ON THE COVER North Coast Journal Weekly
Dec. 2, 2004


Celebrating the Season

On the cover: Ferndale Christmas
Photo by Matt Knowles,
Aesthetic Design & Photography


story & photos by ELLIN BELTZ


WHETHER RELIGIOUS OR SECULAR, the end of the year is a special time around the world. The United States inherited many of its Christmas customs from Northern Europe; Humboldt County is no exception. As the nights get longer, we spend more time in darkness so customarily people spend more time at home and with family, thinking of lights, decorations, trees, presents, celebrations and parties. When I first moved to Ferndale, I wondered what it was about the town that so brought out the holiday spirit here. It's taken three years, but I think I may be onto it.

While visitors absorb the lovely old buildings and carefully tended gardens that are hallmarks of the Victorian Village, long-term residents know there is a giving spirit here that comes out in many ways.

Unlike many small towns, Ferndale never lost its Main Street, where food, hardware, clothing and computer stores nestle alongside the post office, restaurants and bed and breakfasts.

Residents get out and see each other often. You'll see lots of little waves and smiles as you walk the three blocks from Ocean to Shaw. Many will smile at you because they smile at everyone. It's Ferndale.

"Every day here is magical. I've lived here a bunch of years and I still feel like I'm on vacation every day," is how Karen Pingitore, president of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, explained it.

[Elf Ellie standing in front of miniature house]Lighting the tree

Christmas is weeks away, but in Ferndale the holiday begins in earnest this weekend. Preparations are individual and collective. Merchants decorate their shops and buy trees from Ferndale Elementary School. As soon as the trees are set up in front of the stores, each class provides decorations for a tree. After all the little trees are decorated, Santa and his assistant Elf Ellie [photo at right] arrive on Saturday, and the town prepares for the lighting of the World's Tallest Living Christmas Tree on Sunday.

The tree is a Sitka spruce measuring about 165 feet, easily outpacing the much-ballyhooed 122-foot tall Douglas fir lighted by Woodinville, Wash. Botanists point out that the grove of Sitka spruce in Ferndale is unusual. Sitkas are more common to the north and require a particularly cold fog, which is apparently provided in the microclimate occurring in the lee of the Wildcat Hills south of town. Other Sitkas can be seen in Ferndale's cemetery and Russ Park, an unusual gift received by the town under certain conditions, including that it must provide sanctuary for birds.

Barbara Perra [photo below left], a broker with Landmark Real Estate who lives in the shadow of Ferndale's majestic spruce, said, "I feel fortunate to live beneath that beautiful tree, and more fortunate yet to live where so many bighearted and generous men and women make up our volunteer fire department."

At first light Sunday, Dec. 5, "The firefighters scamper up the tree pretty early, with Tom Ford and his son, Greg, who are the tallest, in the lead," said Pingitore, noting that they "put the lights up on the tree the same day as the lighting ceremony because the lights are the big old style bulbs which can get broken easily in high winds." Putting up all those lights is quite a job. Fire Chief Jack Smith said that each light strand measures 130 feet long and holds 50 bulbs, and that there are 15 strands in all.

While the tree awaits lighting, the Boy Scouts and the 4-H Community Pride Group decorate the reviewing stand. Over at the Ferndale Repertory Theatre students from the Mattole School eagerly await an audience for their 2 o'clock benefit matinee of The World of Willie Wonka. If successful, it will help send the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade classes of the isolated school to Washington, D.C.

[Barbara Perra points toward tree]At 3 o'clock, the lofty gothic arches of Ferndale's yellow Assumption Church echo the second of three performances of the Ferndale Community Choir's 35th Annual "Christmas Celebration in Song." The program of sacred songs from around the world should be over in plenty of time for members of the choir to prepare for their performance as the "Chameleon Singers" at the tree lighting.

At 5:30 p.m., as they have since 1934, nearly everyone in whole town turns out for the tree lighting. The Chameleon Singers perform holiday favorites, the Booster Band, 4-H, Boy Scouts and others contribute to the ceremony. Then, usually with some degree of suspense, the tree lights up. It can be seen for miles; one of the best spots is right before the Loleta exit on Highway 101.

Cold or rain typically drives folks inside quickly, despite the cookies and punch. One of the best places to go after the tree lighting is the annual Portuguese Linguica and Beans Dinner at Portuguese Hall on Ocean west of Main Street, just downhill from the tree. Dinner is served from 5 to 8 p.m. Don't despair if the line is out the door when you get there. Years of practice result in fast feeding of hungry tree lighters, according to regular server and former mayor Jeff Farley. Ferndale jeweler Jenny Oaks said, "I go to the tree lighting and see half my friends, then see the other half serving beans and linguica at Portuguese Hall!" Satiated by cheer and sausage, Ferndale rolls up its sidewalks for the evening.

On Dec. 19 comes the ultimate in Christmas, Ferndale style. The 12th Annual Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade rolls off down Main Street, meaning downhill, or south to north for us flatlanders, at 7 p.m. Arrive early and snag a Main Street parking space if the weather looks rainy.

Betty's choir

Betty Diehl gesturing]While the sign on Betty Diehl's Main Street desk reads "Day Sleeper," anyone who knows her wonders if she gets any sleep at all. For the past 35 years, she has directed the Ferndale Community Choir, an adult chorus she founded in the late 1960s when she was a young mother. The group numbers between 44 and 65, with some who have sung for more than 20 years, and draws members from Petrolia to Arcata, but most from closer to Ferndale.

"People tell me that their celebration of the holidays begins when they hear our choir sing," Betty told me. "The concert fills them with a feeling of joy in celebrating the season."

The group plans three holiday performances this year featuring sacred music from around the world, from a 13th century plainsong to a recent spiritual, accompanied by Pat Strausbaugh and Sherry Hanson on viola.

Betty [photo above right] points out that the venues are very different: the Community Church more intimate, while the Assumption Church has very live sound and a lot of seats. A third concert in Fortuna's River Lodge offers a view of the Eel River for what is usually a capacity crowd.

"We have a good time at rehearsals -- we all love singing," said Betty with palpable enthusiasm. "Some of our group are the Chameleon Singers who perform at the Christmas tree lighting right after our concert in the Assumption Church," she noted, recalling, "A couple of years ago, a few of us got on a flatbed and were pulled along Main Street by a lighted tractor."

Others remember the group's composure and sense of humor when a frog-drowning downpour drenched that Lighted Tractor Parade. Unfazed, the Chameleons flipped open their umbrellas in unison and broke into a spirited rendition of "Singing in the Rain," leaving onlookers helpless with merriment.

[Julia Bass at hardware store counter]"
My father would never let us even cut our tree before Dec. 21
because it was my brother's birthday and we had to wait...
He's grown now, but I still do that."

- Julia Bass, Nielsen's Hardware

[Marilyn McCormick in front of Ferndale Rep theater] " Last year at the Christmas tree
lighting, the fire siren went off right
in the middle of the ceremony.
All the firefighters rushed
away ... and put out a shed fire
before coming back to cookies
and the linguica dinner."

- Marilyn McCormick,
Artistic Director, Ferndale Repertory Theatre


Neighbors helping neighbors

But trees, lights and decorations alone do not make spirits bright. There is an underlying spirit of giving and community in Ferndale that shines brightest when the community is confronted by crisis. As current Volunteer Fire Chief, Jack Smith said, "We've had fires, we've had floods, but thank God, so far no one's died at Christmas." Many people told me stories of individual disasters and challenges. One theme united them all: Neighbors always help each other.

The day after Christmas in 1994, the North Coast was jolted by an earthquake that injured about a dozen and caused about $3 million in damage. Ferndale residents remembered huge quakes in 1906 and 1992 and contributed funds for those who suffered.

Several people recalled the huge and devastating Christmas floods of 1964 that washed over all of Humboldt County 40 years ago.

[Glenn Martella in restaurant]Glenn Martella [photo at left] , a volunteer firefighter and owner of Papa Joe's restaurant, told me that on Christmas Eve, 1964 Ferndale was without electricity and completely cut off by record-breaking floods on the Eel River. Just then, Glenn's wife went into labor. With no way to get to the hospital, the town's mortician took her in his hearse to the doctor's office on Main Street where Ferndale's volunteer firefighters fired up a generator so the doctor could have electricity. While Glenn claims much experience birthing calves, the baling rope he had in his back pocket was not required. His son, Jon Paul, was born happy and kicking in the doctor's hands, and the hearse took mom and son home, where an hour later they shared Christmas supper by candlelight. A picture of the baby was published in the local papers and in The New York Times. The "baby," J.P. Martella, turns 40 this year.

For a community noted for a long string of incredibly generous individuals past and present, it can be hard to single out any one person. But talking with folks around town, one name kept popping out. As Karen Pingitore put it, "To me Ron Smith is Mr. Ferndale Christmas. Since 1964 he's spearheaded the Community Chest. Even though Ferndale looks perfect, we have needy like everyone else. And Ron takes care of them."

In his own words: Ferndale's real life Santa, Ron Smith

[photo at right]
[Ron Smith standing in neighborhood, flag in background]"We had bad floods in 1964. Farmers were wiped out. I was a businessman then, and I headed up a group to help the farmers buy clothes, shoes, boots and things. You've got to know, they were completely wiped out. I went to the bank and they had an old account for a Community Chest, which they [had] kicked in [and gave to us.]. It had $250 dollars in it. I went to Bertha Russ Lytel, who was always so generous to the community. She gave me a blank check. I bought a lot of shoes and boots.

"But even after the water went down, the need never went away. People came to me for help. December is about a full-time job, and I just take care of this side of Fernbridge.

"Other agencies refer people to me for food and toys. I help about 70 to 75 families a year. We give them a credit at Valley Grocery Store, which is open for three months. We used to collect cans and stuff, but it's no good. You get stuff people won't eat. The credits work better. The whole system is based on trust. We send them a card in the mail. It's good for anything but alcohol, tobacco or dog food.

"Community Chest is a bridge charity. People can get to the bottom in a hurry all different ways, then they have to fill out the papers for welfare. The bureaucracy can take three months to kick in, so they come to me for help then. I can help people in a crisis in a hurry because it's all my decision. Very few have ever taken advantage of our system here.

"We need all the donations we can get year-round. So many people are so generous at Christmas. We have people who buy presents and wrap them for needy children and others that give you everything for people in need. We collect and distribute about $12,000 in the holidays. But the rest of the year is slim pickings.

"I do this as a labor of love. I'm giving back to Ferndale what I can, but I need to find someone to take this on. I'm nearly 80. Whoever does this has to be able to relate to these people and know that some folks are just on hard times all the time."

Postal Christmas

[Pam Mauney in post office window]Ferndale Postmaster Pam Mauney [photo at left] offers the expected suggestions to mail early, pack well and follow all the new packing rules. Contrary to what one might think, she doesn't mind the extra effort that comes with the holiday season. "Christmas is my favorite time of the year," she said. "It's a blur. We work long hours. We have so many customers, but it's still the best."

Postal worker Heather McTigue added, "We're like Santa and his elves; we get through the season on treats. We never get time to eat. But I love it, anyway. It's Christmas in Ferndale!"

Unbeknownst to most on the North Coast, all the Dear Santa letters in the region magically arrive at the Ferndale Post Office, which has a mysterious but direct connection to the North Pole. Sometimes, though, even magic isn't fast enough. One cold Christmas Eve, a remarkable "Dear Santa" letter arrived in Ferndale sent by a Crescent City girl who had not put her return address on the note, and in which she only asked for an apron with pockets for her mother.

Guessing at the kind of poverty a simple but desperate request like that indicates, and knowing that Santa was already in the air and unreachable, the post office staff took it upon themselves to acquire an apron with pockets, a Teddy bear and some candy and boxed it up. One of the crew was headed to Oregon for the holidays, so she took it to Crescent City, slipping in the back door of their post office just at closing. The postmaster figured out who the little girl was and took the box to the girl. Only then did anyone know that her mother was in a wheelchair and that the pockets were for her to be able to keep her things in the only place she could reach.

I was told this story as if this sort of extraordinary effort was all in a day's work at the post office, but the gleam in their eyes showed they'd been infected with Ferndale's magical Christmas cheer.

Holiday Events Calendar


Lighting of America's Tallest Living Christmas Tree. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Main Street, Ferndale. The huge spruce tree, strung with colored lights, will be visible from miles away. A tradition since 1934. 786-4477.
St. Lucia Festival. 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Oddfellows Hall, 239 Buhne St., Eureka. Scandinavian celebration to honor St. Lucia (aka St. Lucy) each December with Swedish music and food. Traditionally, the oldest daughter of each family wears a white dress with a red sash, and a crown made of twigs and nine lighted candles. Expect a visit from Santa. 445-8264.
Beginnings Children's Winter Fair. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Beginnings Octagon, Briceland. Craftspeople, young and old, sell holiday gifts. Music and dance by The Skyfish Band, Ellen Orlofsky's Whitethorn School Singers, Salmon Creek School Singers, South Fork's Mad Jazz Singers, Whale Gulch African Dancers, All Shook Up Belly Dancers, Eclectic Strings Players, George Moody, Band of Brigands and more.
Light Up a Life Tree Lighting Ceremony. 7 p.m. Dec. 2. Eureka City Hall; Arcata City Hall; Umpqua Bank, Fortuna; Six Rivers Bank, McKinleyville. Hosted by Hospice of Humboldt with presentations from local officials and music by children's choirs. 445-8443.
Fortuna Christmas Home Tour. 1-9 p.m. Dec. 8. Tour four homes beautifully decked out for the holidays in Fortuna and Hydesville followed by a raffle and refreshments at the Fortuna Monday Club, 610 Main St., Fortuna. $7.
Loleta Downtown Open House with Santa. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 15. Small-town charm of Christmas in Loleta. Free. 733-5055.
United Methodist Women of Eureka Advent Tea Party. 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 3. Music, reading, singing and the lighting of the Advent Wreath. 442-3015.
Truckers' Christmas Convoy. 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Eureka. Hundreds of trucks shining with holiday lights parade through Eureka beginning and ending at Redwood Acres. 442-5744.
Season of Wonder and Light: Downtown Arcata Open House. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 3. Marching Lumberjacks herald Santa's arrival on a fire truck; he visits with children on the Arcata Plaza or (if raining) in Jacoby's Storehouse. 822-4500.
Arcata Community Caroling. 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 17. On the Arcata Plaza. Downtown businesses open until 8 p.m. every Friday in December. 822-4500.
Free Holiday Films at the Minor. Noon. Minor Theatre, 1013 H St., Arcata. Free kids' movies every Saturday and Sunday through Christmas. Laurel and Hardy's 1934 classic March of the Wooden Soldiers plays Dec 3-4; Two Brothers, a 2004 film that chronicles the adventures of two brother tiger cubs, Dec 11-12; SNL funnyman Will Ferrell stars in Elf, comedy about a man raised as an elf in the North Pole, Dec 18-19. Limited to first 300 attendees. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. 822-FILM.
Historical Sites Society of Arcata Holiday Open House and Tea. 2-4 p.m. Dec. 12. Phillip's House Museum, 7th and Union St., Arcata. 822-4722.
Fortuna Downtown Christmas Open House. Noon-4 p.m. Dec 4. Downtown Fortuna. Holiday fun for the family with music, refreshments, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Festivities continue at the Redwood Village Shopping Center 4-8 p.m. with caroling, a live nativity scene, and fire truck rides. 725-9261.
Ferndale Hospitality Night Open House. 7-9 p.m. Dec. 3. The Victorian Village welcomes friends to a lively evening on Main Street, Ferndale. Merchants serve free beverages and goodies. 786-4477.
RPJC Holiday Auction and Dinner. 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Veterans Memorial Hall, 13th and J sts., Arcata. Dinner by Crafted Catering. Silent and live auction for the Redwood Peace and Justice Center. Music by Lazybones and Scatter the Mud. $5-$10. $15 for dinner. $13 presale. 826-2511.
[Santa on motorcycle]29th Annual Humboldt County Toy Run. Noon. Dec. 5. United Bikers of Northern California ride from the Arcata Plaza to the Eureka Veterans Bldg., 10th and H sts., Eureka. Enjoy live music and lunch when you bring a new children's toy or a $5 donation. 442-4469.
[photo at right]
Lunch with Santa. Dec. 4 Oddfellow's Hall, 239 Buhne St., Eureka. Kids join Santa for lunch at 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. He will be joined by Mrs. Claus, elves, singers, and magicians. $5. Presented by Humboldt Bay Kiwanis. 441-1066.
Portuguese Beans and Linguica Dinner. 4:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Portuguese Hall in Ferndale. $10. $5 children (6-12). 443-2628.
12th Annual Ferndale Christmas Lighted Tractor Parade. 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Local farmers and rangers parade decorated tractors and tractor-drawn wagons with holiday scenes down Main Street. 786-9675.
Sequoia Humane Society Holiday Open House and Gift Bazaar. Dec. 11. Noon-4 p.m. at the Sequoia Humane Society Pet Adoption Center, Eureka. Visit with the animals and find one to take home. 444-8551.
Jacoby's Storehouse Merchants Open House. 5-7 p.m. Dec. 2. 791 8th St., Arcata. Fun, food, raffles. Business people mingle in a holiday atmosphere. Bring business cards. 822-3619.
Breakfast with Santa. Dec. 5. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. St. Mary's School, 1730 Janes Rd., Arcata. Kids discuss gifts and take a picture with Santa during breakfast. $6/$5 seniors. $3 kids 3-12. 822-3877.
Arcata Holiday Home Tour. 1-5 p.m. Dec. 5. Tour five festively decked Arcata homes. Reception held at the Bayview Courtyards senior housing complex features a silent auction. $15. 826-7312.
Westhaven Center for the Arts Open House. 4-7 p.m. Dec. 11. WCA, Westhaven Drive, Westhaven. Potluck, music, family fun, caroling. Bring a multi-cultural themed dish. WCA serves turkey, cider and supplies utensils. 677-9493.
Holiday Food Drive. Humboldt Back and Neck Pain Center collects nonperishable food for the needy. HBNP doctors offer treatments and examinations in exchange for $10 worth of food donations Dec. 13-17. 839-6300.
8th Annual New Year's Eve Rodeo Bash. 8 a.m. Dec. 31. West Coast Rodeo Co. presents a full day of rodeo events at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds indoor arena. 786-4864.
15th Annual Candlelight Walk through the Ancient Forest. 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Elk Prairie Visitor Center. Experience the redwoods by candlelight, beginning with hors d'oeuvres from Klamath and Orick restaurants at 6, followed by an interpretive walk led by park rangers at 7 p.m. and storytelling for children and adults. 464-6101, ext. 5300.

[Nutcracker performance on stage]


The Nutcracker. 8 p.m. Dec 17-18. Also at 2 p.m. Dec 18-19. Van Duzer Theatre, HSU. Opening night gala performance Dec. 17. North Coast Dance presents the classic holiday ballet about a young girl on a magical journey. $15. 826-3928. [photo above]
Fortuna Christmas Music Festival. Dec. 12. Fortuna River Lodge. 12:30-6 p.m. Seasonal music performed by more than 400 musicians in ensembles, choirs and bands from local high schools and surrounding towns. 725-3760.
Three Wise Men and a Baby. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10. 2123 Tydd St. Eureka. Salvation Army Youth and Music Department presents a Christmas musical. Silent auction and reception. $5. 442-6475.
Living Nativity Scene. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-18. Trinity Baptist Church, 2450 Alliance Road, Arcata. Drive-through, outdoor scene with live camels and music. 822-7668.
A Humboldt County Christmas. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4; 2 p.m. Dec. 5, Eureka High School, 1915 J St., Eureka. The Dancers Studio, NCRT and BRAVA! Dance Eureka, present a holiday celebration of music and dance sponsored by the Morris Graves Foundation. $10. $7 seniors, children 12 and under. 443-4390.
Cinderella. 7 p.m. Dec. 3-4; 2 p.m. Dec. 5. Arcata Dance Studio, 180 Westwood Center, Arcata. $5. 822-2877.
TubaChristmas. 1-1:45 p.m. Old Town Gazebo, Eureka; 3 p.m. at the McKinleyville Shopping Center. Dec. 4. A blast of holiday cheer in music from a tuba and euphoniums chorus. Also Dec. 12, 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Fortuna River Lodge. 822-7917.
Christmas Concert. 10:30 a.m. Dec. 19. Arcata Presbyterian Church, 11th and G sts., Arcata. The Chancel Choir performs "This Child," a Christmas cantata, directed by Fred Tempas. Also, at the church Christmas Eve candlelight service at 6 p.m. 822-7917.
Humboldt Light Opera Company. Dec. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka. HLOC presents Handel's Messiah. $8-$10. 822-1318.
Ferndale Community Choir Christmas Concert. Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Ferndale Community Church and Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. at the Church of Assumption in Ferndale. Traditional and contemporary songs including Gregorian chant, plus readings. 786-9756.
Messiah Sing-Along. 3 p.m. Dec. 5. Morris Graves Museum, 636 F St., Eureka. North Coast singers join an impromptu afternoon performance of Handel's Messiah, conducted by Don Cushman. Soloists perform with piano accompaniment. $5 donation. Rehearsal 1:30 p.m. 442-0278.
All Seasons Orchestra Christmas Concert. 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1660 Heartwood Drive, McKinleyville. Holiday music and a narration of "The Night Before Christmas." Free. 822-4462.
Humboldt Folklife Society Dance Party. 6 p.m.-midnight. Dec. 11. Arcata Veteran's Hall, 1425 J St., Arcata. Potluck at 6 p.m. All-ages family dance 6:30-7:30 p.m. followed by a contra orientation for beginning dancers at 7:30 p.m. Dance at 8 p.m. with caller Stuart Moody and the Contra Band. $7/$6 HFS members. 822-5394.
Holiday Music Concert and Messiah Sing-Along. 7-9 p.m. Dec. 11. Community Presbyterian Church, Maple Lane, Garberville. Table for Eight and the South Fork High Mad Jazz Singers perform. Pine Street Ensemble leads a sing-along with selections from Handel's Messiah. $10 suggested donation. 943-3561.
HSU Madrigal Singers and the Mad River Transit Singers. 8 p.m. Dec. 5, Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU. Carols, madrigals, solos and duets performed in Renaissance costume. MRT sings hip lyrics to waltzes, swing tunes, sambas and blues. Tickets $6/$2 seniors, HSU students free. 826-3531.
University Singers & Humboldt Chorale. 8 p.m. Dec. 12, Fulkerson Recital Hall. A performance of Vivaldi's baroque masterpiece, Magnificat. $6/$2 seniors. Free HSU students. 826-3531.
Traditional Service of Lessons and Carols. 6 p.m. Dec. 9, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 1675 Chester Ave., Arcata. Choirs from local congregations gather to read scripture and sing hymns of the season. Sponsored by the Northern Humboldt Ministerial Association. 822-4102.


Portrait of Christmas. 7:30 p.m. Redwood Curtain Theatre, 800 Harris St., Eureka. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays Dec. 2 through Dec. 19. Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Falderal presents a musical Christmas story. Gala performances Dec. 2-4. $25. Regular shows $12/$17 preferred seating. Not for children under 5. 822-7910.
The World of Willy Wonka. 8 p.m. Ferndale Repertory Theatre, 447 Main St., Ferndale. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, through Dec. 19. Every Sunday at 2 p.m. Original, musical version of Ronald Dahl's book about children touring a strange chocolate factory. $12/$10 students and seniors. 786-5483.
Graylocks and the Grizzlies. Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 14-16. 10 a.m. The Ferndale Reportory Theatre presents the story of an older and slightly wiser Goldilocks. Performing at area elementary schools. $5/$1 students. 786-5483.
The Pirates of Penzance. 8 p.m. North Coast Repertory Theatre, 300 5th St., Eureka. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays through Dec. 11. One matinee performance at 2 p.m., Dec. 5. Gilbert and Sullivan's play about duty, honor, treachery, love and happy endings. $12/$10 students and seniors. Thrifty Thursday: second ticket half price. 442-NCRT.


Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival. Dec. 3-5. Redwood Acres, 3750 Harris Ave., Eureka. Noon-9 p.m., Fri.; 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. Humboldt's finest artisans offer their wares; live music. $2/free kids and seniors. Free after 5 p.m.
28th Annual Winter Arts Faire. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 11-12. Mateel Community Center, Redway. Over 60 craft booths, hearty organic winter cuisine, live entertainment and a visit from Santa. $3. Under 12 and over 65 free. Visit www.mateel.org for list of crafters and entertainers or call 923-3368.
China Flat Museum Holiday Bazaar.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. China Flat Museum, Willow Creek. Three weekends, Dec 3-5; Dec 10-12; Dec. 17-19. Over 20 vendors. Local authors sign books on Dec. 18, 1-3 p.m. (530) 629-2653.
4th Annual American Indian Art & Craft Sale. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 4. Potawot Health Village, 1600 Weeot Way, Arcata. Artist reception immediately following sale at 6 p.m. 825-5070.
Fire Arts Holiday Sale. 6-9 p.m. Dec 10. Fire Arts Center, 520 S. G St., Arcata. Raku firing, bronze pouring, at the foundry and clay throwing. Sale continues 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 11. 826-1445.
Glassblowing Sale. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4. Maelstrom Studios, 411 Railroad Ave., Blue Lake. Watch glassblowing demonstrations. Assorted glassware on sale. 668-1931.
Faith Center Church Christmas Boutique. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec 3-4. 1032 Bay St., Eureka. Handcrafted items for sale, homemade baked goodies, soup and dessert served both days, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $5.
28th Holiday Crafts Bazaar. Dec. 4. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Adorni Center, 1011 Waterfront Drive, Eureka. Holiday crafts and gifts handmade by local artisans. Music by performers from the EHS. Free. 441-4244.
Trinidad School Holiday Craft Fair. Dec. 12. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Crafts, entertainment, refreshments. Free. 677-3631.
Jacoby Creek School Holiday Boutique. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Jacoby Creek School, 1617 Old Arcata Road, Bayside. Local crafts, bead work, wood items, ceramics, student tables, baked goods, and more. 822-4896.
Winter in the Garden. Sherwood Forest and Bamboo and Maples, 2623 Harris Ave., Eureka. Meet the artists of floral arrangements, wreaths, stone work. 445-1281.
Ink People Holiday Gift Fair. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 11; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 12. Eureka Municipal Auditorium, 1120 F St., Eureka. Gift fair with 55 vendors, homemade soups, music by Pete Zulega, Julian Lang, The Redmond Rhodies, Trombone Quartet, Roystorm Hayotis and more. 442-8413.
Freshwater School Holiday Boutique. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3. Freshwater School Auditorium, 75 Greenwood Heights Drive, Eureka. Local crafters offer handmade items. 443-3702.
Arcata Holiday Craft Market. Dec. 11-12. Arcata Community Center, 321 Community Way, Arcata. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. More than 40 local artists sell their goods. Live music. $1. 822-7091.
Fine Art Services Auction. 2-5 p.m. Dec. 5. Trinidad Town Hall. Twenty-five original paintings auctioned at 3:30 p.m. Silent auction, music, food, wine, and fun. 677-9010.
Community Peace, World Peace: Holiday Dinner and Gift Auction. 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Veterans Memorial Hall, 13th and J sts., Arcata. The Redwood Peace and Justice Center hosts a holiday dinner with Celtic music Scattered Mud. Auction at 7 p.m. Raffle at 9 p.m. and dancing to local bluegrass band Lazybones. $5-$10, $15.dinner/ $13. Dinner presale. 826-2511.
Talisman Beads Advent Calendar. 214 F St., Eureka. Beginning this week, Talisman Beads will open one door on their window-size calendar each day through Christmas Eve, revealing an ornament crafted by a Humboldt resident. Raffle tickets for the ornaments are $1. Proceeds benefit CASA. 443-1509.




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