Twelve days of Sactown

SN&R previews 12 of the area's coolest holiday events

If you’ve lived here long enough, you probably know that Sacramentans love their productions of The Nutcracker. This year, the ballet—music written by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky—will be performed by no less than four different groups. Here’s the skinny on the productions:

The Nutcracker

The Sacramento Ballet performs The Nutcracker at the Community Center Theater. Joining the cast during the run (December 7-23) are more than 500 youngsters filling the stage as extras in the performance. For more information, visit

Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet, a pre-professional nonprofit ballet troupe, presents The Nutcracker with guest dancer Michael Onstad playing Herr Drosselmeyer. It happens December 21-23, at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College. For more information, visit

Moscow Classical Ballet also performs The Nutcracker at Three Stages, December 27-30. The touring company first performed in 1968 and has toured the world since, including 20 straight years of performing The Nutcracker. For more information, visit

The Davis Children’s Nutcracker, presented by the Community Services Department of the city of Davis, features a cast of 250 children ages 6 to 12. The production began in 1977, and performances happen annually at the Veterans Memorial Theatre in Davis. For more information, visit

12 Days of Midtown

The Midtown Business Association organizes this annual holiday event series which takes place December 1-12. Attendees can enjoy shopping discounts, drink specials and special events throughout a number of Midtown venues. Highlights include: a holiday art workshop at ArtBeast Studio (2226 K Street) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 4; candlelight tours at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (2701 L Street) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 8; and Makers Mart at Bows & Arrows (1815 19th Street) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. For more information, call (916) 442-1500 or visit

Crappy Christmas film festival

This film festival is organized by Movies on a Big Screen and seeks to highlight the worst Christmas films the organizers can find. Here’s the lineup: a short-film night (Thursday, December 6, featuring a collection of poorly made short films), Santa vs. Satan, (Thursday, December 20, hosted by Mr. Lobo of Cinema Insomnia fame), and the last screening in the series (Thursday, December 27) is still to be determined. All films begin at 7 p.m. at the Grange Performing Arts Center (3823 V Street). Admission for all films is $5. For more information, visit


SantaCon is a tradition that goes something like this: Get dressed up as Santa Claus, walk to a pub, repeat. This year, the organizers want all participating Santas to meet up at the Sacramento County Main Jail (651 I Street). If you somehow lose the group during the ensuing pub crawl, or don’t show up on time, you can read dispatches or find its whereabouts at It happens on Saturday, December 15, at 3 p.m. See for more info.

Santa Parade

This parade, first organized by Weinstock’s department store and KCRA in 1983, benefits Five Gold Rings, a children’s art-program nonprofit. It features community floats filled with Santa Clauses, elves and more. This free event takes place on Saturday, December 1, at 10 a.m., from 13th and N streets to Fourth and L streets. Visit for additional information.

Posada Navideña

Local dance troupe Compañía Mazatl&#;aacute;n Bellas Artes de Sacramento presents its annual Posada Navideña Mexican folk dance. It features 20 dancers and musicians, a traditional Christmas processional, and Mexican holiday songs. See it on Friday, December 14, at 7:30w p.m. at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College (10 College Parkway in Folsom). Find out more at

Holiday Music at the Capitol

If holiday music is your thing, head over to the Fist Floor Rotunda inside the California State Capitol Museum (10th and L streets) to hear a variety of musical stylings, including a brass quintet and a banjo band, all playing holiday music. These free performances take place on December 1-23, at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily (excluding Monday, December 3). California State Capitol Museum. Call or visit the website for details: (916) 324-0333,

Kwanzaa at the Crocker

Celebrate Kwanzaa at the Crocker Art Museum (216 O Street) with artist-in-residence Deborah Pittman. She’ll perform a multimedia piece based on Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Problem We All Live With,” on Friday, December 28, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $3 to $5; advance registration is required. Call (916) 808-7000 or visit for more info.

Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink

Head down to The Kay (yeah, I said it) for a romantic and cool (pun intended) Sacramento tradition: the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink (701 K Street), presented by the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. It’s open daily through January 21; it costs $8 for admission and $2 for skate rental. Check out the website for hours, discount days, a live-music calendar and theme nights:


Sacramento Turn Verein (3349 J Street), a German cultural organization, hosts its 114th annual Christkindlmarkt, an event with a Christmas market, traditional music, eats and drink. It’s on Saturday, December 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, December 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $2 or free with donation of a child’s coat. For more information, call (916) 442-7360 or visit

Raley’s Theatre of Lights

View a live staging of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas”—embellished with lights, visual effects and sounds—read from atop several balconies in Old Sacramento. The lights throughout Old Sac will be a key part of a New Year’s Eve fireworks show as well. This free event happens every Thursday through Sunday, at 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. through December 31. Check it out on K and Front streets. For more info, visit

Mitzvah Week

Be a mensch this holiday season, and celebrate Hanukkah by participating in the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region’s Mitzvah Week. It’s a week full of community-service projects helping out local charities, Jewish organizations and people in need. It is December 9-14; see for more details.