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Spirit of Holidays Past Here for the Weekend

‘Twas the century before the holiday season, and all through Orange County, people rode in horse-drawn buggies and made gifts and tree ornaments by hand.

For those who long for a glimpse of holidays past, several organizations are sponsoring such a chance this weekend:

Winter Festival

A horse-drawn trolley, strolling carolers, choirs and minstrels will help transform downtown Fullerton into a nostalgic scene during the first “Winter Festival” Saturday.

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The goal of the festival’s sponsors, the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Assn., is to attract shoppers and diners to the city’s historic commercial district. Visitors may take part in self-guided tours of the historic downtown, which is home to a number of restaurants and specialty stores housed in turn-of-the-century buildings.

Docents standing on various street corners will await the curious to tell of the history of certain buildings and vendors selling holiday gifts will line Amerige Street.

The downtown encompasses Harbor Boulevard between Commonwealth and Chapman avenues and includes Amerige Street. The free event will begin at 1 p.m.

House History

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Candlelight tours of the Bradford House--a 15-room home built in 1902 by A.S. Bradford, an orange grower, civic leader and Placentia founder--will be turn the clock back several decades Saturday and Sunday.

The historic house, at 136 Palm Circle in Placentia, will be decked with holiday decorations reminiscent of the early 1900s. An exhibit of antique toys, including trains and trucks, also will be featured.

The tours will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Donations of $3 per adult and $1.50 per child will be requested. Information: (714) 993-2470.

Christmas Past

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Wassails and savories of the 19th century will be served Saturday during a Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society fund-raiser, which includes a self-guided tour of historic downtown Santa Ana homes and churches.

The “Christmas Past” fund-raiser will take visitors through the Episcopal Church of the Messiah and five Victorian-style homes built before 1900. Wassails, cider-like drinks, and savories, assorted appetizers and desserts, will be served at the various stops.

“It’s very interesting to see how our ancestors lived, how they decorated their homes, how they dressed,” Santa Ana preservationist Carol Lesher said. “A lot of people like to see the types of decorations that were hung during the holidays in the old days. It’s just so appealing.”

Tours start at 5:30 p.m. at one of the historic homes, 2038 N. Ross St. Tickets are $20 per person. Information: (714) 541-3927.

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