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
It's the holiday season and you know what that means. The rowdy revelers at the Arcata Playhouse have added an extra shot to their nog and extra merry into Merry Christmas with their annual holiday productions. Always lively, original and hilarious, the shows provide the fun, laughter and merriment that we need now more than ever. And so it is with the Playhouse's latest production Jack and the Holiday Beans, a "family fun musical romp for the holidays," playing Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 1 through 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. ($12, $10 students/Playhouse members, $8 kids 12 and under).
Gather up the family for this madcap take on the fairy tale favorite where Jack sells his beloved cow for beans. And all your local favorites are in this one: James Peck, Amy Tetzlaff, Sarah Peters, Alyssa Hughlett, David Ferney, Kit Mann, Jaqueline Dandeneau and the Blue Lake Community Choir. There'll be special guests nightly, including No Limits Dance, Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir, Sam McNeill's Academy Fiddlers, Tisha Sloan, Bandamonium, Dell'Arte Students, Shoshanna and more.
Performed in English pantomime style with campy characters, wild costumes and audience participation, the show carries on the Playhouse tradition of entertaining the whole family with humor and heart. Written by the cast and directed by James Peck with lighting by David Ferney, set by Lush Newton and live music by Tim Randles, Jack and the Holiday Beans is sure to raise your holiday spirits sky-high and keep 'em there for a while.
— Kali Cozyris
On Thanksgiving, before you gather to bow your head with your family and give thanks, slip down to the seaside to send blessings to those who work on the sea. Every year, community members gather in Trinidad to offer prayers and well wishes for a bountiful and safe fishing season. Put on by a group of commercial fishermen's wives and loved ones for the last 21 years, the Trinidad Blessing of the Fleet takes place Thursday, Nov. 24 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Trinidad Town Hall(free).
The Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce invites all to join the family-friendly community event, which features a traditional Native American blessing to the four directions given by Axel Lindgren III and his family, followed by a non-denominational blessing from Pastor Allison Berry from the Church of the Joyful Healer.
Entertaining the crowd are the Redwood Ramblers with their lively covers of classic country songs, and keeping folks warm and sated, the Trinidad Rancheria provides fresh coffee, hot chocolate and snacks. Don't miss Trinidad School's fourth grade students' pictures of fishing boats and poems hanging along the fence at Trinidad Bay Bed and Breakfast. Each year, one picture is chosen as the following year's event poster. This year's event will be held in Trinidad Town Hall due to the weather.
— Kali Cozyris
They're here. Faster than they came last year, it seems, the holidays are back. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, those seasonal siblings, are at our door with casseroles and kids in tow, ready or not. Thankfully, Old Town's got its tinsel together. The picturesque assemblage of shops and restaurants ushers in the most wonderful time of the year with events to get you into the holiday spirit.
On Thursday, Nov. 24, make a withdrawal from the old calorie bank before the big meal at the Turkey Trot, a 3-mile walk/run through Old Town starting at 9 a.m. at the Gazebo; late registration at 7:30 a.m. at Old Town Coffee & Chocolates ($10, $20 with shirt).
Santa swings into town via fire truck on Friday, Nov. 25 for photo ops with the tiny tots from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Gazebo (free).
On Saturday, Nov. 26, leave the Big Box craziness behind and make local businesses your target. Small Business Saturday, the kinder, gentler shopping experience, takes place all day throughout Old Town and downtown. DJ KEv plays holiday music at the Gazebo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Santa's back from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Also on Saturday, bundle up for the Snowball Drop, a human-made blizzard with hundreds of snowballs (ping pong balls good for discounts, gifts and/or giveaways at local businesses), gently floating down to waiting shoppers after being shot out of a "snowball cannon" at 11:30 a.m. sharp – at the Gazebo (free).
— Kali Cozyris
If the movement happening at Standing Rock has been calling to you but you can't make it there, or if you want to know more about what's taking place and lend your voice, join with others in solidarity and support at Humboldt Stands with Standing Rock on Nov. 19 from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Mateel Community Center ($25, $20 advance, free for kids under 12).
Hosted by Fraktal Productions and Burningleaf Productions, this benefit raises funds and awareness supporting actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, North Dakota. The event features speakers from the Hoopa, Yurok and Karuk tribes who have been on the front lines at Standing Rock, as well as a live feed and dialogue from Thomas Joseph II, a Hoopa tribal member on site. Donating their time and talents are performers Recycled Youth with music by Govinda, Marjo Lak, Cold Blue Water, Irie Rockers and the Altar Tones. There is also a silent auction, slide show and a dinner of vegetarian or meat tacos, or salmon available for purchase, as well as a full bar.
Cash raised at the event will go toward feeding and helping with legal challenges for people who are fighting to protect water, the environment, human rights and religious freedom. There is something you can do right here in Humboldt: Come out to the Mateel and stand up for Standing Rock.
— Kali Cozyris
Thanksgiving is a week away, and if you haven't started already, it's time to prepare. No, I don't mean putting on your suit of armor and heading to WinCo for skillful cart maneuvering and last-can-of-green-beans battling (it's a thing). I'm talking about getting your body in shape for gluttony's biggest day. Your stomach's not going to stretch itself. Thankfully, there are a couple of events to prime you for all the prime rib, turkey, ham, rolls, potatoes, casseroles and pie in your near future.
First is Taste of the Holidays on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center ($30). Eat and mingle at this popular kick-off to the holiday season hosted by Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise. Sink your teeth into some of Humboldt's finest offerings from local food-producers like Cypress Grove Cheese, Los Bagels, Tomaso's, North Coast Co-Op, Bless my Soul Café, Blackberry Bramble, Ramones, Wildberries and more.
Next up is the Manila Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Saturday, Nov. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Manila Community Center (free). Consider it a delicious dress(ing) rehearsal for your own family gathering or a chance to eat, drink and not discuss politics with fellow community members — without the hassle of cooking and cleaning. Although volunteering to help feed others at another event is a great way to pay it forward.
— Kali Cozyris
November is the time when families and friends gather to give thanks for the bounty of the land and to bask in the feeling of community. It is also Native American Heritage Month and the perfect time for the Northwest Intertribal Gathering and Elders Dinner, an event that honors seniors and celebrates the traditions of native cultures with the community at large. Join in on Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds (free admission, donations appreciated).
Sponsored by Northern California Indian Development Council and local community donors, the 35th annual event offers non-native people a glimpse at the depth and beauty of indigenous cultures while providing American Indians a chance to share and embrace their traditions. Throughout the day, there will be American Indian arts and crafts booths, native singers and tribal dance demonstrations that include Brush, Tolowa Honoring, Aztec, Shake Head and Hoop dancers , as well as a drum group. There is also a Pow Wow demonstration. Dances begin at 11 a.m. with the last dance at 6:15 p.m.
With a special nod to elders over 55, regardless of ethnicity, a delicious free turkey dinner (or $8 for adults, $4 kids 12 & under) will be served beginning at noon, followed by an elders' gifting ceremony at 3 p.m. Don't worry, if you miss out on the dinner, there are also fry bread and buffalo burger booths.
— Kali Cozyris