Well, Thanksgiving is over and we are officially knee-deep in holiday season. Black Friday and a case of the ‘what to gives’ aside, this is one of my favorite times of year, especially here in Nevada County, and that is largely due to the amazing holiday street fairs.
Having spent every Christmas in the area, there’s a certain excitement in the air as those first Cornish and Victorian Christmas fairs commence, a joy at the chance to see all the friends you usually only see once a year, on those downtown streets while you decide whether kettle corn or buying that perfect-for-aunt-Suzie craft takes priority. The camaraderie of bundling up, maybe even dressing up, and going out for a chance to really celebrate with the community is one of those charmingly unique things about our area. We love a good party, and we here in the Gold Country go nuts for our historically themed holidays.
I remember being a child and going to Victorian Christmas every year with my parents, who worked for a non-profit that always sold beautiful stained glass ornaments and yummy peanut brittle made by volunteers. After a couple of years, being a teen, I decided that if I was going to dress up, I was going to get something out of it! So, like so many kids before and after, I grabbed a friend who was in the school band with me, and we took our instruments (and our savant-level skills, or so we thought!) to the streets, playing every carol our middle school band-leader had taught us. Just down the street a couple of classmates would wander from one end of the fair to the other, singing those same carols.
We were no competition for the number of fantastic, professional Nevada County musicians who were also serenading the fair-goers, but our community supported us just as wholly, and we ended up with enough generously offered change at the end of the night to reward our effort with some spiced cider and roasted chestnuts, or maybe even get our siblings or grandparents a hand-made gift, before we helped our parents close up shop for the evening.
At the end of the night we were always a little chilly, a lot tired, but full of that strange thing called ‘Holiday Spirit’. Not the commercially marketable kind, but the real, deep joy of being a part of a community expression of joy and thankfulness for all of our individual and communal blessings, and for each other who were there to share in that joyfulness.
Now, all grown up, I still get that same excitement when Victorian Christmas arrives, and things really haven’t changed that much. I bundle up to meet my sister and niece just in time to take a picture with Santa. We wander from one delightful display to another, stopping to say hello to all our high school friends, co-workers and neighbors as we nibble on our treats, and listen to the next generation of ambitious young children playing and singing ‘Silent Night’ with all their might.
I hope that you and your family will be able to join us here at Harmony Ridge Lodge, and can experience the joy of the holidays in Nevada County this year. As always, Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, and Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley run until Christmas. Details for Victorian Christmas can be found here, and Cornish Christmas can be found here. You can see the Victorian Christmas specials that we are running here.