Pirates, paddleboarding and holiday performances for your weekend close to L.A.


Save Santa from pirates, go kayaking with him and join together in song before Christmas.


Heritage Square in Oxnard transforms into a world of cookies, candy canes and colorful gumdrops for the 11th Gingerbread Fest. Go on Saturday or Sunday for a guided tour of gingerbread structures and the square’s Victorian-era homes decorated for Christmas. On your way out, drive down Christmas Tree Lane to see neighborhood homes bedecked with lights through Dec. 26.

When: Gingerbread Fest at 1 p.m. Fridays and Sundays, 10 a.m. Saturdays through Dec. 29

Cost, info: Free for Gingerbread Fest admission, $5 for guided historical home tours. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (805) 483-7960,


Buena Park

Scoundrel pirates have taken Santa, Mrs. Claus and the world’s Christmas gifts hostage aboard their ship. Help the Clauses return to the North Pole in time for the holiday during “Pirates Take Christmas,” an interactive performance complete with singing, stunts and cannon blasts presented by the Pirates Dinner Adventure theater company. Tickets include a four-course meal. Reservations required.

When: Check website for daily show times through Dec. 25

Cost, info: $62.95 for adults, $36.95 for children 3-11 and free for children 2 and younger. Family friendly. No dogs. (866) 439-2469;


A festive Saturday awaits at Ventura Harbor Village. Exercise with Santa on a morning trip by kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat at Santa Paddle. Next, join him, Mrs. Claus, their reindeer crew and a toy soldier band at the Winter Wonderland & Holiday Marketplace. A stroll around the village reveals faux snowfall, scavenger hunts and roaming holiday characters.

When: Santa Paddle at 11 a.m., Winter Wonderland at noon Dec. 21

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Dogs OK. (805) 477-0470,,


Santa Claus, the South Coast Storytellers Guild and Grammy-winning jazz pianist Bill Cunliffe are among the special guests at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s Holiday Festival. Between workshops and performances, chow on chili and shop for arts and crafts.


When: Noon Dec. 22

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. No dogs. (714) 738-6595,

Los Angeles

Spend Christmas Eve at the 60th L.A. County Holiday Celebration, a free three-hour performance by 25 multicultural music, choral and dance groups at the Music Center. Organizers suggest lining up around noon for first-come, first-serve seats. Plaza Wonderland, which has kids games and crafts, tamale stations and screenings of holiday movies, should make the wait fun.

When: Noon for Plaza Wonderland, 3 p.m. for the Holiday Celebration Dec. 24

Cost, info: Free. Family friendly. Only service dogs permitted at the performance. (213) 972-3099,