Escapes: Celebrate a Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley


Cornish Christmas

If you long for a traditional Christmas in Cornwall, England, you might find the next best thing in nearby Grass Valley.

For the 46th year, experience a Cornish Christmas from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday before Dec. 25. The historic downtown’s shops, restaurants and wine-tasting rooms will stay open late for the occasion, and vendors will be dressed up in old-fashioned Cornish attire. Stop by any of the four stages to see festive live performances, including the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir on the Union Steps at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Mill and West Main streets will be closed to traffic. Call (530) 272-8315 for more information or parking advice, or visit


Exploratorium’s new experiment

What: The weekend-long grand opening for San Francisco’s Exploratorium’s outpost Helix, a new community science center with 25 exhibits, kicks off on Friday. Helix will engage with local groups to develop all-ages talks, workshops and other programs in the 5,000-square-foot space.

When: Grand opening, 10 a.m. Friday. Normal hours: 9 a.m.-

4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 1-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Where: 316 State St.,

Los Altos

Cost: Pay what you wish



Gourmet celebrations

What: Head to the Marin Country Mart and Farmers Market for an array of edible goodies: baked goods, artisan cheeses, organic produce, jams, confections, pomegranate champagne cocktails and Marin Brewing Co.’s Hoppy Hollidaze beer. Don’t forget the family-friendly activities, including holiday cookie decorating, pony rides, face painting and photos with Santa.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Marin Country Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur

Cost: Free



Holiday parade

What: Watch a small-town Christmas parade with local bands, dancers and Santa. Meanwhile, more than 60 vendors will be at the neighboring Holiday Market.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Where: First and D streets,




Christmas on a ranch

What: How did Californians celebrate the holidays in the early 20th century? Historical demonstrations, tours, carriage rides and wreath-making should give you insight.

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


Where: Wilder State Park, Highway 1, Santa Cruz

Cost: Free




What: Unleash your inner actor at Berkeley Rep’s quarterly Summer Sampler. No registration or experience is necessary. Classes are taught by professional theater artists.

When: 1 p.m. next Sunday

Where: Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, 2025 Addison St.

Cost: Free


— Janelle Bitker