

This is just a small list of all the festivities in the area.  We will keep you posted on other events throughout the month.  Enjoy the beginning of the holiday season!

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Win Tickets: See B Street Theatre’s 2018 Family Series at their New Home, The Sofia

 

Something really exciting will be happening at the beginning of the new year. Sacramento’s beloved B Street Theatre will be opening the 2018 season at its new Midtown venue – The Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts, or The Sofia – located at 2700 Capitol Ave. The center will have a 250-seat main stage, a 350-seat children’s stage – The Sutter Theatre for Children –  and will host not only theatre, but comedy, dance, and musical acts as well. An onsite restaurant, open-air courtyard and large lobby will make the guest experience unforgettable at this beautiful new performing arts center.

Here’s a little blurb from B Street about children’s theatre:

Children’s theatre has grown 25 percent nationally in the last five years. Join us for the Family Series in the Sofia and contribute to the growth in youth-oriented arts programming. The B Street Theatre’s Family Series is Northern California’s only fully professional, resident theatre for children. This beloved and highly acclaimed series bring the joy of live theatre to children through exciting, original plays and lively adaptations of classic novels, stories and tales. Since its premier season in 2003, the Family Series has presented over 50 professional play for approximately 300,000 children and families in the Sacramento region.

If you’ve never had the chance to see a Family Series production, you’re missing out. Each performance at B Street’s children’s theatre is fantastic. The story adaptations are wonderful, the acting is professional and entertaining, and kids love the experience. Here’s the list of 2018 Family Series productions:

Gandhi!

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Treasure Island

A Christmas Carol

If you can’t hardly wait to check out B Street’s new venue with your kiddos, we’ve got you covered. The folks at B Street have graciously given us a Family Series 2018 season subscription to give away to one lucky winner. To be eligible to win the season subscription, check out all the 2018 B Street productions here, and then leave a comment as to which one you would most like to see. Leave your comment no later than 5 pm on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. The winner will be chosen on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Good luck!

Shake your Turkey Feathers this Thanksgiving for a Good Cause at One of our Local Fun Runs

 

Loosen up the belts and get ready – Thanksgiving is around the corner! For most people, that means football, mashed potatoes, stuffing and food galore.
This year, why not join other local Sacramento families and find a way to give back, earn that calorie intake and enjoy the beautiful fall weather Sacramento has to offer.
Across the region, you can find several “Turkey Trots” and fun runs to participate in with your family. Most are stroller friendly for even the youngest of participants and it doesn’t matter if you are an avid runner, walker or weekend warrior. Just lace up those sneakers and hit the streets for some community fun and exercise before the feast.

Here are my top 5 to choose from:

Saturday, November 18: Davis Turkey Trot. This family friendly event hosts eight different events and distances for all fitness levels. Enjoy the stroll through Davis’ residential neighborhoods and green belts. Live music, arts and crafts booths for the kids, vendors and fun is to be had at this event.

Thanksgiving Day: Run to Feed the Hungry in Sacramento is the largest Turkey Run in the country!
Join hundreds of people in support of the Sacramento Food Bank on Thanksgiving morning. This fun run begins at the Sacramento State Campus and winds through the beautiful tree-lined streets of East Sacramento, You can choose between the 5K or 10K option.

Thanksgiving Day: Turkey Trot for Teal 7 in Herald. Join other families at the 6th annual Turkey Trot for Teal. Walk, run or jog 3.1 miles and help raise money for the children’s cancer foundation. Once you are finished, enjoy treats and raffles to get you ready for your big day with family. Race begins at the Herald Community Center.

Thanksgiving Day: Folsom Turkey Trot. Choose from a 5k or 10k to participate in, starting at the Folsom zoo park. This fun run will benefit the Twin Lakes Food Bank. Registration sells out early, so if you are in the Folsom area make sure you check to see there is still space for you and your family.

Thanksgiving Day: Roseville Turkey Trot to support the Placer County Food Bank. This course will begin and end in Downtown Roseville on historic Vernon Street.

So this year, don’t feel guilty about going in for seconds with the candied yams. Burn those calories before you sit down at the table and support your local community at one of the many fun runs in the area.

 

24th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival in Auburn will Bring Fun and Entertainment to the Whole Family

Our Sacramento region is bursting with fall color.  Typically, we associate fall with apple pies, pumpkin spice lattes and caramel apples…but what about good old Vitamin C?  Oranges, mandarins and everything citrus is also a great fall combination.  Up the hill in nearby Placer County, it’s the season of the mandarin! 

Mark your calendars for November 17 – 19 for the 24th annual, Mountain Mandarin Festival located in Auburn.  As we all know, Sacramento and the surrounding areas are known to be the biggest and best of the Farm-to-Fork communities.  With local farms all around us, there is no reason we shouldn’t be enjoying the local produce and sampling some of the best fruits around.  Mandarins are no exception. You can enjoy mandarin everything this weekend at the festival.  Mandarin sauces, cookies, chocolates…even some adult mandarin libations at the Absolut Vodka lounge.
This is a great place to pick up some unique gifts for the holiday season and enjoy some live entertainment with the family.

Over 200 vendors will be on site, 16 local mandarin growers, 4 stages of entertainment, kids’ activities, petting zoo and even pony rides will be available.  This will be a fun event for the entire family.

Admission into the festival is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids 12 and under is free.  Parking is an additional $6.

If you have never had the opportunity to spend the day in Auburn, then this is a great time.  Fall is bursting with color in this quaint town known for its rich history during the Gold Rush.  Old Town Auburn also has many “mom and pop” shops that are always fun to visit and sure to have that “perfect” gift for someone in your family.

What:  Mountain Mandarin Festival
Where:  1273 High Street, Auburn
When:  November 17-November 19
Why:  To enjoy the bounty of our local fruits and support small town businesses during the holiday season.

Here is my favorite Spinach Mandarin Orange Salad recipe to try:

5-6 Cups Baby Spinach
1 Cup Mandarin Oranges
½ Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Tablespoon Orange Marmalade
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix the marmalade, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and pour over the spinach mixture.   Kids will even this sweet and savory salad!
Enjoy.

10 Fun Things to do with Kids in Sacramento in the Fall

While Sacramento enjoys great weather and lots of sunshine all year-long (Ok…summer might be just a tad warm), Fall is really one of the best times of the year to get out and explore what the city has to offer. The average temperature from Oct. through Nov. is about 70 degrees, with minimal precipitation. Add into the mix the thousands of trees with leaves changing color all over town, and you’ve got the perfect reason to get outside and enjoy the season. Take a look at our list of ten of the our favorite things to do with your kids this time of year.

1. Visit the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on the American River and witness the return of Chinook Salmon and steelhead trout as they settle into a spawning habitat at the base of the Nimbus Dam. This working hatchery offers visitors interactive exhibits at the visitors center; a spawning deck viewing window; a river discovery trail – a 1/4 mile trail along the river that allows for viewing of migrating and resident birds, deer, river otter a coyote; a fish ladder that helps the fish swim upstream; holding ponds offering close-up views of the fish; and a salmon-inspired play structure for the kiddos, complete with a shade canopy and bench. http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/nimbus

2. Get your fill of miniature trains at the California State Railroad Museum’s Big Weekend of Small Trains. This special event showcases a huge assortment of model and toy trains, hundreds of feet of track, along with make-believe cities and towns. The setup will really get you into the holiday mood. If you can pull yourself away from the magical world of toy trains, take some time to walk around the museum and see one of the West Coast’s largest collection of real trains and locomotives. www.californiarailroad.museum

3. Enjoy a Tuesday train ride along the Sacramento River. And speaking of trains, during the fall and winter, the California State Railroad Museum offers an excursion train ride to the general public on Tuesdays of each week. Trains depart at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm from the Central Pacific Railway Freight Depot in Old Sacramento and take riders on a 45-minute, round-trip journey along the levee. Witness the Sacramento River at it’s calmest – just before the winter rains pummel Northern California – and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season along the way. http://www.californiarailroad.museum

4. Explore a 100-acre nature preserve in the middle of the city at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. This preserve along the American River includes an education center with a staff of naturalists to help guests learn about the natural habitat that was once the summer home of the Nisenan Maidu native peoples. Visitors will see a replica Maidu village, a variety of native and non-native plants and animals that live on the preserve, and a garden of native flowering plants near the play area. Several trails are also available within the preserver for visitors to spot wildlife. Specific to the fall, keep your eye out for migrating birds, acorn-gathering squirrels and color-changing fall leaves on the many woodland trees. http://www.sacnaturecenter.net

5. Take a trip to nearby Apple Hill. For many Sacramentans, making the trip to Apple Hill is an annual fall tradition. While a year-round destination, the most popular and festive time to visit this conglomerate of farms is September through November. Located in the foothill towns of Placerville and Camino along Hwy 50, Apple Hill features family owned farms and ranches, offering a bounty of fresh produce, and definitely everything apple this time of year. Want to pick apples straight from the orchard? You got it. Have a hankering for a good old-fashioned apple pie? Take your pick. There’s also no shortage of apple cider, apple fritters, apple donuts, and more. Add to all the apple fun –  pumpkins, hay mazes, pony and train rides, even some trout fishing, and you’ve yourself and perfect day of fall family fun. http://www.applehillca.com/

6. Shop till your heart’s content at the Sacramento Harvest Festival. Held at Cal Expo, the Harvest Festival is the West Coast’s largest art and craft vendor fair. With hundreds of vendors offering more than 20,000 unique gifts – all handmade or embellished in the U.S. – you’ll be able to know just about everyone off your Christmas gift list in one fell swoop. Beyond shopping, the festival includes live music and comedy, themed performers (Mama Claus, Eddie the Elf, and Santa on stilts), an interactive kids zone and a food court. http://www.harvestfestival.com

7. Play at Fairytale Town – for free. Bring in a canned food to donate to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services the day after Thanksgiving, and you’ll earn free admission into Sacramento’s favorite park. At Fairytale Town you’ll experience all your favorite fairytale stories and characters throughout the park’s play areas and structures including King Arthur’s Castle, Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Sherwood Forest, the Crooked Mile, Cinderella’s Carriage, and more. The storybook park is located in the heart of the larger William Land Park, a beautiful expanse of open space where trees and fall leaves abound. http://www.fairytaletown.org/

8. Get your exercise in at Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. This 5k walk/run and 10k run is for the entire family. Sponsored by Western Health Advantage, the money raised through this event supports the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. By registering your family to run or walk, you are not only burning ahead of time all the calories you’ll be eating at the later Thanksgiving dinner, but you’ll be giving back to the community as well. http://www.runtofeedthehungry.com/

9. Visit the California Museum and save $2 off admission. There are several kid-friendly museums in and around Sacramento, and while the California Museum is one of them, it often gets overlooked. Home to the California Hall of Fame, California Indians, California’s Remarkable Women, Health Happens Here exhibits and many more permanent and short-term exhibits, this museum is an educational paradise for your kiddos. And, receive $2 off admission through the end of the year. http://www.californiamuseum.org/

10. Walk the streets of Midtown and Downtown for some spectacular fall colors. Sacramento has been known as the city of trees for years and there’s certainly no shortage of foliage in the city. Take a walk around Capital Park, then head east on K Street into Midtown. Wherever your feet take you this time of year, you’re bound to run into some best fall foliage any California city can offer.

 

 

WIN TICKETS: Sacramento’s Harvest Festival Goes Beyond Holiday Shopping with Live Music, Holiday-Themed Performers and a Hands-On Kids Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like that, Halloween is over, which means the holiday season is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is three weeks away and Christmas just seven. It’s time to start planning your holiday shopping which means scouring the Internet and store ads for deals, and strategically planning your Black Friday shopping schedule. While you may already have some ideas of what to get friends and family, there always seems to be that one person on the list that is difficult to find a gift for. Enter the Harvest Festival, the largest indoor arts and crafts show on the West Coast.

Held at Cal Expo, the Sacramento Harvest Festival boasts thousands of unique items – all handmade and embellished within the United States. From clothing to specialty foods, to original art and photography, the this festival has got you covered. In addition to shopping, enjoy music by the Fargo Brothers, laugh with comedian John Park and the “Funny Waiter” show, take pictures with Mama Claus, Eddie the Elf and stilt-walking Santa, grab a bite or two to eat from the many varied food vendors and let the kids play at the KidZone area presented by Lakeshore Learning.

Sound like fun? We’ve got four family packs, that’s right – FOUR – to give away to four lucky readers. The family packs include four admission tickets and $10 in “harvest money” to spend at your favorite vendor booth. If you would like a chance to win, watch the Harvest Festival video here, and tell us in the comment section below what you plan to shop for when you attend. Leave your comment by 5pm on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Winners will be chosen on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Good luck!

WHAT: Sacramento Harvest Festival

WHEN: Nov. 17-19, 2017, 10am to 6pm

WHERE: Cal Expo, Sacramento

TICKETS: $9 adults, $7 youth, $4 kids, free ages 12 and under

*be prepared to pay a parking fee