Local residents of all ages are invited to take part in one of Davis’ oldest community traditions Thursday — the 31st annual Downtown Davis Holiday Open House.
The event includes the Children’s Parade, illumination of the holiday tree on the E Street Plaza, visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, performances by local musical groups, horse-drawn carriage rides and free showings of “The Grinch” at the Varsity Theatre.
The Children’s Parade has been sponsored by the Davis Food Co-op for more than two decades. Parade participants will begin lining up at 5:30 p.m. at the Co-op, 620 G St., and the parade steps off at 6 p.m. Walkers, strollers, wagons and bicycles are welcome, and lights and holiday decorations add to the fun and festive atmosphere.
The Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh will march in the parade and provide musical entertainment at the E Street Plaza following the tree-lighting ceremony.
Families who drive are encouraged to park in the free public parking structure behind the Signature Stadium 5 Theatres at Fourth and G streets. No parade parking is available in the Co-op parking lot on G Street.
Free candles with safety drip cups and free glowsticks will be provided to young parade participants, courtesy of the Co-op. Voluntary donations to the Wallace & Vannucci Shelter for battered women and their children will be accepted with gratitude.
The parade will end at the E Street Plaza in the 200 block of E Street downtown. Special red recycling containers for the candles will be set up on the plaza.
The holiday tree will be lighted at 6:30 p.m. on the plaza by members of the Davis City Council, followed by performances on the plaza stage by the Davis High School Madrigal and Jazz choirs.
The No Bones About It jazz ensemble coordinated by former Davis schools music teacher Bob Gonzalez will perform holiday jazz from 7 to 7:45 p.m. on the plaza stage, which is co-sponsored by Watermelon Music and the city of Davis.
Beginning at 6:40 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will receive guests on the plaza until 8:15 p.m. Santa’s location is sponsored in part by A Grand Affair Party & Event Rentals. Other holiday costumed characters, including the UC Davis’ Gunrock, will entertain downtown visitors during the evening.
Canned food donations for the Food Bank of Yolo County will be collected until 8:30 p.m. near the plaza; look for a giant hot rod motorized shopping cart from Save Mart Supermarkets named “Big Red.” The shopping cart also will be featured in the parade.
Free screenings of the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will begin at 6, 6:40, 7:20 and 8 p.m. at the Varsity Theatre, 616 Second St. The Grace Valley Christian Center Choir will perform outside the theater from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Free horse-drawn carriage rides will depart every 10 minutes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. from the curb in front of Avid Reader Active, 605 Second St. The carriage rides, a popular tradition, are sponsored again by John Brinley Properties.
Davis High School Cheer Team members will assist with the downtown event and also will sell hot cider, cocoa and coffee as well as individually wrapped cookies, brownies and crispy treats. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support the Cheer Team’s travel and competitions.
The Davis Chamber of Commerce will accept donations to Toys for Tots at its office at 604 Third St., at the corner of Third and E streets. New, unwrapped toys and funds will help the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation provide toys for children who otherwise would go without a gift on Christmas morning. A uniformed member of the Marines will be on hand Thursday evening. The Chamber also will collect toy donations through Dec. 20.
An additional location for downtown festivities will be the new Whole Foods Market in the Davis Commons shopping center, 500 First St. The store will provide free hot apple cider, free homemade caramel corn popcorn balls and free hot-roasted chestnuts to visitors all evening on the lawn side of the market. Fulcrum Properties will sponsor musical entertainment at the shopping center that evening.
A free, all-ages “Holiday Music Celebration at The Lodge” will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St. Donations for the performers will be accepted with gratitude. Performers include:
* Davis High School Madrigals, 7:30-7:50 p.m.;
* Davis High School Quintet Ensemble, 8-8:20 p.m.;
* Davis High School Jazz Choir, 8:25-8:45 p.m.;
* Voices of Experience adult choir, 8:50-9:10 p.m.; and
* The Spokes a cappella choir from UC Davis, 9:15-9:35 p.m.
For event information, find the Davis Odd Fellows on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/484064284949578.
For more information about the Holiday Open House, call the city manager’s office at 530-757-5602.