Your weekend: Santa Claus is coming to town
There’s a whole lot of Santa going on here on the Isle of Style, starting today at Alameda Towne Centre, where Santa’s sleigh is set to touch down at 11 a.m. He’ll be ensconced in his little house in the center of the mall for visits (and photos!) until Christmas Eve.
Later on today, the mall will host its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. That event, which starts at 4 p.m., includes performances by the Golden Gate Choir Bellringers, the Alameda Civic Ballet, the Bay Farm Elementary School choir and more.
The actual tree lighting and sing-along carols are at 6 p.m. And they’ll have a face painter and balloon twister, refreshments and all sorts of holiday characters, including elves, a toy soldier and more. The event is free and open to the public. The center, of course, is at the corner of Park and Otis.
Then on Saturday, December 5, Santa will be stopping by the West Alameda farmer’s market to collect all your kids’ Christmas wishes. The market, which is on Haight Street at Webster, opens at 9 a.m., and Santa will be there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. He’ll have little gifts for all the kids (and your little dog, too). This event is also free and open to the public. More information here.
Also on December 5 is the annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony outside City Hall. This year it’s a two-day event. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday they’ll have a skating rink set up in the parking lot behind City Hall, plus a juggler and a magician. The tree lighting festivities begin at 5 p.m., with performances by The Mistletones and the Dancing Christmas Trees and a visit from Santa. The event will also include prizes for ongoing holiday decorating and snowflake-finding contests and the lighting of a “renewable” tree.
The fun continues on Sunday with skating from noon to 4 p.m., live reindeer, carolers and horse-drawn sleigh rides. It’s all free and open to the public, though registration for the skating is requested. Click here for that or call the folks at Alameda Rec and Park at 747-7529. City Hall, of course, is at 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.
Also on Saturday, the Alameda/Oakland Ferry is participating in the 33rd Annual Lighted Yacht Parade in the Bay. And you can go along for the ride.
Just hop on the ferry at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, December 5 at the Main Street ferry terminal at 2990 Main Street. The ferry will return at 6:45 p.m. The ride is free if you bring a toy along for Toys for Tots; otherwise, the charge is $6.25 for adults, $3.50 for kids 5 to 12, $3.75 for seniors and disabled people and free for kids under 5. Space is limited, and tickets may be purchased on the ferry.
And Thompson Avenue, aka Christmas Tree Lane, opens for business on December 5, with their usual blend of well-decorated homes, Santa and more. Lights are on from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night through December 31, and Santa will be on hand nightly from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. December 7 through December 23.
And on Sunday, December 6, Temple Israel will host a Holiday Expo, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is free. They’ll have booths set up to help fulfill your holiday shopping needs, plus food and prizes. Temple Israel is at 3183 Mecartney Road, and their phone number is 522-9355.