Holiday season in Monterey County is sure to be merry and bright following over a year of canceled social events due to the pandemic.
During Thursday’s Holiday Parade of Lights in Pacific Grove, locals and visitors enjoyed dazzling holiday lights while listening to a marching band outfitted in bright red uniforms.
"The light parade is a small town treasure," a Pacific Grove resident Jon Driscoll saidI love how the whole community gets involved and you can feel the holiday cheer.
"My favorite part is watching my kids run around with excitement waving to kids and teachers they know in the parade, you can feel the energy and it brings back memories of being a child and believing in the magic of Christmas," he added. "Now as a parent we realize that the magic of Christmas is our community. If you ask Hayden what his favorite part of the parade was I’m sure it would be the candy canes."
This year, the Monterey County CVB’s Christmas event guide is a list of family friendly holiday events happening you won’t want to miss.
Here are the upcoming events from the guide:
When: Weekends during December 3-19 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey
Create memories at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf with festive holiday music and carols, spectacular holiday lights and decorations including giant holiday-lighted sea animals, meet-and-greet Santa visits with photos, and so much more.
When: December 3-5 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Sunset Center in Carmel
The Monterey Peninsula Ballet Theatre of over 90 dancers is proud to perform the timeless ballet The Nutcracker. To purchase tickets, go to sunsetcenter.org. A portion of the proceeds from performances go to supporting local children in the arts.
When: December 4 from 10:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Caledonia Park in Pacific Grove
Enjoy games and activities, holiday music, refreshments, petting zoo, carriage and fire truck rides and Santa Claus in beautiful Pacific Grove!
Gingerbread Decorating Fundraiser
When: December 4
Where: Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel
Frost and decorate gingerbread cookies to your heart’s content at the Hofsas House Hotel to raise money for the Carmel Public Library.
“Brighten Your Harbor” Lighted Boat Parade
When: December 5 at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey
Whether you are dining at one of the many restaurants on the wharf, shopping or simply taking a stroll, the boat parade is a fantastic sight. Enjoy an even better view with Princess Monterey Whale Watch and Discovery Whale Watch.
When: December 10-11 from 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Monterey
Listen to the history of Monterey’s earliest buildings at the 37th Annual Christmas in the Adobes. This evening walking tour of over a dozen historic adobes decorated for the holidays is accompanied by festive music.
To purchase tickets, click here.
"With the pandemic, many events were postponed last year, making this year’s offerings extra special," said Rachel Dinbokowitz, public relations manager with the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "To see the return of so many favorite holiday celebrations – like Christmas at the Adobes where you can get a rare glimpse of several of our historic adobes decked out for the holidays – is really special. People are ready to get back to their traditions and celebrate the season, and Monterey County is offering a lot of joyful events to make new memories."
1st Annual Christmas in Closter Park
When: December 11-12 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Closter Park in Salinas
The park opens at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday but the Christmas in Closter Park programming won't start till 5 p.m. on both days. The address is 401 Towt St., The event will feature pictures with Santa, Christmas Displays, giveaways, live performances, arts & crafts, real snow, and Christmas Tree giveaways.
The Cesar Chávez Futbol Academy (CCFA) will host their 8th annual toy drive at the Alisal Family Resource Center. The event will provide gifts for students in need.
To donate please call (831) 272-4114 or check out their online registry at Target to send gifts for the kids.
You can also donate directly online to the CCFS by clicking here.
All donations will be provided to the Alisal Union School District's Alisal Family Resource Center and will only be provided to students enrolled in the Migrant Education, Special Education, Foster Youth and the McKinney Venmo support programs.
The address where the event will be held is 1441 Del Monte Ave. Salinas, CA, 93905.
When: December 24-25
Where: Grasing’s Restaurant in Carmel
Celebrate Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with the Restaurant Prix Fixe Dinner or Cioppino Dinner To-Go. The dine-in option includes decadent options such as herb roasted turkey, Kurobuta pork loin, wild mushroom ravioli, and bourbon bread pudding.
Call (831) 624-6562 to make reservations.
"Last year schools were still shut down and almost all celebrations were canceled due to Covid," Driscoll said. "It was refreshing to have a sense of normalcy back this year with the parade. It is encouraging to see and interact with families and the community and it brings hope to the future."
David Rodriguez is the education reporter and staff photographer for The Salinas Californian. For any tips or story ideas you can email him at email@example.com. Subscribe to support local journalism.
This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Here’s a guide to Christmas events in Monterey County this month