Holiday festivities

A calendar of special events planned for this holiday season

JUST THE MAN TO HANDEL THE SEASON Dan Valdez conducts a community chorus through a rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah.

JUST THE MAN TO HANDEL THE SEASON Dan Valdez conducts a community chorus through a rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah.

Photo By Tom Angel

Well, it’s that time of year again—time to shift into the holiday groove and enjoy the diversity of charming local events happening around this special time of year. If you’re looking for activities to combat the cold weather with the warmth of festive gatherings and holiday spirit, look no further. From holiday concerts and theater to Santa appearances and Christmas fairs, this calendar highlights local holiday events for those seeking family fun and entertainment throughout the season.

Events are arranged by date starting Dec. 5.

Thursday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 6

Handel’s Messiah(Paradise Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5; Senator Theater in Chico on Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m.)
Conducted by Dan Valdez, this popular sing-along signals the beginning of the holiday season. Join over 70 local singers and a few instrumentalists in a rousing concert of this famous, traditional work by Handel.

Tickets are available in Paradise at the House of Color, The Country Touch and the PPAC, and Chico tickets are at the Senator and the Vagabond Rose. For more info, call 342-1189.

Friday, Dec. 6

Christmas Tree Lighting (6-8 p.m. in the Chico Downtown Park Plaza)
Always a popular event, this is when the City of Chico turns on the dazzling lights that decorate our 100-foot-plus live Christmas tree in the Downtown Park Plaza—a gorgeous sight and a great way to kick off the season.

Friday through Sunday:

The Christmas Faire (Silver Dollar Fairgrounds)Celebrating its 28th anniversary, the Christmas Faire of Chico, themed “A Tradition of Excellence in American Craftmanship,” is located inside two buildings at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. The special weekend is a major fundraising event for Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) and features 150 artists and craftspeople and more than 20 different groups and individuals performing on stage.

There should be a wonderful variety of “Made in America” products to shop for at this event, and you’ll also get the rare opportunity to meet many of the artists who created the diverse array of work—everything from jewelry, pottery, paintings, woodwork, toys, wind chimes, Christmas décor, blown glass, folk art, stained glass and a whole lot more.

Two stages of entertainment will be operating throughout the weekend: Saturday features a special appearance by the internationally renowned Celtic group Golden Bough, and on Sunday you’ll be amazed by the comedic juggling feats and escape techniques of the infamous Marcus Raymond. Also on the weekend bill are numerous local favorites, including Hawks & Eagles, Make It So, Strings with Wings, acoustic sets from Lynn Brown (from Tower Records) Steve Johnson and Ernest Witt on steel drums, FTL Barbershop Quartet, and Music Express.

And don’t worry, there will also be numerous food booths situated throughout the faire: Choose from Chinese, Thai cuisine, pizza, BBQ specials, veggie dishes, pastries, candies, baked potatoes (by the Chico High PTA), you name it. Special prizes will be awarded as well.

COME ON ‘A OUR HOUSE Holiday-flavored tours of historic Bidwell Mansion are scheduled for Dec. 8, 12 and 13. The tours offer demonstrations of how Christmas was celebrated during Victorian times.

Photo By Sara Sipes

And for the kids, Santa will also be on hand with free balloons and candy canes.

Admission for this year’s faire is: $3 general and $1 seniors. Children under 12 are admitted free each day. Show hours are Friday: noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Steve Rooney of Cyrcle Productions at 345-9652.


Chico Dance Theatre’s Annual Showcase (Harlen Adams Theatre, CSUC; Dec 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on Sunday at 2 p.m.)Enjoy a wild night of dance featuring everything from tap, jazz and ballet to belly-dancing, hip-hop and musical theater, as local students and community members put on a popular dance show under the direction of Susan Pate, Chico State Dept. of Theatre Arts faculty member.

Advance tickets: $6 student/child, $10 seniors, $12 general adult. General seating.

Victorian Christmas Open House (Stansbury Home For the Holidays, Fifth and Salem streets in Chico; Friday 9 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.)Come check out rooms decorated in Victorian fashion, as well as Victoriana antiques and gifts. Santa arrives by horse drawn carriage Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Spiced cider and homemade cookies available. Donations: adults ($4) and children ($1).

Yuba City Christmas Stroll (Downtown Yuba City from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.)
See Santa, take wagon and pony rides, enjoy live music and other activities.

Admission is free. Call 671-9600 for more.

Saturday, Dec. 7

“Music of the Heart” (7:30 p.m. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State)
The Chico State Band brings you “Music of the Heart,” including Carolyn Bremer’s “Early Light,” revealing the childlike joy of and devotion of baseball fans, and John Barnes’ Symphony No.3, which chronicles a father’s joy in expecting a baby and his broken-hearted anguish when the infant dies. Other arrangements include the aria “Che galida manini” from Puccini’s opera La Bohème and the famous melody from Puccini’s Turandot, “Nesun Dorma,” featuring baritone Royce Tevis Jr. The concert concludes with Bob Margolis’ arrangement of the early Renaissance piece, Belle qui tine ma vie, Biebl’s Ave Maria, Mark Camphouse’s Watchmen of the Night and James Syler’s Fields.

Advance tickets: $6 student/child, $10 seniors, $12 general adult. General seating.

Winter Wonderland “Teen Dance” (7:30­9:30 p.m. at Off the Wall Soccer, 1090 E. 20th St.)
The Sunshine Kids Club in Chico is putting on a Winter Wonderland Dance for teens featuring “DJ Dancing Disco Fun” as well as “groovy tunes, raffles, prizes and giggles.” There will be refreshments served, but be forewarned people, the event is “BYOS (bring your own snow).” And that is not a drug reference.

Proceeds go the Butte Humane Society (hooray!).

PIROUETTING FOR THEE Two members of Chico Community Ballet dance out the Christmas-themed fantasy of <i>The Nutcracker</i>.

Courtesy Of CSUC

You can pick up tickets at North Valley Soccer or at the door. Cost: $5. For more info, call 895-2104.

The annual “Frontier Christmas” celebration (Lake Oroville Visitor Center, noon to 4 p.m.)
Kids, come meet Santa and have your picture taken! Visitors are greeted and assisted by volunteers dressed in late-1850s attire—and delicious holiday foods and old fashioned crafts from Bidwell Bar Association will be on sale. Participate in creating pioneer and Native American Indian crafts, candle making, panning for real gold, holiday wreath making, and general merriment!

Admission is free. For additional info, phone Lake Oroville Visitor Center at 538-2219.

Santa at the Gold Nugget Museum in Paradise (502 Pearson Rd., Paradise, noon to 4 p.m.)
Santa will visit with kids from noon to 4 p.m. and return to the Gold Nugget Museum again a week later on Dec. 14.

Cost: $5 per photo.

Sunday, Dec. 8

Bidwell Mansion Open House

Come see how Chico’s founders celebrated the holidays, old-school style. Call 895-6144 for details. Evening tours of Bidwell Mansion will also be offered from Dec. 12-13.

Thursday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 15

Nutcracker Ballet (Laxson Auditorium at Chico State, Dec. 12­14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 14 and 15 at 2 p.m.)
Come experience the timeless classic as Tchaikovsky’s traditional holiday favorite returns to Laxson to entertain and delight with “visions of sugar plums dancing in heads.” Co-produced by Friends of Chico Community Ballet and Chico Performances, this enchanting ballet features elaborate costumes, sets and dancing—a memorable night for the entire family.

Advance tickets: $12 student/ child, $16 senior, $18 adult and $22 premium (reserved seating).

Dec. 12 through 14

Theater: The Batbabes Save Christmas (Senator Theater)
Yet another wacky offering from the clique-humorists over at the Blue Room. This goofy, silly ‘60s camp rip-off features Samantha Perry and Elizabeth Kollings as the Batbabes—girls who run around in capes and underwear trying to save Chico Christmas from the World’s Most Dangerous Villains (featuring John Bertoli, Jack Dammit Intl. and Sue Reed). “Toned down from a really mean-spirited play by Craig Blamer,” this production also features live music by the Thugs.

A REAL CHRISTMAS CARD Santa Claus is on hand yet again as CARD hosts the annual “Breakfast with Santa.” Mrs. Claus will be serving up pancakes and the man himself will be making lists of children’s requests.

Photo By Tom Angel

Free shows each night at 7 p.m. for kids. At 10 p.m. the show is spiced with nutmeg and costs $7 for adults. Call DNA for more info, 321-8843.

Friday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 15

Holiday music: “Glorious Sounds of the Season” (Harlen Adams Theatre at Chico State; Dec. 13-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.)
A festive School of the Arts concert that features holiday music performed by music faculty and students in a kaleidoscope fashion throughout the concert hall.

Performers include the 200-voice Choral Union, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, university organist David Rothe, internationally acclaimed soprano Ying Yeh, pianists John Milbauer and Robert Bowman, the Faculty Handbell Ensemble, the Children’s Choir of Chico, The Early Music Ensemble and many others. Proceeds benefit the Department of Music Scholarship fund.

All seats are $20—no discount.

Saturday, Dec. 14

Breakfast with Santa (CARD Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave. in the CARD Community Center)
Come join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a morning filled with fun and crafts.

Cost: $5 for kids, includes a pancake breakfast, arts and crafts and a photo with Santa. $2 for adults if they want breakfast.

Session I: 9 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.; Session II: 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 17th

“Fiesta Navidad” (Laxson Auditorium at Chico State; south-of-the-border dinner at 6 p.m., performance at 7:30 p.m.)
Back for the fourth year by popular demand, “Fiesta Navidad” features Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano—a concert of mariachi music and folklêrico dancing. “Fiesta Navidad” tells the Christmas story of La Posada, a Mexican tradition commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem on the eve of the birth of Jesus. This colorful event brings the pageantry and excitement of Mexican Christmas traditions to life and includes sing-alongs of traditional carols.

Tickets are $12 for students, $17 for seniors, $20 for adults and $24 for premium seating (all seating is reserved). The price for a ticket and the pre-show dinner is $40. Tickets are available at the University Box Office at the corner 2nd and Normal Streets, or by calling 898-6333.

Friday, Dec. 20

Windham Hill Winter Solstice Tour (Paradise Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.)
A special concert of great musicianship featuring William Ackermanm (guitarist), Liz Story (pianist) and Phillip Aaberg (multi-instrumentalist).

Tickets are $20 in advance (at Chico Natural, Diamond W. Western Wear and Country Touch in Paradise, Quincy Natural Foods) and $22 at the door. Call 345-8136 or 872-8454.

Saturday, Dec. 21

Breakfast with Santa (8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Hometown Buffet)
The Hometown Buffet invites you to join them for the fifth annual breakfast with Santa to benefit the Salvation Army food drive. With a canned food donation, prices are only $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. For more info, please contact George Coulter at 899-1507.