Old Sacramento kicks off ‘Theatre of Lights’

For the eighth straight year, Old Sacramento is offering what’s become a mainstay of local holiday traditions with the “Macy’s Theatre of Lights” production.

Wednesday night, hundreds of lights on a soaring evergreen blinked to life for the first time this holiday season at Front and K Streets in Old Sacramento.

The annual production features a reading of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas”) with twists that incorporate the villain Jack Frost and pieces of Sacramento history.

As the sun went down, the Capital Cheer Elite squad performed jumps, tumbles and flips for the crowd, letting audience members come up and give them instructions. One little girl wanted to see a million flips, so three women lined up and flipped down K Street.

“We just wanted to start getting our faces out here,” said squad captain Alysha Dorris, 21. “We like to entertain people and cheer for charity.”

The squad raises money for a different charitable cause each year. The acrobatics were followed by a performance from the Salvation Army Band and the Sacramento City College Choir, whose members encouraged the audience to sing carols along with them.

Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg, City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, County Supervisor Phil Serna, Old Sacramento District Director Brooksie Hughes and Umpqua Bank executive Bill Badham were on hand.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, a 60-foot-tall holiday tree was lit. Then the crowd moved off the boardwalk to watch the first “Theatre of Lights” performance, which took place on balconies overlooking K Street. The street was decked out in lights that changed from blue to green and red as Santa prevailed during the production.

The annual event has become a tradition for local families. Sherry Toris watched the show with her son and daughter-in-law. She said her family comes almost every year.

“It’s a sweet little thing for the family to do,” said Toris, 49. “It’s joyful.”

After going dark on Thanksgiving, performances resume Friday at 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. They will continue Thursdays through Sundays until one final performance at 6:15 on Christmas Eve.

The city will begin offering free holiday street parking in Old Sacramento and select downtown streets Friday after 4:30 p.m. The program provides free parking weekdays after 4:30 p.m. and all day on weekends through Christmas.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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