Like any 7-year old, El Dorado Hills Town Center can’t wait for Christmas. It’s all dressed up early and eager for the festivities to begin.
This year promises more family fun than ever, as muggles from around the region flock to Town Center’s magical kingdom not just to see the lastest episode of Harry Potter but also to celebrate the season in their community, starting with the annual tree lighting on Saturday, Nov. 27.
Come out early. Merchants are hosting open houses with holiday treats and surprises starting at 4 p.m. Rat Pack tributers “The Deanoholics” are Santa’s opening act this year. They hit the stage at 5:30.
But Dino, Frank and Sammy are just lighting the fuse for the big bang — Santa and Mrs. Claus’s dramatic arrival at 6:30 p.m. El Dorado Hills firefighters will once again host the jolly geriatric’s entrance with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
The procession from fire engine to stage is an undeniable adrenalin-pump for kids of all ages, amping up the excitement in a Santa-hungry crowd that’s already careening off the Theater Plaza walls on a Christmas cookie sugar buzz before the ever-agile big man and cuddly counterpart, Mrs. Claus, bounce off Engine 85.
The cute Christmas couple work the crowd for a few minutes, greeting as many children as possible, then get down to the business at hand — lighting the 32-foot community Christmas tree, maintaining a 47-year El Dorado Hills tradition. The darling duo will illuminate the Christmas missile with help from a Mansour or two, then kick-off a community Christmas carol sing-along with help from Dino, Frank and Sammy.
Santa promises to stick around for some quality lap-time, accompanied by strolling carolers who’ll perform throughout the afternoon and evening. Traditional roasted chestnuts will be available, as well as face painting.
Later in December, another El Dorado Hills holiday tradition culminates in Town Center. The Fire Department’s week-long “Santa Run,” now entering its 44th year, puts Santa and his sleigh atop a fire engine for five evenings, cruising El Dorado Hills neighborhoods. Elfed-up firefighters jog along greeting children, collecting Toys For Tots and trying to keep the mischievous Grinch from pestering El Dorado Hills families. God forbid he gets the Serrano gate code.
The rolling Christmas party culminates in Town Center at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17. Bring a tot toy if you can, and beware the Grinch. To see when Santa will be in your neighborhood visit www.edhsantarun.com.
Santa likes the new California Welcome Center so much he’s promised to hang out there every Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., and Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Nov. 27 through Dec. 18. The week before Christmas he’ll be there every day. Photos will be available.
Town Center merchants are hosting the “Twelve days of Christmas Shopping Passport” from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8. Just stop at designated merchants, get your passport stamped and enter to win a $750 Town Center gift certificate. Purchase a qualifying gift and earn an extra entry in the drawing.
Put a little romance into the holiday season with the first-ever Town Center holiday date nights on Dec. 3 and 10. Enjoy carriage rides and carolers along with hotel and store romance packages.
Local vocal and dance groups will perform on Saturdays throughout December, starting with the Oak Ridge Dance Team at Theater Plaza on Dec. 4. The El Dorado Dance Academy and Folsom Mosaic take the stage in Theater Plaza on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Marina Village Jazz Band performs in Theater Plaza at noon, Dec. 11, followed by the Center Stage Dance Academy in the Steven Young Amphitheater at 2 on Sunday, Dec. 12.
The holiday performances conclude with the Proscenium dance group at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, and the Holy Trinity Church choir on Sunday, Dec. 19, also at 2 p.m.
CASA’s annual benefit black tie benefit, the “Snowball,” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. This year proceeds will be split with the Big Brothers Big Sisters. Tickets are $250 each, and can be purchased by calling event co-chair Lynn Repstad at (916) 919-0670.