10 Kid-Tested and Parent-Approved Ways to Get Festive in Sacramento this Holiday Season

By Heather Crivellone

It’s the holiday season and it’s the time for making memories. Whether you choose to visit a local Christmas lights display, gather with friends to sing carols in your neighborhood or just stay in to bake cookies and watch movies, one thing is for sure – this is definitely the most wonderful time of the year.

Sacramento has many activities and events happening around the region that will get your family into the holiday spirit. Here is a list of my top 10 activities that are kid-tested and family approved:

  1. Wild Nights and Holiday Lights at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary. December nights at the zoo come to life with beautiful light displays. Enjoy carolers, rides on the “Starlight Express” train, photo opportunities with “Santa Paws” and an evening to view the Zoo animals after dark.
  2. Cinderella Carriage Rides at the Fountains in Roseville. Start your holiday season off like royalty and head to one of Sacramento area’s most upscale shopping venues, the Fountains in Roseville for some royal treatment! To live the dream of being Cinderella, the Fountains has special holiday Carriage rides fit for a princess this month.  You can purchase tickets for $4 to ride around the mall in a beautifully light carriage that is sure to make girls of all ages feel like royalty! Along with the carriage rides, Victorian carolers will be making appearances singing all our favorite Christmas songs.
  3. Lace up those sneakers and join in the 5th Annual Sacramento Santa Run. Burn off those Christmas cookies with over 1,000 Santa’s on December 16th. Choose between a 5K or a “Merry Mile”- each participant gets a Santa suit to run in!
  4. Visit one of the largest Christmas holiday light displays in the country at Cal Expo. Global Winter Wonderland is a multi-cultural celebration featuring illuminated exhibits celebrating holidays around the world. Tickets can be purchased online and visit starting December 1- 31.
  5. Santa’s Secret Adventure at Penryn Oak Stables is an experience not to be missed. Children will delight in riding in one of Santa’s personal carriages pulled by horses, enjoying hot cocoa, cookies and stories.
  6. No holiday is complete without a few laps around the ice skating rink. Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink is open daily through January 15. General admission is $12 that includes skate rental. Hours very, so check the website for session times.
  7. Take a ride through the 2nd annual Bayside Christmas Lights Drive-Thru at the Bayside/ Adventure Church in Rocklin. Grab some hot cocoa, turn on the Christmas tunes and enjoy almost a mile of spectacular lights. Reservations are required to control traffic flow, but this is a free event.
  8. Holiday Magic at the Sacramento Zoo will bring your love for the wild and Christmas into one fun-filled day. December 9 from 10am-4pm, bundle up the family and watch as the animals on display receive special treats for the holiday season. Advance tickets are required for the early morning “Breakfast with Santa” before the Holiday Magic takes place.
  9. Everyone’s favorite classic tale of the Nutcracker comes to life with the Sacramento Ballet. Showing at the Community Center Theater in Downtown Sacramento from December 9-23.
  10. Grab some popcorn and get ready to relax and watch a holiday favorite on the big screen at the historic Crest Theater in Downtown Sacramento. Christmas classics of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Home Alone” are being shown this month. Check the website for dates and times.

There are so many fun and festive things to do this month in the Sacramento area. Whether you choose to fill up your calendars with activities or embrace the stillness and enjoy a quiet holiday season…we wish you and your family a very wonderful month full of joy.


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.


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

Win Tickets: It’s Girl Time at Golden 1 Center when Eight Princesses Come Together for Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big

Are you ready for a girls night out? Downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center will soon host the newest Disney on Ice production – Dream Big – featuring eight of our favorite Disney princesses of all time. Audiences of all ages are invited to dabble in pixie dust with Tinker Bell and travel through Disney lands as they visit Ariel under the sea; watch as Cinderella, Rapunzel and Belle work to create their own magic; travel to the wintry land of Arendelle with Anna and Elsa; discover a new world with jasmine; and learn about strength and kindness with Snow White, Aurora and Tiana. As always, this Disney on Ice production will thrill audiences with breathtaking scenery, enchanting lights, high-flying jumps, daring acrobatics, and flawless skating.

WHAT: Disney on Ice present Dream Big

WHEN: Nov. 2-5, 2017

WHERE: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

TICKETS: ticket prices start at $20

WIN TICKETS: Want to surprise that special little girl (or two) in your life with tickets to the show? We’ve got 4 tickets for opening night to give away to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment below telling us who your favorite Disney princess is, and why. Leave your comment no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 – the winner will be chosen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Good luck!

Show Review: Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes Offers an Exciting and Action-Packed Performance to Sacramento Marvel Hero Lovers

Having been to our fair share of princess on ice shows, we were excited to see what Marvel Universe Live! had in store for our little superhero (and villain) lovers. We took our two boys to the Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes show at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on a recent weekday night. We had a blast seeing characters from both the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy come to life and work together to try to save the universe from destruction.

The show was filled with intense, but not too frightening, fighting scenes, fireworks, explosives, acrobatics, dirt bike tricks, fire dancers and tons of aerial maneuvers. One of the highlights was watching Spiderman effortlessly soar around the stage and catch villains with his web-slinging abilities. Of course, all the favorites were there, including Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, the Wasp, Groot and Rocket. They moved seamlessly across several scenes displayed realistically on stage and battled villains such as Loki, Nebula and Chitauri. When my 5-year-old asked, “is this real?,” I felt pretty confident saying, “yes, it is.” I mean, they were real actors, right? Regardless, the audience was captivated by the dozens of Marvel characters engaging in almost constant combat sequences.

At one hour and 40 minutes, the show kept our attention, but did not drag on. There was also one intermission, which allowed us time to browse the masks, swords, guns, and plenty more Marvel paraphernalia to take home as souvenirs. Then, it was back to the show for more action-packed battle scenes and acrobatic stunts. When the Hulk finally made his arrival, our boys were ecstatic, as they had been waiting the whole show for him. It was the perfect ending to a marvelous night.

Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes entertains fans of all ages at Golden 1 Center through Sunday, September 17, 2017. Tickets are still available, and you can purchase them here: Marvel Universe tickets.

By Kara Keister

Win Tickets: Fairytale Town Giving Away Prize Bundle in Celebration of the 17th Annual ScholarShare Book Festival

One of Fairytale Town’s signature events is coming up this next weekend. The 17th Annual ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival will feature New York Times Best-Selling Author and Caldecott award-winner Lindsay Mattick, author of Finding Winnie, the true story of World War I Canadian Soldier Harry Coleburn who rescued a baby bear as he headed overseas to war. He named the bear Winnie, and that bear became the model for one of the best-loved children’s book series of all time, Winnie-the-Pooh. The author is Coleburn’s great-great granddaughter. Lindsay, along with several other authors and illustrators, will be available for book signings.

The FREE, two-day festival is sponsored by ScholarShare College Savings Plan and will include live readings, storytelling performances, live music, hands-on literacy activities and a book fair. Here’s the full lineup of authors and illustrators who will be present during the weekend festival:

Lindsay Mattick  Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear • Sat 11:30AM, 3PM & Sun 12PM, 3PM
JaNay Brown-Wood Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story • Sun 12:30PM
Rita Campbell Emberlina Sprite-a-Light • Sun 10:30AM
Linda Champion & Rose Fante • Fairy Tales for Life • Sat 10:30AM (Linda) & 11AM (Rose)
Brandon Chappell Drew & Boo Adopt Lou & Sue • Sat 2:30PM
Erin Dealey K is for Kindergarten • Sat 2PM & Sun 11:30AM
Sandy Lynne Holman We All Have A Heritage • Sun 2 PM
Catlyn LeGault, Leonie Pickett & Miakoda Plude The Princess and the Sunflowers • Sat 12:30PM
Karen J. Moore Pen the Tale, Oogie • Sun 2:30PM
Elaine Russell All About Thailand • Sat & Sun 1PM
Karen Sanders-Betts & Hannah Howerton The Little Lemon that Leapt • Sat 1:30PM
Linda Joy Singleton A Cat is Better • Sun 11AM

WIN PRIZE BUNDLE: While admission to the ScholarShare Book Festival is FREE, Fairytale Town is offering one of our lucky readers a prize bundle during this weekend’s festivities. The bundle includes a copy of Finding Winnie, admission for four to Fairytale Town, a magic key and a plush Humpty Dumpty. If you would like to win this prize bundle, please visit the ScholarShare Book Festival page on Fairytale Town’s website here and tell us which author or illustrator you would most like to see in person. Leave your answer in the comment section below no later than 5:00 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  A winner will be chosen on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. One entry per person, please. Good luck!

WHAT: ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival

WHEN: Sept. 16 & 17, 2017

WHERE: Fairytale Town


Win Tickets: Marvel Universe Live! Comes to Golden 1 Center with New Show Age of Heroes, Featuring Guardians of the Galaxy

In just a few short weeks, downtown Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center will be inundated with super heroes in a fabulous new show of non-stop action, jaw-dropping stunts and cutting-edge special effects. Marvel Super Heroes Spider-Man and The Avengers will be joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy including Star Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax in an action-packed battle as the heroes defend the universe from evil. The superhuman forces team up against the evil Nebula and villains Loki and Green Goblin in a spectacular production from Feld entertainment, who never fails to pull out all the stops when entertaining families. You’ll want to don your superhero capes with your kids and head on down to Sacramento’s new arena for some non-stop, family fun.

Want to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the opening performance on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017? Head over to the Marvel Universe Live! website here, and tell us how many Marvel Super Heroes and Villains guests are expected to see at Age of Heroes. Leave your answer in the comment section below no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. A winner will be chosen and announced on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Best of luck!

What: Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes

When: Sept. 14-17, 2017

Where: Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center

Tickets: prices start at $20 and can be purchased here.