Holiday festivals abound

Heavy coats, cooler temperatures and early sunsets are all signs of winter, which means the holiday season is getting closer and Peninsula cities have a variety of celebrations to bring in the holidays.

In Redwood City, Santa Claus, a petting zoo and even snow will be highlights of the downtown area during its Hometown Holidays on Dec. 5.

Nina Kadera, vice president of the Redwood City Downtown Business Group — a sponsor of the holiday celebration — said when she and her husband took over as chairs of the organization of Hometown Holidays, they made it a goal to add to it each year.

“We wanted an event that people could look forward to,” Kadera said. “We wanted it to grow.”

This year, a children’s carnival is the newest addition to Hometown Holidays, Kadera said. Last year, the petting zoo was added to the winter festival.

Kadera said there also will be a children’s parade that will end with Santa Claus coming to the center of town, as well as two separate areas filled with 30 tons of real snow.

Downtown Burlingame will also have its own celebration. On Dec. 1, its Holiday Open House will include a tree lighting and parade to downtown, according to the city’s Web site.

A lack of funding almost canceled the event, but city officials and the Burlingame Downtown Business Association were able to raise enough money to have it continue.

A tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 4 in San Mateo and the Holiday Festival of Dance is scheduled for Dec. 12-13 at the San Mateo High School gymnasium.

Santa Claus will visit South San Francisco on Dec. 5. He will arrive via fire truck at City Hall around 11 a.m., according to the city’s events calendar.

Caltrain’s Holiday Train will also run Dec. 5-6, stopping at four Peninsula stations each night for a holiday show featuring music and visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus and a whole cast of holiday characters.

Finally, the annual Dickens Fair returns to Cow Palace now through Dec. 20.

Regardless of the holiday celebration, Kadera said she loves to walk the streets and see the smiling faces of children this time of year.

“I love the feeling when you walk around and see everyone having a really good time,” she said.

Festivities

Among holiday happenings taking place in San Mateo County:

Redwood City

Hometown Holidays, Saturday, 10 a.m., downtown

South San Francisco

Santa Comes to Town, Saturday, 11 a.m., City Hall, 400 Grand Ave.

San Mateo

Tree lighting ceremony, Friday, 6 p.m., downtown

Burlingame

Holiday Open House, Friday, downtown

Daly City

Dickens Fair, Through Dec. 20, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave.

Caltrain

Holiday Train, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 5:20 p.m., select San Francisco and Peninsula station stops
 

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