For those feeling a bit like Mr. Scrooge or the Grinch, it might be high-time you checked out one of the many Christmas festivals in the High Sierra. These get-togethers are a great way to put you in the right cheer for the upcoming holidays. Heck, since the 1880’s, Christmas parades have been used as a way to kick off the season the right way. So, don’t let yourself be grumpy and instead warm up that heart!
In its 74th edition, the Candy Cane Lane Parade in downtown Visalia is a long-standing tradition that nearly 10,000 people come to see annually. Held the Monday after Thanksgiving, this parade is filled with all the sights and sounds of Christmas. Featuring dancing, music, holiday characters, and of course, the man himself SANTA. Starting at 7 p.m., the route follows a 1.5-mile stretch west down Main Street, from Liberty to as far as Conyer streets and lasts approximately two and a half hours. Not enough? Here’s a few more ways to celebrate the Holidays in Visalia.
Sounds of Christmas will fill the air in the 35th annual downtown Sonora Christmas Parade. A perfect combination of a charming small-town holiday event that incorporates residents of all ages in a beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills setting. Filled with bright lights, floats, antique cars, and sounds of the holidays from marching bands, it will transport you to the feeling of hometown Main Street holiday parades from 100 years ago. Always the first Friday after Thanksgiving it starts promptly at 5:30 p.m., rain or shine.
Head back in time to medieval England and experience Christmas how it was in the 1820’s. The Bracebridge Dinner at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel has been celebrated since 1927. Inspired by Washington Irving’s 1820 tale, The Sketch Book, it’s all about Christmas Day at Bracebridge Hall. These dinners feature over a hundred cast members that portray the Squire and his family, their servants, the Lord of Misrule and minstrels. This well-kept secret occurs only in December and is a highly entertaining three hour long multi-course dining experience that should be on your bucket list.
Mammoth doesn’t do anything small from the amount of snowfall they receive to the largest mountain bike park on the West Coast. Everything is… BIG! Their annual kickoff celebration to the holiday season fits that to a tee. Combining the magic of snow with a winter lights show featuring music, fireworks and fun activities, it’s all set against the majestic backdrop of Mammoth ‘s ski slopes. Once you see this extravaganza, you won’t soon forget it.
So you see, you don’t need to wait for the holidays to start having fun. From parades to yule-tide traditions and everything in between, there’s A LOT to do when it comes to Christmas festivals in the High Sierra.