Sonora Christmas Festival offers a weekend of fun

By From page B5 | November 23, 2012

The 38th annual Sonora Christmas Festival opens Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23 to 25, at  Sonora’s Mother Lode Fairgrounds.

The Sonora Christmas Festival continues to be one of California’s finest arts festivals. All the preparations are under way for this picturesque Thanksgiving Weekend event in downtown Sonora — Santa’s special pre-Christmas stopover in the foothills of the Mother Lode.

The Christmas Festival kicks off with the 26th Winter Wonderland Christmas Parade, in historical downtown Sonora at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23.

At 10 a.m., visitors will be greeted by Santa, the elves, Twinkle Trees, and carolers at the front gates of the Christmas Village. They can follow these merrymakers through the artisan’s lanes filled with yummy festival food vendors, accompanied by tunes of the talented musicians on the festival stages.

One hundred and fifty craft and graphic artists will be featured at this “top rated on the West Coast festival” — a definite Christmas shopping tradition for thousands of thoughtful shoppers since 1975.

The craft and art pieces are made individually by artisans, weavers, metal smiths and include Christmas ornaments and decorations, blown and etched glass, fabricated gold and silver jewelry, watercolors, photography, clothing, soaps, instrument maker, lotions oils and soaps, leather hats, bets, buckles and custom signs.

“Cottage” gourmet food specialties such as olive oils, candies, salsas, nuts, olives, peanut brittle and  English toffee are a very popular addition to the festival. Don’t miss cowboy toffee, fudge it , cake mixes by Fabulous Fixins, wild honey by Gold Country Honey, Dog Biscuit Stockings by the Humane Society and so much more.

Festival entertainment includes continuous festive, up tempo, live entertainment on three stages and the Festival Children’s’ Stage with a wide range of music, “street performers,” comic jugglers, vaudeville style skits and lots of Christmas seasonal music.

Groups performing include: Tessie Marie and Poor Man Band; Joe Craven and Mamjowali; the Golden Bough; Sourdough Slim, the accordion playing cowboy Red Dog Ash Bluegrass Band; Fun Strummers Ukelele Orchestra, Mirth and Glee Singers, Captain Jack Spareribs with acts of magic, juggling and ventriolquism; Katrina and Scotty, comedy escape artists and jugglers and Daredevil Chicken.

A kids’ play area with inflatable bouncers and, weather permitting, slides, will be available. The Polar Express Train, Taylor the Face Painter and a craft area where kids can make craft projects consisting of “green products” at Revamp Recyclables are all part of the fun for children.

Children can also visit Santa in his brightly decorated village all three days in the Santa area. Santa, joined by his merry elves and the Twinkle Trees will show kids a memorable visit, and photos can be taken in the beautiful Santa’s Wonderland.

Festival food vendors include: Spiro Gyros with gyros, lamb, chicken, falafel, humus and breakfast; Road Dog Catering with barbecue tri-tip, pulled pork, sausages, seafood chowder, seared tuna; Susie’s tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos; Oriental Classics serving barbecue sticks, shrimp tempura, fried rice, chow mein,egg roll, fried veggies pad Thai; Southern Comfort Cooking serving catfish and chicken; India Gourmet Authentic Indian Cuisine serves naan wraps, rice bowls filled with lamb, chicken, vegan; The Pretzel Gourmet has pretzels and smoothies; The Chocolate Factory serves chocolate dipped bacon, cheese cakes, fruit, ice cream; Lockeford Lemonade serves deep fried veggies, onion rings, calamari; Festival Kettle corn serves kettle corn, sarsaparilla, wild cherry soda; Jana’s Espresso Cafe offers coffees, smoothies, baked goods; PI 1203 Desserts offers pies, cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls and Sierra Waldorf School will serve beers, wines and  drinks of the season.

The 38th annual Sonora Christmas Festival 2012 will begin on Friday, Nov 23 at 5:30 p.m. and continue on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and  Sunday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be located at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive in Sonora.

Admission Friday through Sunday is $7 adults, $5 seniors and students, $2 for children 6 to 12, free for those under age 6 with adult admission. Discount cards for $1 off adult admission are in most downtown Sonora businesses, county-wide motels and restaurants and are downloadable from On Sunday only, an extra $1 discount off adult and senior admission will be given for a canned food donation .

Parking in the fairgrounds is $5 per vehicle. Shuttle bus services are planned; details will be announced on the Website.

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