News, Tips & Bargains : Coronado's Ready to Ring in Holidays

Coronado, the tiny city across the bay from San Diego, is decking its halls for the "Coronado Celebrates Children During the Holidays" festival, which begins Wednesday.

The monthlong celebration will include more than 100 children's activities such as caroling, crafts, visits with Santa, Hanukkah story hours, magic shows, pancake breakfasts, gingerbread decorating and tree lightings. Almost all events are free.

Santa arrives via ferryboat Friday at Ferry Landing Marketplace, which will be covered in 20 tons of man-made snow. He'll join a gala parade, light the city Christmas tree with the help of attending children and preside over a fireworks finale.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat" will present "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," one of several readings scheduled throughout the month at Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

Next Sunday, Coronado's largest arts and crafts show of the year, Artisans' Alley, will take over the Coronado High School auditorium and that night, a sing-along performance of "The Messiah" will feature the St. Paul's Methodist Church choir, San Diego Chamber Chorale and a full orchestra.

As the month unfolds, other events are planned, including the sixth Kiwanis "Holiday Lights Walk" over 2- and 5-mile courses, the annual San Diego Boat Parade of Lights and performances by Grupo Folklorico Infantil Anahual, the San Diego Comic Opera and the Christian Youth Theatre.

Most events are clustered around the weekends and winter rates at Coronado's 15 hotels, motels, B&Bs; and resorts range from about $40 per night per person to about $370 a person on New Year's Eve. Several lodgings are offering special packages.

To obtain a schedule of events and accommodations information, call (800) 622-8300.

Staying Put at Stapleton Airport

The new Denver International Airport, originally scheduled to open Oct. 31 and then rescheduled to open Dec. 19 "to work out a few of the bugs," still has some kinks and won't open until March 9.

A spokesman blamed the postponement on delays in systems testing and personnel training.

Critics had questioned the wisdom of trying to open the massive facility during the holiday crush, but airport officials thought they could pull it off, even though air carriers and air freight companies were "not thrilled about it."

Denver International will replace Stapleton International Airport, which serves 32 million travelers annually and is a hub for United and Continental airlines.

Easy Riding in Tel Aviv

Bus travel has turned high-tech in Tel Aviv with the opening of a new seven-story terminal in the middle of the city.

The new terminal is touted as the largest in the Middle East and the most advanced in the world.

Everything about the new station is designed to be user-friendly for regular commuters and visitors alike: There are computerized overhead screens in Hebrew and English, easy access to buses via air-conditioned ramps, bus doors that lock automatically at departure time, and a dispatch area that is computerized. From it, 5,000 buses a day travel 120 routes, including the popular Tel Aviv-Jerusalem loop which takes about 45 minutes and costs about $3.

The terminal is located in what is being called Israel's largest shopping mall of 1,400 shops, 800 of which are expected to be open by year's end. Americans will also find such familiar names as Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

GeoQuiz

Name one of the present-day countries that make up the area of Southeast Asia once known as French Indochina.

Answer: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

JUST THE FACTS: The Nicest People

A recent Money magazine survey of 406 leisure travelers asked them to vote on the European country where they encountered the "nicest people." Here are the findings: England: 13.7% Germany: 10.8% Italy: 7.8% France: 6.9% Ireland: 6.9% Scotland: 4.9%

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