We support the good news about our community's cultural diversity since 2009

Holiday festivities to sparkle in December


Victorian Christmas, Cornish Christmas among many local events

Karen Newell Young

Nevada City Advocate 


Victorian Christmas

Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas has evolved over its 41 years into performance art, with endearing performers – Cindy Moon as the Walking Christmas Tree and her husband, Jim, as the Toy Soldier, Cecil Snow, as the chimney sweep – all frolicking around town and making children laugh.

Played for over 15 years by local actor Warren Nordendhal, Father Christmas hopes to make dreams come true; he joins veteran participants David Vertin, whose been driving the carriages at Victorian Christmas for 40 years, and the Scottish highland dancers, the Gold Country Brass Quartet and some 100 other performers.

It’s all a spectacle against the backdrop of 1,000 lights, food, song and vintage costumes, on Sundays, Dec. 9, 16 and 23, and Wednesdays, Dec. 12 and 19. For more information, visit Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at nevadacitychamber.com.

Throughout Nevada County, holiday events fill the month of December with fairs, tree-lighting ceremonies, concerts and craft shows.

Cornish Christmas

Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley began in 1967 to preserve the town’s heritage. Carolers, fire pits, mistletoe, costumes and food vendors will entertain visitors every Friday through Dec. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. when Mill and West Main Street will be closed to traffic.

A highlight of Cornish Christmas is the Cornish Carol Choir, performing traditional Christmas Carols. Some members are descendants of original Grass Valley Cornish Miners. You can learn more about them and their Cornish history at the M3Mall, which provides historical trivia along with Cornish king and queen photo opportunities. Other entrainment is provided by Nevada County Tommyknocker Cloggers, Sierra Cappella, Nevada Union Choir and In Sync Dancers.

For more information on Cornish Christmas call 530-272-8315 or visit downtowngrassvalley.com.

Holiday Lights in the Park

In Penn Valley, Holiday Lights in the Park will present the magic of hundreds of Christmas lights. This is the fourth year of the community tradition at Western Gateway Park, presented by the Penn Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber reports that nearly 500 carloads of visitors view the lights each year.

For more information call 530-432-1802 or visit pennvalleyco.org.

Other events

For classical music fans, Music in the Mountains Orchestra and Chorus features Happy Holidays, a family-friendly event of traditional holiday classics, favorite carols and new compositions.

The Dec. 8 evening concert and Dec. 9 matinee will perform at the Amaral Center of the Nevada County Fairgrounds featuring a vision of holiday splendor with the 25-piece professional orchestra and 80-member chorus that will cover a variety of shorter pieces, including “Carol of the Bells,” “Silent Night” and “First Noel.”

For more information, visit musicinthemountians.org or call 530-265-6124.

InConcert Sierra hosts Conductor Ken Hardin at the podium for his last set of holiday concerts before his retirement from the Sierra Master Chorale and Orchestra. He has spent the last year tracking down permission to perform “Caroling, Caroling,” a set of Alfred Burt Carols arranged by composer Mark Hayes. With help from executive director Julie Hardin’s, the couple was able to gain permission to copy Hayes’ archival version of the score. The result is the annual holiday concert at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborne Hill Road, Grass Valley. For more information call 530-273-3990 or visit inconcertsierra.org.

The Holt Ballet Conservatory and the Miners Foundry presents “Clara and the Nutcracker” portraying the classic holiday story the “Nutcracker Suite” with a variety of dancers at all levels, from youngsters making their stage debut as well as professional guest artists. For more information, visit minersfoundry.org.

The Nevada Union High School Chamber Choir, led by Rod Baggett, present its Royal 2018 Madrigal Dinner at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 401 S. Church St., Grass Valley. This event is part dinner, part comedy routine and part history presentation.

The evening transports visitors to the 16th century, a world of knights, wizards, jesters and kings and queens. The costumed drama includes a multi-course dinner and various royal entertainment. E-mail info@nuchoir.org for more information.

The Madrigal Dinner is followed on Thursday, Dec. 13, by the Nevada Union choirs at the Don Baggett Theater with holiday music. The Winter Concert begins at 7 p.m., for more information, visit NUChoirorg.

Theater lovers will enjoy the perennial holiday drama, “Scrooge,” Performed by Legacy Presents at the Nevada Theatre. Times vary until Dec. 24. For more information, visit legacypresents.com.

Holiday events also abound in Auburn and Truckee. For information on those events, visit truckee.com or auburnchamber.net.

About the photos:

Previous page: 

Victorian Christmas festivities in Nevada City starts Sunday, December 9.

Photo by Thomas A. Thompson

This page: 

Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley brings young and old to the old-fashioned celebration.

Photo by Thomas A. Thompson