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During the holidays, classical Christmas carols like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” evoke memories of parades, sledding, shopping, decorating, and visiting Santa.  KCFM wanted to give you 12 fun holiday events that will help create new family traditions and warm your heart.  Enjoy these  sfestivities and celebrate the season with those you love!

Kern County Museum Bakersfield Christmas Town & Lamplight Tours

New this year, museum visitors can enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas every day of the season! From now thru Jan 4th, the grounds will become a gorgeous Christmas Town aglow with holiday lights on every historic building plus a 30-foot animated Christmas tree. Be a kid again at Bakersfield Christmas Town. Enjoy an ice skating rink, snow sledding hill, and hayride through an amazing light show plus enjoy caroling, dancers, food, and beverages.  

In addition, on Dec 7th only, Lamplight Tours will transform the grounds and take visitors back in time to an 1800’s Christmas with old-fashioned lanterns, docents in historic costumes giving tours of homes not normally open to the public, crafts, carolers, a Victorian tea, and a performance of A Christmas Carol acted out as a walking play in the park. Tickets for either event are $12 per adult or child with a discount for museum members. For more info, go to kcmuseum.org.

Gaslight Melodrama

The Gaslight Melodrama, known for fun-filled shows and great food, shifts gears for the season to put on a Holiday Extravaganza. This year’s show is How the Elves Saved Christmas, a tale of what happens when the Christmas radio broadcast will be shut down unless Santa’s elves save the day.  A holiday vaudeville revue, The Presley Armstrong Christmas Special, will follow, serving up holiday music and outrageous comedy suitable for the entire family. Performances take place now thru Dec 23rd at the Gaslight Melodrama Theatre & Music Hall. For tickets or more info, call 661-587-3377 or go to themelodrama.com.  

31st Annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade

The annual Bakersfield Christmas Parade has a long, rich history. Generations of locals have made it a yearly tradition, setting up chairs, huddling under warm blankets, sipping hot cocoa, and watching the excitement of colorful floats, marching bands, horse-drawn carriages, fire trucks, classic vehicles, equestrian groups, and all manner of parade entertainment go by. 

This year’s parade is on Thursday, December 5th, from 6 to 8pm. Admission is free. The title is An Old Fashioned Christmas, with Santa Claus as Grand Marshal and Mrs. Claus to greet the crowd. “It’s amazing how this town radiates the holiday spirit,” said Parade Coordinator Pamela Carlock. “And, since it’s at night, the lights and color add so much. It’s an amazing event!”

Come early for a good spot as about 20,000 are expected to attend. The parade starts at 22nd and L Streets and ends at O Street. If you prefer watching from your own couch, it will be aired live on KGET TV-17 and Telemundo. For a parade route map and more info, go to bcparade.com.    

Holiday Lights at CALM

Gather the kids, friends, and relations for one of Bakersfield’s most popular holiday attractions, the Holiday Lights at CALM, home to about 250 injured or abandoned animals native to California. Now in its 11th year, Holiday Lights puts on a show of two million colorful LED lights synchronized with music, with all proceeds benefiting the CALM Foundation. 

New displays this year include a Statue of Liberty with fireworks, a lighthouse, a howling wolf, and interactive lights for the kids. There will also be a train ride on the Candy Cane Express and a giant merry-go-round. It’s open now thru December 31st from 5:30 to 9pm (closed Christmas Day). Tickets range from $6 to $12. For more info, call 661-872-2256 or go to calmzoo.org

Stars Theatre 

Stars Theatre downtown combines gourmet dining with live theatre ,making it a Bakersfield favorite. This holiday, Stars is serving up A Merry Christmas at Stars, and the theme is Christmas around the World. Skits include As the Tortilla Turns, A Mexican Night before Christmas, the Already Been Chewed (ABC) Channel, and many more plus dancing and multi-cultural songs such as Mele Kalikimaka, Happy Joyous Hanuka, and a Turkey Lurkey Christmas. Shows run from Dec 7th thru Dec 21st. For more info, call 661-325-6100 or go to bmtstars.com. 

Chez Noël

Chez Noël Holiday Home Tours presented by the Assistance League of Bakersfield helps fund Operation School Bell, which provides new school clothes for 3,000 children annually, and the Hugs Program, which provides teddy bears for traumatized children. Molly Clifton, Public Relations Chairman for the ALB, said that for many, Chez Noël has become a Bakersfield holiday tradition. 

Now in their 24th year, Chez Noël includes docent-led tours of three spectacularly decorated private homes in Stockdale Country Club, Riverlakes, and the Kern River area. Your ticket includes admission to the Chez Noël Boutique at 1924 Q Street where visitors can shop for Christmas items including jewelry, clothing, and specialty items. Tickets are $35 and are available at Christine’s, Russo’s Bookstore, the Bargain Box, Sugardaddy’s, and Inspire Salon and Spa. Tour dates are Dec 6th and 7th from 10am to 4pm.  

Christmas Around the World

This Christmas will be the last chance to experience the amazing display of holiday traditions and customs from Norway, France, Germany, and over 40 other countries at Christmas Around the World.  In its sixth year, patrons can visit it through January 4th, at Timeless Furnishing, 2nd Floor, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday. 

Creator Sherrie Lewis says this exhibit was a dream and a life goal, but changes in her life make it impossible to continue the event.  “I have met the most amazing people and everyone who has come is so grateful they did,” she says.

“I love Christmas and I feel Christmas Around the World promotes the true meaning of Christmas.” 

With more than 2,000 nativities, the event boasts the largest nativity display in California. Also, over 600 nutcrackers, antique leather-bound Bibles from around the world, and art from local artists will be featured. For more information, please visit www.christmasworldevent.com.

Tom Xavier’s Enchanted Forest 

Spend an enchanted evening of festivities while helping out local heroes at the same time.  In its 12th year, Tom Xavier’s Enchanted Forest will be held on Saturday, December 7th at Stockdale Country Club at 6:00 p.m. benefitting the Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund.  Tickets are $120 per person or a reserved table for 10 for $1,000.  

The event features an enchanted forest where 15 designers have decorated lavish Christmas trees to be given out in an opportunity drawing.  Attended by about 300 people, the night will also feature a scrumptious, four-course dinner and both a silent and live auction.   Last year, the event raised approximately $15,000 for the Kern County Firefighters’ Muster Association that helps burn victims and their families. 

For more information, please call Tom Xavier at 661-204-7799 or visit www.kernenchantedforest.com. ;

Photos with Santa

What better way to celebrate the season than to capture your children’s excitement in a photo when they visit Santa?  You can find St. Nick spreading Christmas cheer at many local places where professional photographers are waiting to preserve this sentimental moment.  

The Marketplace will offer a free photo with Santa with a $25.00 minimum Marketplace purchase on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Valley Plaza Mall will also have Santa available for photos through Christmas Eve from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Mondays-Saturdays and 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.  

For a more personal photo shoot, you can find Santa at Photography by Silvia’s studio on December 7 and 8 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 1412 17th Street (inside the Haberfelde Building).  Call her to make your reservation at 661-327-7373.  Packages start at $20.00.  

Dustin’s Diner 

Started in 1993, the annual holiday tradition of Dustin’s Diner continues to raise funds for the Bakersfield Homeless Center.  Located at 2301 Haggin Oaks Boulevard, volunteers sell cookies, hot chocolate, and hot cider to families touring the holiday lights and decorations of this well-known neighborhood.  You can find elves and even Santa helping out each night at 6:00 p.m. from December 13th to December 23rd.    

Last year, the event helped raise more than $19,000 for this worthy cause and since its inception has raised nearly $200,000 total.  Dustin’s Diner is the brainchild of brothers Dustin and David Kilpatrick, who were nine and 11 at the time.  Although the brothers now live in Southern California, the tradition continues thanks to their neighborhood’s friends and families.  For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/pages/dustins-diner.

36th Annual Nutcracker Ballet

Enjoy this timeless classic Christmas story as the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra teams up with the Civic Dance Center to perform Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet.  Celebrating the 36th anniversary of their collaboration, you can watch this magical tale on Friday night December 13, two shows on December 14, and a final show on December 15 at Rabobank Theater.  Tickets start at $34.00.   

Under the direction of John Farrer, the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra brings the music to life while dancers of all ages in beautiful costumes unfold this classic Christmas tale that was first performed in 1892.  This performance continues to be a Bakersfield favorite and makes an excellent holiday tradition for audience members young and old.  

For more information, please visit www.bsonow.org or www.civicdancecenter.com. ;  

Holiday Lights Bike Ride 

Experience the sights and sounds of Haggin Oaks’ holiday décor in a whole new way this year – from your bike.  Bike Bakersfield’s annual Haggin Oaks Holiday Lights Ride on December 17th at 7:00 p.m. gives participants a different way to look at this festive neighborhood.  Meet at the southwest corner of Ming Avenue and Haggin Oaks Drive for a casual ride for participants of all abilities. 

Jason Carter, executive director of Bike Bakersfield, encourages riders to dress in holiday attire and decorate their bikes.  And, he says to always remember safety guidelines of wearing a helmet, having reflective gear, and a light on both front and back of your bike.  For more information, please visit www.bikebakersfield.org.


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