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