This Week: Free downtown parking on nights, weekends

Shoppers and diners in downtown Sacramento will get a reprieve from feeding parking meters this month.

For the 17th year, the city is trying to lure people downtown by offering free parking on the weekends and weekday evenings. The free parking zone extends from I to L streets and from Front to 29th. The no-fee policy is in place every weekend through Dec. 22 and weekdays after 4:30 p.m. through Christmas. Time limits and other parking restrictions still apply.

The free parking arrives just in time for the Twelve Days of Midtown, a series of events that kicked off Sunday and lasts until Dec. 12. Highlights include a hot toddy competition at the Golden Bear restaurant and bar, a series of holiday concerts by the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus and a Holiday Makers Mart of handcrafted gifts at Bows and Arrows, 1815 19th St.

Today the Midtown Business Association and Girls on the Grid will sponsor a happy-hour toy drive from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 58 Degrees & Holding Co., 1217 18th St., to benefit WEAVE. See www.exploremidtown.org for more information on these and other holiday events.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga


Downtown Plaza ice rink offers Disney theme night

Sure, it’ll cost you $8 to go ice skating at the Downtown Plaza’s rink at St. Rose of Lima Park at Seventh and K streets in Sacramento, but did you know there are ways to keep the costs down? Take Thursday’s Disney-themed skate night, for example. People who come dressed in theme – Mickey Mouse ears, Disney or superhero apparel – get a free skate rental, which is usually an extra $2. DJ Shaun Slaughter is spinning holiday music and other tunes that evening. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m.

Behind the news: The rink’s manager, the Sacramento Downtown Partnership, is offering a theme night every Thursday until the rink is closed for the year on Jan. 20. So if you like tie dye, ugly sweaters, neon or ’80s prom attire, you’re in luck. Check out the schedule along with other promotional days on the website listed below.

Info: downtownsac.org/events/ice-rink

‘I Got First Dibs’ auction to benefit arts groups

David Sobon Auctions is joining forces with Fringe, the vintage furniture, art and clothing company at 21st and X streets in midtown, to stage a two-day auction of mid-century modern furniture and collectibles to benefit the Arts and Business Council of Sacramento. The “I Got First Dibs” event is billed as the largest auction of its kind in Sacramento, featuring items from Fringe and the estate of collector John Conaty, who died in 2009.

Behind the news: The Arts and Business Council will receive proceeds from 10 specially selected pieces from the collection. The auction starts Friday with a “preview party” from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for VIPs ($50 admission) and from 7 to 10 p.m. to the general public ($10 admission) at The Merchant, 1425 C St. in Sacramento. An all-day live auction takes place Saturday with bidding from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Items may be previewed starting at 7 a.m. There is no admission charge on Saturday.

Info: firstdibsauctions.com

Around Town

Chabad to light menorah at Roseville galleria

Chabad of Placer County will light a 9-foot menorah at the Westfield Galleria’s outdoor promenade at 6 p.m. today as part of a community-wide celebration of the sixth night of Hanukkah. Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan and other local dignitaries will be on hand for the festivities, which include music, latkes, jelly doughnuts and crafts. Roseville’s menorah is one of thousands of large public menorahs Chabad is sponsoring throughout the world to promote religious freedom.

Info: www.jewishroseville.com

Health fair returns to Mexican consulate

The Mexican Consulate in Sacramento is hosting another in its series of free health fairs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at 2093 Arena Blvd. Participants can get flu shots, HIV tests (no needles, results in 20 minutes), dental screenings and checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels. Information on blood and organ donations is also available.

Info: Call the consulate’s “Health Window” at (916)329-3502

Library offers practice on college admissions tests

The Carmichael branch of the Sacramento Public Library is offering free mock tests and strategy sessions with experts on the SAT, PSAT or ACT college admissions exams. Students can take the exams under the same testing conditions they’ll experience when taking the real test. The session starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi Ave.

Info: (916)264-2920

Camellia flute choir performs holiday concert

The Camellia City Flute Choir will perform a concert of holiday favorites and classical works at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N St., at noon Wednesday under the direction of Martin Melicharek. The church has hosted noon concerts of various genres – Broadway, opera, folk, pop, etc. – since 2002. All concerts are free, but donations to the artists are appreciated.

Info: (916)442-8939

Library class teaches you how to use Craigslist

The Sacramento Central Library is hosting a free class on how to use Craigslist, the online classified advertising website. You will learn to browse the site to find items you want, as well as how to respond to ads and post your own. The class will include information on safety techniques on the Web and avoiding fraud. The class takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday in the technology lab on the third floor of the library, 828 I St., Sacramento. Registration is required to attend.

Info: (916)264-2920

‘Walk With a Doc’ around Southside Park

Residents of Southside Park and others can take a morning stroll with Dr. Vanessa McGowan, a UC Davis physical medicine and rehabilitation fellow, on Saturday. The free event is part of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society’s “Walk With a Doc” program. Participants will make two loops around Southside Park at Sixth and T streets, about 1.5 miles. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. The walk starts at 9 a.m.

Info: ssvms.org/events