One of the best traditions in Placerville and all of El Dorado County is bringing the whole family down to the Festival of Lights on Historic Main Street the Friday after Thanksgiving. And it’s a great way to show off your new hat, scarf and gloves, too! The Placerville Downtown Association’s Festival of Lights will be held on Friday, Nov. 23. And if you don’t have a new hat, scarf and mittens, the merchants on Historic Main Street are ready to outfit your new look.
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The big holiday welcoming ceremony starts around 5:30 p.m. on Historic Main Street. Clear, cold and dry weather is on the wish list for this year’s Festival. This event will feature a street closure between the Courthouse and Sacramento Street to host performers in several different performance locations on Main Street. That way, wherever you are on Main Street, there will be several chances to enjoy the entertainment at one location or another. The performances will take place at the Courthouse, the Bell Tower, and other locations on Historic Main Street. In addition to the entertainment, there will be stagecoach rides from Davy “Doc” Wiser and his crew, and this is also the first day of the Merchants Open House, where visitors can enjoy goodies from merchants and view beautifully decorated windows and shops. And why not use this opportunity to buy a few gifts for the loved ones on your list? Main Street merchants are sure to have what you need and are always ready to help you find it.
Among the performers at this year’s Festival will be The Placerville Gold Rush Chorus, the El Dorado High School Brass Band, Jammin’ Dance & Fitness, Cantare Chorale, and several other local, talented groups and individuals that will be sharing some holiday cheer. Holiday tunes from Hammond’s Hits will also be featured. The Placerville Gold Rush Chorus is a group of men that perform their barbershop style of harmony for the enjoyment of many listeners. The El Dorado High School Brass Band is excited about participating this year and will feature its own interpretations of traditional holiday music. Jammin’ Dance & Fitness will be helping out with several dance routines. This group has been actively performing at events in the local community for many years, and the crowd always looks forward to their delightful performances at the Festival. Its dancers range in age from 5 years old to adults.
In addition to the entertainment, the PDA is bringing back the popular “Children’s Games Booth” in front of 320 Main during the Festival. Children can try their hand at bean bag toss, frisbee throwing, conk the can and more fun games with small prizes for each participant. Also back by popular demand is the “Jingle Beverages” booth that will be selling hot cocoa and coffee near 447 Main Street. These booths help raise funds for the PDA for all the great community events and activities they host throughout the year on Historic Main Street.
And, best of all, the tree lighting (the big tree by the Courthouse, with the lights and installation being donated by Western Sign Co.) will feature a countdown at 6 p.m. by El Dorado Rose Sharon McDavid and her court. The trees along the freeway, as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Adopt-A-Tree Program, and trees donated by the El Dorado County Christmas Tree Growers Association, will also light up during the festival. Following the countdown, expect a visit from a jolly fellow in a red suit (Santa Claus!) who will set up his headquarters in River City Bank from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. that evening. Photos will be available from Robert Hall Photography (for a fee), but are not required to visit Santa.
There is so much on tap for this free event that you will want to bring the whole family down to enjoy the Festival. Since the street will be closed to parking and traffic during the event (from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), please look for parking in public lots outside of the street closure (beyond Bedford Ave and Sacramento Street). The Center Street Parking Garage will be available, but usually fills up fast during this big, community event.
And the stagecoach rides, always a popular activity, will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. near the Bell Tower with Davy “Doc” Wiser and his crew. For more information visit placerville-downtown.org or call 530-672-3436.