Santa Claus is Coming to Town!
By Jacqui D Sinarle
This year, get some face time with Santa at the following holiday events scheduled throughout the Central Valley and look for more information online. McHenry Village in Modesto hosts daily visits from Santa beginning the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Special holiday activities include professional photos with Santa and horsedrawn carriage rides (www.mchenryvillage.com).
Downtown Riverbank’s day-long Christmas Festival begins on Nov. 26 with a Christmas Craft Faire at noon, followed by the Community Christmas Parade at 5:30 p.m., visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a Tree Lighting Ceremony. (www.riverbank.org or visit the City of Riverbank on Facebook).
The Magical Christmas Train departs from the Sierra Dinner Train station in Oakdale on several dates in November and December, and Santa will be aboard so bring your camera! (www.sierradinnertrain.com).
Community Hospice Foundation presents Breakfast with Santa at the Gallo Center for the Arts on Dec. 3 from 8 to 11 a.m. The event is part of a two-day fundraiser that starts with a Decorated Tree and Wreath Auction, Holiday Luncheon, and Boutique on Dec. 2 (Call 209-578-6370 or visit www.give.hospiceheart.org).
The Ceres Christmas Festival at Smyrna Park on Dec. 3 features a visit from Santa from 5:30 to 7 p.m. (pictures with Santa are free with a canned food donation; photos may be picked up via Facebook after the event). Don’t miss the annual Ceres Christmas Parade beginning at 7:30 p.m.! “Classic Holidays” is the theme for downtown Modesto’s 10th Street Plaza Rockin’ Holiday. The fun starts on Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. following Modesto’s Celebration of Lights Holiday Parade, with additional dates on Dec. 8 through 10, 15 through 17, 22 & 23. Highlights include free photos with Santa and his elves, live music, and snow; Rockin’ Tree Light Shows are presented seven nights a week from 6 to 9 p.m. (www.modestoview.com).
Celebrate Holidays at the Farm from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2 at Dell’Osso Family Farm in Lathrop. Kids can pose for pictures with Santa at the country store from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the whole family can enjoy seasonal fun like snow tubing, ice skating, hayrides, and a one-mile drive-through the light show beginning at dusk (www.dellossofarm.com).
Santa HQ Returns to Vintage Faire Mall
Santa HQ, presented by HGTV, is once again transforming the traditional Santa visit into an engaging and interactive journey for all ages at Vintage Faire’s center court from Nov. 2 through Dec. 24
Santa HQ Activities Include:
- Photos with Santa: Reservations are accepted at www.santa-hq.com/reservations
- The Naughty or Nice O’Meter: That lets Santa know if you’ve been good or bad this year
- Santa’s Workshop
- The Elfie–Selfie Video: Star alongside Santa’s elves in your own holiday video
- The Control Center Observatory: Home to some of the most cutting-edge holiday equipment that you’ll ever see
- The Elf Ray Vision app and Elf Ray Vision Treasure Hunt virtual reality experience
Also at the Mall:
- Join Vintage Faire at the Village Christmas Tree lighting celebration for live entertainment and family activities on Nov. 19 from 7 to 8 p.m.
- Enter HGTV’s Spreading Holiday Cheer Sweepstakes from Nov. 14 through Dec. 24 for a chance to win $10,000 (register at www.MallSweepstakes.com and at select mall locations)