Santa’s elves have been bustlingly busy in Cambria recently, preparing for the annual free Hospitality Night open house downtown (Thursday, Dec. 1), wrapping up deliveries and stats on the Nov. 29 Festival of Trees auction of decorated trees and holiday decor, and getting ready for a host of upcoming holiday events.
Hospitality Night strollers will find many shops and sites open from 5 to 8 p.m. Free food and beverages, sales and discounts may be offered, depending on the site. The event is coordinated by the Cambria Chamber of Commerce.
Among the night’s attractions are:
▪ 5 to 8 p.m., free Cambria Trolley service all along downtown Main Street, to and from both village areas.
▪ 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Coast Union ASB Carolers, starting at 5 p.m. at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce office, 767 Main St., but wandering throughout both villages.
▪ 5:30 p.m., Town Criers open the evening at the chamber, 767 Main St., West Village.
▪ 5:30 p.m., Dancers by the Sea’s flash mob will dance at Arlington and Main, West Village.
▪ 5:50 to 6 p.m., Dancers by the Sea’s flash mob will dance at The Real Estate Co. of Cambria, 2080 Main.
▪ 6 p.m., holiday tree lighting at the Cambria Historical Society museum, Burton Drive at Center Street.
▪ 6 to 8 p.m., there’ll be photo ops with Santa, who is to arrive by Cambria Fire Department fire engine. Live music by Ron Perry. (A previously announced booth that has historically offered free hot dogs-and-cocoa at Burton and Main Street won’t be there this year, according to a Cambria Chamber of Commerce spokesperson.)
▪ 6 p.m., Cambria Chorale will sing for the season, Joslyn Recreation Center, 950 Main St.
▪ 6 to 9 p.m., Scrooge will be performing on the balcony at Cambria Pub & Steakhouse, 4090 Burton Drive.
▪ 6:15 to 6:30 p.m., Dancers by the Sea’s flash mob will dance at Robin’s Restaurant, 4095 Burton Drive.
A free photo booth will be set up inside the The Love Story Project, 734 Main St., but the Airstream trailer photo booth won’t be there for Hospitality Night because of a scheduling conflict.
Other holiday events in Cambria include:
▪ Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lions Club Children’s Christmas Party. The free, gleefully anticipated annual celebration for youngsters is held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. and Pinedorado Grounds next door. The event includes games, clowns, stockings, gifts and Santa Claus. If it rains, most of the events would move inside the vets hall. For details, call 805-927-3366.
▪ Saturday, Dec. 10, a “songs of the season” songfest at Fog’s End Barn, 2735 Main St. Tickets, $20, benefits the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Event includes holiday music, food, wine and other beverages and a raffle/auction. Details, call 805-927-2856.
▪ Saturdays, Dec. 11 and 18, Cambria Chorale Concerts at 2 p.m. at Cambria Community Presbyterian Church, 2250 Yorkshire Drive. Tickets, $16 (students are admitted for free), are available at the Joslyn Center, Cambria Chamber of Commerce, from members of the chorale or at the door on the day of the event. For details, go to http://bit.ly/2fNXR9C or email Leonard Kohout at email@example.com.
▪ Fridays, Saturdays (7:30 p.m.) and Sundays (3 p.m.) through Friday, Dec. 30, the interactive musical “Clue,” at the Pewter Plough Playhouse. Tickets, $25. For reservations, call 805-927-3877 or go to www.pewterploughplayhouse.org.
▪ Two sold-out concerts Dec. 4 at the Old Santa Rosa Chapel.
▪ Various art shows, art walks, nature walks, holiday boutique shows, lighthouse tours. For details, go to www.cambriachamber.org/dec.php.
According to George Marschall, coordinator of the Christmas Market at the Cambria Pines Lodge and Cambria Nursery, attendance was up on the first night of the post-Thanksgiving Day weekend (Friday, Nov. 25), but down slightly for the next two nights, probably because of the weather.
“It was cold and raining,” he said.
While the organizers are urging people to buy tickets online, Marschall said plenty of tickets will be available at the gate.
“A lot of people are still intimidated by the internet, and I want them to see the festival.”
The festival is open Wednesdays through Sundays through Dec. 23, and for the entire week before Christmas. There are thousands of holiday lights, many dioramas and displays, vendors, music and Santa Claus in a booth that raises funds for Cambria’s Homeless Animal Rescue Team. Parking is offsite, and attendees are shuttled to the marketplace. Tickets prices vary, depending on the night, and are available online at www.cambriachristmasmarket.com.
While traffic was heavy that first night, Marschall said things should settle down for most of the rest of the festival. The heaviest attendance and traffic, he said, “are usually on four nights, the first night and the last three nights.”
He said that, while the stroll through the festival is still about a quarter-mile each way, staff has vastly improved access for visitors who need to use wheelchairs, walkers or canes.
Marschall had high praise for the professionals handling the parking for the festival, which is offsite and not allowed on surface streets in the area, such as Burton Drive or in the Wood Drive neighborhood. He also said having two CHP officers on hand has helped a lot, too. “People see them, especially in the neighborhoods, and say to themselves, ‘I’m not supposed to park there.’ ”
He added that there’ve been a few glitches with the shuttles, but they’re working them out. And, “the neighbors know how to reach me if there are any problems.”