Santa Lucia Day
Kingsburg marks its centennial in 2008, and to honor that coming milestone, 100 youths are set to participate in the Santa Lucia celebration this year: girls in white gowns with red sashes and wearing candle crowns and boys with star-decorated costumes. In the morning, girls in costume will conduct a procession through downtown restaurants, walking single file as traditional saffron buns and coffee are carried in. Local bakers, businesses and regional artisans set out wares along the sidewalks of Draper Street during the day, offering handmade arts and crafts, baked goods and Swedish entrees. The day culminates with a Festival of Lights parade, when the history of the Lucia folklore is read to the crowd and a past Lucia queen sings "Santa Lucia" in Swedish.
When, where: Saturday at various locations in Kingsburg.
Cost: Free; a chicken dinner, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kingsburg Community Church, Smith and Ellis streets, is $8 per person.
Info: (559) 897-1111, www.kingsburgchamberofcom.
Noel NightNorthstar-at-Tahoe throws a holiday party with free ice skating and a stage with live music, plus carolers, Santa, a tree lighting and hot cocoa.
When, where: Dec. 4, 11 and 18 at the resort, California 267 at Northstar Drive in Truckee.
Info: (800) 466-6784, www.northstarattahoe.com.
Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music FestivalIan Tyson, Canadian cowboy singer-songwriter, and singer- songwriter Tom Russell (whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash and Ramblin' Jack Elliott) are among the troubadours and poets who will entertain during nine shows over the three-day festival. Among other highlights: Western art and gear will be for sale, and planned are a quilting workshop and a boot-stomping Saturday night dance, then a chance to repent at Cowboy Church.
When, where: Dec. 7 to 9 at the Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza.
Cost: Varies from free to $35.
Info: (800) 722-9652, www.montereycowboy.com.
Hanukkah Festival at Ventura HarborA 20-foot menorah will be lighted during this annual holiday event. There will be entertainment for the kids, live music, hot latkes and kosher food, and a demonstration of olive pressing for oil using an antique olive press.
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the harbor, Harbor Boulevard and Schooner Drive.
Info: (805) 382-4770, www.chabadofoxnard.com.
The Polar Express
With Warner Bros.' blessing, the holiday train chugs out of Bryson City Depot, taking kids and their parents to a North Pole village, where Santa climbs on board. It will include hot chocolate and caroling; the "Polar Express" story is read; and Santa gives each child a sleigh bell.
When, where: Daily except for Dec. 3 and 10 through Dec. 23. The train departs from Bryson City Depot, 226 Everett St.
Cost: $35, ages 2 to 12 $23.
Info: (800) 872-4681, www.gsmr.com.