No sound embodies Christmas more than brass instruments playing traditional carols. Treat yourself to trumpets heralding in the season with Christmas Brass Bands (saxophone quartet and a brass ensemble) strolling Ferndale Main Street, Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17 from 2-4 p.m. (free). Music to your ears.
Kids can create delicious and fun holiday decorations at Holiday Castles and Graham Cracker Houses on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Arcata Community Center from 10:30 a.m. to noon for ages 4-6 and 1 to 2:30 p.m. for ages 7-10 ($15/$20 non Arcata residents). Meanwhile, parents browse the Holiday Craft Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free). Sweet deal.
What happens when ocean lovers get swanky? They throw a holiday party and year in review, call it Black & White Ocean Night and invite the public to party with them. Join Surfrider Humboldt, Northcoast Environmental Center and Humboldt Baykeeper on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Arcata Theatre Lounge for black and white surf flicks, food, drinks and merriment ($3 donation).
Holiday time is the Season of Light. As the days grow darker, we turn to the comfort and tradition of Christmas lights, menorahs, yule logs and other symbolic sources to keep peace, love and hope alive in our hearts. Towns throughout Humboldt have their own special ways of making things merry and bright. Catch some sparkle this weekend at these family favorites.
Behold the warm, happy glow of the Al Gray Electric Lighted Parade on Friday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Redwood Village Shopping Center (free). Watch the trucks, tractors, ATVs and other vehicles swathed with lights head from the shopping center to downtown amid the festivities of Fortuna Downtown's Winter Wonderland Open House, happening from 5 to 8 p.m. (free). There you'll find Christmas carolers, refreshments and lots of old-fashioned holiday cheer.
Happy truckers honking out monotone renditions of "Jingle Bells" is one Humboldt County holiday tradition not to be missed. Grab your cocoa or your eggnog latte, bundle up and secure your spot on the curb for the annual KEKA Christmas Truckers Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m., starting at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds (free). The convoy of huge trucks decked out in colorful and creative lights, many with waving and dancing holiday characters, heads down Harris Street to I Street, the to Seventh Street and down Myrtle Avenue. Rain or clear, naughty or nice. Cue the "oohs" and "ahhs."
'Twas the month of December and all through the counties, dance troupes were rehearsing their Claras and mousies. I'll stop right there. In dance circles, December means one thing: Nutcracker time! There are a few festive versions of the classic ballet coming to magical life this month and we're shining our spotlight on one this week as well as on a special holiday adaptation of the classic poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, featuring (wait for it) a dancing pumpkin spice latte.
First on the bill is North Coast Dance's The Nutcracker returning to the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. ($25, $12). This ballet has everything: Dancing candy, magical fairies, pompous rats, Tchaikovsky.
Next is Trillium Dance School's annual winter production, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Eureka High School Auditorium ($12-$15 reserved, $10-$13 general). This original holiday ballet has soloists and small group pieces featuring dancing ornaments, pirates, elves, a sassy gingerbread cookie, peppermints, lemon drops, hot cocoa and more. I'm putting on the holiday pounds just reading the cast list.
Ugly Sweater Run 2016
Arcata Wonder & Light 2016
There's something transcendent about a small town decked out in its holiday best, with carolers a-wassailing and brass bands root-a-toot-tooting on street corners as smiling folks window shop and sip hot cocoa. Every year, Humboldt's hometown jewel, the Victorian village of Ferndale, transforms into a type of Bedford Falls, delighting all of us with its timelessness and good cheer. If it's a wonderful holiday life you want this weekend, head to the little town over the bridge.
Hospitality Night Open House on Friday, Dec. 2 sees Main Street merchants staying open late (until 9 p.m.), allowing you to leisurely browse for that perfect gift — and enjoy free beverages and treats.
On Saturday, Dec. 3, the big man himself, Santa Claus, arrives on Main Street at 10:30 a.m. to greet kids of all ages (free). Also on Saturday, the Ferndale Community Choir performs its 47th annual Christmas Celebration in Song at 7:30 p.m. at the Ferndale Community Church (free), with encore performances at Ferndale's Church of the Assumption on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. (free), and at Christ Episcopal Church in Eureka on Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. (free).
The festivities continue on Sunday, Dec. 4 with the Portuguese Linguiça and Beans Dinner at the Portuguese Hall from 4 to 7 p.m. ($12, $6 kids 6-12). Stay for Sunday's main event, the Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m. (free), a chance to gather and enjoy live music, cookies and cocoa as the enormous spruce at the end of Main Street lights up the night and everyone's faces.
— Kali Cozyris