The holiday season provides ample opportunities for families to take part in local festivities, and this year parents won’t miss a detail by bringing their children to Modesto the first Saturday in December for the city’s annual day filled with activities.
The City of Modesto holiday festivities have spanned the past 30 years always kicking off the Christmas season on the first Saturday of December. Known for their evening parade, this year activities are kicking off in the morning with Breakfast with Santa, an event that is open to the public of all ages from 8 a.m. to 11:30a.m. at the Senior Citizens Center. Attendees can enjoy live music from the Pajama Band and listen to Mrs. Clause read stories during their breakfast of pancakes, eggs, juice, coffee and milk. There is a craft section for children and parents are asked to bring their own cameras if they want to snap photos with Santa Claus who will be making an appearance. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Senior Citizens Center located at 211 Bodem Street or the City of Modesto offices at 1010 10th St., Suite 4400.
After families have filled up at breakfast, they can head over to the 8th annual McHenry Mansion Dickens Fair for free tours of the mansion from docents in top hats and coattails from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 40 Vendors from the Certified Farmers Market are hosting their Christmas market and the mansion will have craft vendors as well as a booth for hot coffee, hot chocolate and donuts. Attendees can stroll 15th Street between J Street and I Street as they listen to choral groups and bagpipes. Those looking for an ultra-authentic Dickens experience can pay the small fee of $1 for children and $2 for adults to take a carriage ride from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. courtesy of the Rolling H Carriage Company.
As has been tradition for the past 30 plus years, community members can close their first Saturday in December with Modesto’s Holiday Parade, themed this year as “Holidays in Whoville.” Over 80 float entries were submitted and attendees can watch the procession from 5:30 to 7:30 as it launches from the intersection of 14th and I streets. As in the past 15 years, each float will be lit and accompanied by several youth bands, classic cars, as various local organizations. Five local DJs will announce each entry and the background of each organization and club as they pass.
“It’s nice that people know it is always on the first Saturday of December. It really turns up a consistent turn out and seems to be a well enjoyed community event,” said Ashley Bougoukalos, coordinator for the City of Modesto.
— ELIZABATH ARAKELIAN / The 209