This Week: Holiday attractions launch this week

In the next few days, Old Sacramento will launch its popular holiday attractions – including a nightly show of lights, storytelling and music and its sold-out “Polar Express” excursion train rides.

First comes the lighting of the city Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Front and K streets. A team of volunteers has been decorating the 58-foot-tall tree with more than 50,000 lights since its arrival on Nov. 7.

The tree lighting is free to the public and serves as the launch of the city’s fifth annual “Theater of Lights,” a multimedia light and sound show in which an actor playing Mark Twain reads stories from the city’s 19th-century history and recites “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore. The shows are free and run Thursday through Sunday until New Year’s Eve. For more information, see oldsacramento.com.

The Polar Express will start taking children on their journey to the North Pole on Friday. Rides along the Sacramento River levee will continue until Dec. 22. If you missed snagging tickets for this much-loved attraction, it’s not too early to think about next year. This year, tickets went on sale to the public Oct. 1, but railroad museum members could buy them in late September.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga


Hmong host New Year celebration at Cal Expo

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah aren’t the only holidays being celebrated this week. The Sacramento region’s 26,000 Hmong are commemorating their New Year with four days of festivities at Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. Performers, dancers and musical acts – many sporting traditional garb – are scheduled to appear from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the fairgrounds. Food vendors serving up traditional Hmong dishes also will be on hand. Admission is $4, though children under 5 and seniors over 65 get in free.

Behind the news: The event is sponsored by the nonprofit Sacramento Hmong New Year Inc., an organization founded in 2004 by the 18 Hmong clans constituting Sacramento’s Hmong community. The group’s goals include the preservation of Hmong culture among future generations, promoting higher education, business and leadership in the Hmong community and establishing a positive relationship among the 18 clans.

Info: www.sacramentohmongnewyear.com

Placer SPCA offers Black Friday pet adoptions

Crowds will be swarming Roseville’s Westfield Galleria the day after Thanksgiving, but savvy shoppers know the real deals are at the Companion Animal Care Center, 150 Corporation Yard Road in Roseville, where the Placer SPCA is holding a 14-hour day of Black Friday adoption specials on cats and dogs and other critters. The SPCA’s staff and volunteers will help families select a pet that best suits their home and lifestyle.

Behind the news: The SPCA’s Black Friday specials begin with early-bird “doorbuster” deals at 4 a.m. That’s when the first 10 adoptions are free and fees are cheapest – $5 for cats and $15 for dogs. But the sales go until 6 p.m., when cats are available for $15 and dogs for $45.

Info: www.placerspca.org/blackfriday or call (916)782-7722, ext. 102.

Around Town

Spend Thanksgiving eve at Fremont Presbyterian

Fremont Presbyterian Church invites the community to a Thanksgiving eve service of gratitude at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The event at 5770 Carlson Drive in Sacramento includes traditional and contemporary songs, children’s and youth choirs, hand chimes and bells and a story of giving thanks.

Info: www.fremontpres.org

Get into Fairytale Town free with food donation

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fairytale Town is offering free admission to families who bring a canned food donation to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. The day includes free arts and crafts. The Puppet Art Theater Company will present “Little Red’s Holiday Adventure,” which tells the tale of Little Red Riding Hood with a holiday theme at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the Children’s Theater. Tickets for the puppet show are $1 for Fairytale Town members and $2 for nonmembers.

Info: www.fairytaletown.org or call (916)808-7462

Cheese is the main course in ‘Happy Hour’ class

In a class titled “Happy Hour: Cheese Course,” the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op’s cheese expert, Lori Friedli, discusses the four basic cheese categories – along with samples of each – and ways to present them to their best advantage. The demonstration-style cooking class at 1914 Alhambra Blvd. in Sacramento starts at 6 p.m. today. The course is $18 for co-op owners and $22 for non-owners.

Info: www.sacfoodcoop.com

Native artisans offer museum craft sale

Native artisans from throughout California offer up their crafts for sale each year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Jewelry, basketry, pottery, hand-painted gourds, ornaments and more are available at the State Indian Museum, 2618 K St. in Sacramento, for purchase. Regular museum admission fees apply: $3 for adults; $2 for children ages 6 to 17; free to children under 5.

Info: Call (916)324-0971 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/indianmuseum

Voice students at Sac City College offer free concert

Students of Sacramento City College’s advanced voice class are presenting a recital of solo works and art songs. Today’s 7:30 p.m. concert, to be held in the Choir/Recital Hall is free and open to the public. Sacramento City College is at 3835 Freeport Blvd.

Info: Call (916) 558-2111