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Sonoma County Gazette
Petaluma Perspective by Houston Porter

Celebrate the Holidays in Petaluma

Nov 22, 2017
by Houston Porter


Come December, Petaluma turns into a winter wonderland, even offering a bit of “snowfall” if you are in the right place at the right time. Visit and for more info all these free events....

For those who are unfamiliar, right at the heart of downtown, on the ground floor of the Lan Mart building, under Old Chicago Pizza, it’s always winter at Christmas Fantasia. This is one of the Bay Area’s largest year-round holiday
ornament shops, and is right across the breezeway from Marisa’s Fantasia, which also offers an incredible array of both holiday and fun year-round gifts.

Petaluma Tree Lighting “Light Up a Life” is a tree-lighting ceremony held, in Walnut Park, in honor of loved ones lost. On Friday, Dec 1, festivities will begin around 6pm, culminating with several of the parks trees being lit in white lights – except for one red light to signify the heart. Hospice of Petaluma has been doing this since 1985 in order to remember loved ones who have passed. Attendees will enjoy music by local choirs and musicians, a brief welcome by members of Hospice of Petaluma, and are invited to light candles to remember loved ones lost. “Hospice exists in the hope and belief that daily needs may be met with appropriate care and sensitivity through the dying and grieving periods, and that all will be done to make the life that remains as dignified and satisfying as possible.

Festival of Trees Also on Friday, Dec 1, from 6-9pm, and continuing on  Dec 2, from 3-9pm, “the Fabulous Women welcome you to their holiday  extravaganza. Bid on magical trees decorated by local businesses, listen to Christmas Music, enter our raffle, shop at the holiday market place, enjoy the sweet shop, and take photos with Santa.” This year’s festival is at Hotel Petaluma, with proceeds going to support charitable causes.

Light Up The Square Annual Tree Lighting The Theatre District will hold their Annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec 2, from 6-8pm. Event highlights include live music, a special appearance from Santa, festive entertainment, a free souvenir photo booth and much more. “You won’t want  to miss the magical *snowfall* at the Square once the tree is lit at 6:30pm.”

Merchant Holiday Open House Downtown merchants usher in the holiday season on Sat, Dec 2, offering great shopping deals, photos with Santa, plenty of treats, plus lots of other activities.

Lighted Boat Parade Bundle up the family to experience the magic of the Lighted Boat Parade. The decorated boats make a spectacular arrival at the Petaluma River Turning Basin in the heart of historic downtown, arriving about 6:15 P.M.”, on Sat, Dec 9.

Lighted Tractor Parade On Sun, Dec 17, Penngrove adds to the lights with its Lighted Tractor Parade. See Lyndi Brown’s “Penngrove Station” column for more info.

Gingerbread House Showcase & Competition Hotel Petaluma’s 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Showcase & Competition is Dec 15-17. Although the entry deadline may have passed by the time you read this, give them a call anyways if you’d like to compete.

Festival Of Christmas Throughout the holiday season, downtown Petaluma offers some reoccurring holiday cheer, with “The North Pole Connection: Visit Santa” in the Lan Mart building, Fri-Sun throughout the season. Take photos with Santa and enjoy special treats and fun throughout the historic building.

Petaluma Pie Company: The New Year’s Eve Gala Concert is sponsored by Sky Hill Cultural Alliance and hosted at the perfectly pitched ‘Carnegie Hall of the West’, our very own Petaluma Historical Library and Museum on Sun, Dec 31, from 6-8pm. An elite section of string players from the San  Francisco Symphony graciously performs each year, joined by organizer
Elizabeth Walter, local pianist and Petaluma Museum board member. Floor seating includes complimentary wine and cheese, with balcony seating receiving elite beverage service. This concert is a holiday highlight and sells out every year, so get your tickets now at


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