MENDOCINO Co., 11/30/22 – The holiday season is here which means festivities abound throughout Mendocino County. This month you can show off your artsy skills with Christmas crafts, enjoy wondrous light displays, snap a selfie with Santa, share a meal with your neighbors, or even sing holiday songs at karaoke. There’s no shortage of fun this holiday. Looking for holiday shopping markets and pop-ups? Check out our round-up here.
Here’s a list of events taking place across Mendocino County, in Boonville, Elk, Fort Bragg, Gualala, Hopland, Laytonville, Mendocino, Philo, Point Arena, Redwood Valley, Ukiah and Willits — if we’re missing anything, let us know in the comments or by email at [email protected] so we can add it in. Happy holidays! ☃️
Tree Lighting at the Boonville Hotel, December 1 – The Boonville Hotel will light up its holiday tree with live music by the Americana trio the Real Sarahs. The hotel’s restaurant will serve soups, cheese biscuits and cookies. Proceeds benefit the Anderson Valley Food Bank. All ages, 5 p.m., $20 suggested donation, Boonville Hotel, 14050 Hwy 128, Boonville.
Build a Gingerbread House, December 10 – Paysanne hosts its annual afternoon of gingerbread house building for the whole family. Paysanne provides the houses, decorations and a kid-friendly lunch. Reservations required. Boonville Hotel, 14050 Hwy 128, Boonville.
Holiday Street Fair, December 9 – Enjoy an evening of shopping, dining, and holiday cheer in downtown Elk. Businesses will stay open late for an evening holiday fun. Visit each shop to be entered into a holiday raffle. In the Mix will perform a cappella holiday music. Free, 4-8 p.m., downtown Elk.
Festival of Lights, now through December 18 – The Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden hosts its 12th annual Festival of Lights when staff and volunteers decorate the gardens in a show of glittering holiday lights. Hot cocoa, cider and snacks will be available for purchase. Advanced tickets recommended and are available here. All ages, $10 per person, kids under 16 are free, 5-7 p.m., Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg. Read more about this year’s Festival of Lights here.
Winter Wonderland, December 3 – Visit Fort Bragg hosts Winter Wonderland, a full day of jolly good fun. The event includes a holiday market, photo opportunities with Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony, live music, a lighted truck parade and more. 12-6:30 p.m., Franklin and Laurel Streets, Fort Bragg.
Noyo Harbor Lit Boat Parade, December 4 – Local fishing and pleasure boats decorated with holiday lights parade along the Noyo River. Free, all ages, 6:30 p.m., Noyo Harbor.
“A Christmas Carol” – Readers Theater presents Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” Free, all ages, 6-8 p.m., Fort Bragg Branch Library, 499 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg.
Christmas Tree Decorating Competition and Silent Auction Fundraiser, now through December 18 – Get out your glue guns and stencils as Gualala Arts hosts its annual Christmas Tree Decorating Competition. Everyone is welcome to participate: children, adults, merchants, nonprofits and groups. All trees will be sold in a silent auction with funds raised benefiting Gualala Arts. Trees will be judged and winners will receive Gualala Arts VIP packages.
Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, December 18 – Join the community for the lighting of the Menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. Gather at Gualala Arts at dusk. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Old State Highway, Gualala.
Ugly Sweater Competition, now through December 24 – Dig out – or buy – the ugliest sweater you can possibly find, holiday or not, and head to the Gualala Arts Center where they’ll snap a photograph of you for judging (the sweater, not you, of course!). Groups and pets are welcome! Winners will be named for Best Overall Ugly Sweater, Best Group of Ugly Sweaters, and Best Pet Ugly Sweater. The winners receive a free family membership to the center, See’s Candy, and “bragging rights.” 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through December 24, Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Old State Highway, Gualala.
Wreath Workshop, December 10 – Learn how to make your own wreath using native vegetation found at the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center. All materials are provided. Snacks and hot apple cider will be served. Registration required. All ages, $35 per person, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Hopland Research and Extension Center, 4070 University Road, Hopland. Register here.
Sip & Selfies with Santa, December 10 – The winery Campovida and Stock Farm restaurant hosts guests for photographs with Santa Claus, mulled wine and holiday cookies. All ages, 2-4 p.m., Stock Farm, 13441 US 101, Hopland.
Community Tree Lighting, December 10 – 101 Grill & BBQ hosts a tree-lighting event full of festivities. From 2-5 p.m. there will be local vendors selling holiday food and wares, a toy drive (brand new, unwrapped toys), a holiday hat contest, and photos with Santa Claus. Tree-lighting ceremony starts at 5 p.m. with caroling, live music, a remembrance candle-lighting in addition. Free, 2-6 p.m., 101 Grill & BBQ, 44911 US-101, Laytonville.
Ornament Making, December 10 – Julie Karlonas leads a family friendly workshop in which families will leave with their own handmade holiday ornaments. All materials and refreshments will be provided. All ages, free, 3-4:30 p.m., Mendocino Art Center, 45200 Little Lake St., Mendocino.
Holiday Spirit Merrymaking, December 13 – Mendocino Spirits is teaming up with Floyd & Connie’s for a holiday-themed evening food and drink. Crispin Cain, distiller at Mendocino Spirits, will guide attendees through one-on-one whiskey and gin tastings paired with savory food pairings from Floyd & Connie’s. Tickets required. 21 and over, $75, 5-8 p.m., The Waiting Room, 961 Ukiah St., Mendocino. Buy tickets here.
Community Dinner, December 4 – The Anderson Valley Foodshed and Anderson Valley Grange #669 hosts its annual holiday Community Dinner. The free potluck dinner includes turkey, mashed potatoes gravy, coffee, tea, water and apple juice. Participants are invited to bring desserts, salads, drinks, including vegetarian and gluten-ree options. Volunteers are also needed. All ages, free, 5 p.m., Anderson Valley Grange #669, 9800 Highway 128, Philo. Visit this Facebook event for more information.
Hometown Holidays at Point Arena Lighthouse, December 10 – The Point Arena Light Station celebrates Point Arena’s Hometown Holidays event, sponsored by the Point Arena Merchants Association. The lighthouse will offer free admission and tours, complimentary hot cider and cookies, and the Light Station Store will have a huge sale (up to 75%) off. All ages, free, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum, 45500 Lighthouse Rd., Point Arena.
Hometown Holiday, December 10 – Point Arena hosts its annual Hometown Holidays celebration. The event includes carolers, a tree-ighting ceremony, live music, holiday treats, merchant discounts and an Arts & Crafts Pop-Up Market with holiday gifts, special discounts, and festive foods. All ages, free, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., downtown Point Arena.
The Polar Express, December 10 – The Point Arena Theater hosts a showing of 2004 children’s movie The Polar Express as part of Point Arena’s Hometown Holiday festivities. All ages, tickets start at $8, 4 p.m., Point Arena Theater, 214 Main St., Point Arena. Buy tickets here.
Annual Native American Elders Christmas Party, December 4 – The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians invites Native American elders, ages 60 and older, from any tribe, to enjoy an afternoon of holiday festivities. The event includes a catered lunch, a present to honor each elder, bingo with cash prizes, and a free raffle with prizes. Free, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Coyote Valley Gymnasium, 60 Coyote Valley Rd., Redwood Valley.
Santa Claus visits Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department, December 4 – Santa returns to the fire station for photographs and fun. Brandon Tripp Photography will be on hand to help families remember the special moment. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department, 8481 East Rd., Redwood Valley.
North Bay Motorcycle Association Toy Run, December 17 – The North Bay Motorcycle Association hosts its annual Toys for Tots bike run. Donate an unwrapped toy and enjoy special cocktails, a raffle, and live music from the Black Horse Blues Band. 21 and over, 1:30 p.m., free, McCarty’s Bar, 6951 East Rd., Redwood Valley.
Ukiah on Ice, now through January 16 – The City of Ukiah’s annual ice rink is back! Hours vary, so check the city’s webpage here. All ages, $10 per skater, Alex Thomas Plaza, Ukiah.
Holiday Open House & Craft Fair, December 2-3 – The Grace Hudson Museum’s Holiday Open House & Craft Fair is back after a two-year hiatus. Local artists and creatives will sell their wares over two days. On Saturday, the event includes an appearance by Santa Claus at the Sun House, carolers, refreshments and more. All ages, free, 5-8 p.m. on December 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on December 3,, Grace Hudson Museum & Sun House, 431 S. Main St., Ukiah.
Hot Chocolate Bar, December 3 – U Top It hosts its first annual Hot Chocolate Bar. The ice cream and coffee shop will serve up how chocolate with decadent toppings, coffee, lattes, mochas, hot brownie sundaes, cookies, sweets and more prior to the Parade of Lights. 4:30-6 p.m., U Top It, 113 S. State. St, Ukiah.
Ukiah Parade of Lights, December 3 – The annual Parade of Lights will take place in downtown Ukiah. Viewing takes place on State St. between Low Gap Rd. and Alex Thomas Plaza. All ages, free, 6 p.m., Ukiah.
Ukiah Symphony Orchestra Holiday Celebration, December 3-4 – Enjoy a musical celebration of the holidays with the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra, the Mendocino College Choir, and guest musicians. The performance includes works by Beethoven, Margaret Bonds, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and a sing-a-long to Handel’s “Hallelujah!” Tickets start at $10, all ages, Mendocino College Center Theatre, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd., Ukiah. Tickets on sale here.
Let it Glow Ukiah Valley Holiday Lights Competition, December 3-19 – The City of Ukiah hosts its annual holiday lights competition throughout Ukiah Valley. Community members drive around and view holiday lights in Ukiah, Talmage, Hopland, Redwood Valley and Calpella. Enroll and find a map here.
Christmas Karaoke Night, December 6 – DJ Ken Steely and DJ Anna host a Christmas-themed family karaoke night. Bring an unwrapped toy worth $20 or more, and you will be entered for a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Slam Dunk Pizza. Toys will be donated to the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort. All ages, 6:30 p.m., Slam Dunk Pizza, 720 N. State St., Ukiah.
Winter Wonders Storytime & Craft, December 10 – Bring the kiddos to the library for a winter-themed morning of snowy stories and snowman crafting. Free, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Ukiah Branch Library, 105 N. Main St., Ukiah.
Hometown Holidays, December 10 – Pear Tree Center’s Hometown Holidays is back with free Santa and Grinch photos, carriage rides, food, prizes and more. Free, 1-4 p.m., Pear Tree Center, 504 E. Perkins St., Ukiah.
Nutcracker Tea, December 11 – Sip hot tea and nibble on sandwiches, snacks and desserts while enjoying an abbreviated performance of The Nutcracker by Mendocino Ballet. All ages, 2-4 p.m., $15 per person or $10 for children under 10, Mendocino Ballet, 205 S. State St., Ukiah. Tickets available at Mendocino Book Co. and the Mendocino Ballet. Call (707) 463-2290 for more information.
The Nutcracker, December 16-18 – Mendocino Ballet hosts its annual performance of The Nutcracker. Dancers skilled in the art of classical ballet are featured in major roles, and child dancers from the ballet’s Recreational Program will also participate. All ages, times vary, tickets start at $11, Mendocino Ballet, 205 S. State St., Ukiah. Buy tickets here.
Mr. Skunk and the Giant Christmas Tree, now through December 31 – Enjoy a 16-mile round trip journey into the redwood forest. During the train ride, guests will enjoy games, Christmas carols, and seasonal treats (including beverages for adults!). The train arrives at Santa Mr. Skunk’s Wonderful Workshop with lots of holiday fun under a giant redwood tree. Upon return, guests can climb aboard the historic Skunk motorcar for photo opportunities with Mr. Skunk! 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., tickets start at $59.95, dogs $10.95. Tickets available here.
Santa Photos, December 3 – Santa Claus makes an appearance at JD Redhouse for photos with the community. Photographer Maureen Jennison will snap photos of you, your friends or family for a $5 donation. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., JD Redhouse, 212 S. Main St., Willits.
Crafty Winter Weekends, December 3 – The Willits Branch Library hosts an hour of family friendly winter-focused crafts. Free, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Willits Branch Library, 390 E. Commercial St. Willits.
Christmas Holiday Express, December 3 – Roots of Motive Power presents its annual Christmas party. Santa arrives on a steam locomotive, plenty of trees, trains, singing, carollers, and refreshments make this an event for kids of all ages. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 420 E. Commercial St., Willits.
Mendocino County Museum Holiday Event, December 3 – Complementing the Roots of Motive Power Christmas party, the Mendocino County Museum will open its doors to the public for a free afternoon of holiday activities and history exhibitions. The museum will feature a holiday exhibition featuring letters, postcards and holiday recipes and its current exhibit showcasing Latino culture, “Nuestra Alianza.” Activities include old-fashioned letter-writing, take-and-make crafts, treats, toys and more. All ages, free, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Mendocino County Museum, 400 E. Commercial St., Willits.
Holiday Block Party with the Grinch, December 4 – Willits hosts a holiday block party chock filled with food, crafts, music and more. Ace Copy & Shipping will also host its grand opening party and Imagination Station Educational Toy Depot is offering a 15% storewide discount. Photographer Maureen Jennison will be offering photo shoots with the Grinch for $5. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 262 E. Commercial St., Willits.
All Is Calm, December 9-18 – Willits Community Theatre presents the touching holiday-themed war musical All Is Calm. The musical is based on the 1914 story of embattled World War 1 soldiers who left their trenches on Christmas Eve to greet their enemies in a unique moment of peace. $20, all ages, tickets on sale here.
Crafty Winter Weekends, December 10 – The Willits Branch Library hosts an hour of family friendly winter-focused crafts. Free, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Willits Branch Library, 390 E. Commercial St. Willits.
Senior Center Holiday Karaoke Tea Party – Enjoy a festive evening of singing, dancing, eating, drinking and being merry at DJ Princess Cathie’s holiday karaoke party. Free, 4-9 p.m., Willits Harrah Senior Center, 1501 Baechtel Rd., Willits.
Crafty Winter Weekends, December 17 – The Willits Branch Library hosts an hour of family friendly winter-focused crafts. Free, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Willits Branch Library, 390 E. Commercial St. Willits.
Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.