As trees covered in lights materialize in windows and visions of sugarplums dance in children’s heads (do they still do that?), visions of cows and chickens now dance in the breeze over downtown Petaluma, thanks to the City’s peculiarly butter-and-eggs approach to holiday decorating. Taken together, it means that there is excitement and activity and festive good-feeling to be found all around town, if you look for it. To help out, here’s the Argus-Courier’s round-up of events and activities, concerts, shows and fundraisers, all taking place in and around Petaluma.
Happy Holidays to all of our readers.
COMMUNITY EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS
HOLIDAY SPICES DEMONSTRATION WITH THE SONOMA SPICE QUEEN
Saturday, Dec. 9, 10:30 a.m.
Drop by the Petaluma Library for a seasonally directed cooking demo featuring a nose-gladdening array of spices from around the world. Enjoy samples of festive holiday foods, and take some spices home with you to better season your own holiday, um, season. Petaluma Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive.
LIGHTED BOAT PARADE
Saturday, Dec. 9, 6:15 p.m.
It’s one of Petaluma’s most magical annual events. Just after dusk, when the Petaluma River is good and dark, a parade of specially decorated boats — from yachts and inflatable rafts to rowboats and kayaks — will make their way up past the drawbridge and into the turning basin. Bundle up, and prepare to take some amazing pictures, because you never know quite what’s going to sail, steam, paddle and float into magical, memorable view.
CHANUKAH AT THE RIVER
Sunday, Dec. 17, 4:30–6 p.m.
Presented by Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma, the third annual Chanukah at the River celebration will include a dazzling array of festivities, including fire juggling and a live “escape-act,” plus face painting, music, crafts, raffles, the serving of latkes, jelly donuts, and chocolate coins, a photo-op with a life-sized dreidel, and the main event: the lighting on nine-foot-high Mega Menorah. The Water Street Promenade, 100 Petaluma Blvd. N. Free, with RSVP to JewishPetaluma.com/river or by calling (707) 559-8585.
PENNGROVE HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS
Sunday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m.
Penngrove’s Main Street will be aglow with beautiful light, as the second annual Parade of Lights turns the tiny town into a magical wonderland. You’ll see glammed-up tractors and farm vehicles covered in Christmas lights, and much more. The idea was brought to light (literally!) by JavAmore Café’s Kim Hanson, who also produces Pengrove’s annual 4th of July Parade. The parade begins in Pengrove Park, and moves on up through Main St.
AQUS HOLIDAY CAROLING PARTY
Saturday, Dec. 23, 5:30- 7 p.m.
Bring a candle, a drum, some jingle bells, a fancy hat, and maybe a flashlight, and be prepared to sing some Christmas carols and other holiday songs. Dress warmly, meet at the Petaluma Museum (20 Fourth St.), and be prepared to carol at various locations throughout the downtown area. Sheet music will be provided. Want to sing but prefer not to walk? Meet the carolers when they are done at 7 p.m. at Aqus Café (the sponsor of this event), for more singing, festive drinks and holiday merriment. The party will continue at the Aqus till 9:30 p.m. No charge, and all ages welcome.
WALNUT PARK CHRISTMAS CAROL GATHERING
Saturday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.
For the second year, the First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma will host its community Christmas Carol Sing at Walnut Park, corner of D St. and Petaluma Blvd. S. Accompanied by instrumentalists from the church, the hour-long event is a chance for the community to gather in song and a spirit of mutual love and support. Song sheets will be provided. A flashlight is suggested.
CRAFT FAIRS & ART SHOWS
WINTER CRAFT FAIR
Thursday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m
This showcase of holiday gifts, handmade wares and more is a benefit for the Live Oak Charter School and the Petaluma Education Foundation, at Live Oak Charter School, 100 Gnoss Concourse, Building 1, at the Fairgrounds.
SMALL WORKS HOLIDAY SHOW AT AQUS CAFE
Saturday, Dec. 9, 3-5 p.m.
Aqus Café presents its annual group art show of remarkable and lovely small works — no bigger than seven inches by seven inches — displayed through the holidays, most available for purchase. After the opening reception at the café, runs through February. Aqus Café at the Foundry Wharf, 189 H St.
PETALUMA ARTS ASSOCIATION HOLIDAY CRAFT SHOW
Saturday, Dec. 9 and Sunday Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Petaluma’s annual Holiday Arts and Craft Sale is a massive marketplace showcasing room after room of artists, crafters and creators of cool holiday-themed items, gifts and artworks. The annual event, sponsored by the Petaluma Arts Association, unfolds at the Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park.
ZUMBA FOR CHRISTMAS CHEER
Saturday, Dec. 9, 9–10 a.m.
For the seventh year in a row, the Zumba For Christmas Cheer event will raise the roof of the Sonoma Mountain Charter School (1900 Rainer Circle), with local Zumba instructors leading a high-energy hour-long dance party for a good cause. Your $5 (minimum) donation goes to Christmas Cheer, the local charity group raising funds to give food, toys, clothes and other items to families in need. Attendees can also bring canned goods and new, unwrapped children’s toys. A raffle for great prizes will be part of the fun.
LILY’S LEGACY LUMINARIA CELEBRATION
Sunday, Dec. 10
A beloved local sanctuary for senior dogs, Lily’s Legacy presents the Third Annual Holiday Luminaria Festival on Dec. 10th. Those who’ve lost cherished pets are invited to sponsor a specially-designed custom-made luminary, for a donation of $20. All of the luminaria — traditional Mexican Christmas lanterns made from a decorated paper bag light from within by a votive candle — will be created in the donor’s pet’s name, and placed around the around the spacious Lily’s Legacy sanctuary gardens. Though the lighting ceremony is not open to the public, the event will be professionally videotaped, and donors will receive a link to the video. To donate a luminary, email your pet’s name to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a check for at least $20, or use a credit card via lilyslegacy.org.
CINNABAR HOLIDAY CRAB FEED
Monday, Dec. 11, 5:30-8 p.m.
Cinnabar Theater, ever skillful at putting on a good show, brings a splash of theatricality to its annual seasonal seafood bacchanal, a celebration of conspicuous crustacean consumption, held in a vast, heated tent in the beer garden at Lagunitas Brewing Company, 1280 North McDowell Blvd. Along with the piles of steaming crab are loads of tantalizing side-dishes, plus beer and wine for purchase in the taproom. An array of delightfully decorated Hanukah and Christmas stockings, filled with perfectly pleasing surprises. Tickets $55. Must reserve space by 4 p.m. Dec. 10. CinnabarTheater.com.
CHRISTMAS JUG BAND
Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
The famed Christmas Jug Band comes back to Petaluma’s Big Easy Jazz Club for not one, but two big nights of high-octane, super silly, impressively musical and mightily merry Americana-blues-root magic and mayhem. Reservations recommended. The Big Easy, 128 American Alley. BigEasyPetaluma.com.
PETALUMA READER’S THEATER: TWO CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
Friday, Dec. 15. And Saturday Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Now a Petaluma holiday tradition, Petaluma Reader’s Theater brings to life Dylan Thomas’s beloved prose-poem “A Child’s Christmas in Wales’ and Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory.” Featuring the readerly skills of Dillon Siedntopf, Rob Neidel, Maureen Struder, and Jennifer March. Petaluma Historical Library and Museum, 20 Fourth Street. $12 tickets. PetalumaMuseum.com.
DAVID ARKENSTONE’S WINTER FANTASY
Friday, Dec. 22. 8 p.m.
The acclaimed ‘World of Warcraft’ composer brings a musical celebration of the season to the Mystic Theater, 21 Petaluma Blvd. N. With an array of world-class musicians, performing on a set that evokes a wintry sense of holiday magic, Arkenstone will perform classic Solstice and Christmas tunes from around the world. A special V.I.P. package is being offered for this show, with premium seating, pre-concert sound check and meet-and-greet, an autographed CD, and more. General seating $25. VIP experience $50. MysticTheatre.com.
P-BUTTA CHRISTMAS QUARTET
Saturday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.
Featuring local heavies from bands like Groundation and more, this amazing ensemble is going to blow the roof off the Big Easy, Happy Holiday style. The Big Easy, 127 American Alley. BigEasyPetaluma.com.
9th ANNUAL NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA CONCERT
Sunday, Dec. 31, 6-8 p.m.
Sponsored by Sky Hill Cultural Alliance, this popular annual New Year’s Eve concert — at the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum — features music of the great classical masters performed live by string players from the San Francisco Symphony, and pianist Elizabeth Walter. Wine and cheese will be served as part of the $40-$60 ticket price. Balcony seating, with “elite beverage service” is available. This event sells out, so advance purchase is recommended. Petalumamuseum.com.
CINNABAR NEW YEAR’S EVE ‘FRANK SINATRA’ SHOW
Sunday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.- midnight
Cinnabar Theater’s annual New Year’s Eve party is one of the season’s best-loved (and frequently sold-out) end-of-year events. The festivities include snacks and drinks, a performance of ‘My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra,’ plus New Year’s party favors and a grand champagne toast as attendees say farewell to 2017 and hello to 2018. General admission $69 in advance/$75 at the door; Seniors (62 and older) $66 in advance/$75 at the door; 18-30-years-old $61 in advance/$65 at the door; Under 18-years-old $56 in advance/$60 at the door.
TOMMY CASTRO AND THE PAINKILLERS
Sunday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m.- midnight
The Mystic Theatre celebrates New Year’s Eve with a roof-raising rock-show featuring the blues-soul-rock-and-roll of Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, joined by local favorites Nancy Wright, and the Highway Poets. Doors open at 8 p.m. $42-$62. 21 Petaluma Blvd. N. MysticTheatre.com.