Although holiday fervor and festivities have been underway for a week or more on the North Coast, the official downtown launch of the season is Hospitality Night on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Thats when Cambria merchants stay open late, offer free food and beverages, discounts and/or entertainment in their light-bedecked, fully decorated shops all along Main Street, Burton Drive and some side streets.
The Cambria Trolley will offer rides from 5 to 8:30 p.m., shuttling people from one end of downtown to the other and back, so they dont have to fight traffic and find parking spaces more than once.
At 5:30 p.m., a tree-lighting will be held in front of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, 767 Main St., with the Town Criers and Santa Claus. Hell settle down in front of Carens Corner, 755 Main St, for photo ops and to receive gift wishes.
Also at 5:30 p.m., the Santa Lucia Middle School is to perform at the Cambria Historical Museum (Burton Drive and Center Street).
At 6 p.m., lights are to be lit on the stately Port Orford cedar at the Cambria Historical Museum, and Santa is to arrive by fire engine. Sons of the American Legion Post No. 432 is to serve free hot dogs and hot chocolate at the corner of Burton Drive and Main Street.
At the same time, the Cambria Chorale is to sing at the Joslyn Center, 950 Main St.
Photos with Santa will be taken at the museum and Carens Corner.
The festively decorated Christmas Marketplace also is to be open on Hospitality Night. The holiday display and sales area stretches along a pathway between the Cambria Pines Lodge and Cambria Nursery. Santa Claus visits from 6 to 8 p.m. Hospitality Night and each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23.
Other holiday fun
Hospitality Night also heralds future holiday fun on the North Coast, including music, parties and other events:
Cambria Farmers Market hosts a Christmas Party from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St., with homemade Christmas cookies and mulled cider; special homemade Christmas decorations and stocking stuffers are available.
Holiday Home Tour is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Visit Cambria homes in ocean and hillside settings; event benefits Allied Arts Association of Cambria. $22. 927-1858.
The Lions Club hosts its annual free Children's Christmas Program from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Theres free food, games, toys and, of course, Santa Claus, at the Pinedorado Grounds, 1001 Main St. 927-3202.
Strings in the Chapel Christmas concert takes center stage at 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 8, at Old Santa Rosa Chapel, 2353 Main St. $15 donation, tax-deductible. Featured artists include Brynn Albanese, Jude Johnstone, Jill Poulos and others. Seating is limited to about 90 people, and attendees are advised to bring flashlights, dress warmly and wear flat-heeled shoes. Tickets at Lilys Coffee House and Cambria chamber, or call 927-5212.
Local rancher and author Debbie Fiscalini Soto reads aloud to children from her new book Christmas Eve at Bethany, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in the Cambria Historical Museum, corner of Burton Drive and Center Street. The book includes her memories of an old-fashioned Christmas. Reading is free; books are $19.95. 927-2891.
Cambria Chorales annual Christmas concerts are at 3 p.m. Sundays Dec. 9 and 16 at the Cambria Presbyterian Church, 2250 Yorkshire Drive. Tickets, $15, at Chamber of Commerce, 787 Main St.; Joslyn Recreation Center, 950 Main St.; and at the door. 927-2989.