Where to Find Christmas Lights, Parades in Stanislaus County


Expect a more festive holiday season this year in Modesto-area communities.

Many public celebrations over the past year have been canceled, held virtually or changed due to the pandemic. But many are set for a comeback this Christmas season.

Events include parades, festivals and the opening of Christmas Tree Lane in Ceres. Here is an overview of what is planned:

TURLOCK FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – November 26: Celebration offers Christmas lights and shopping. Downtown businesses open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tree lighting in Central Park at 7 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/122975218197/posts/10158708669248198/?d=n.

COWBOY CHRISTMAS – November 26-27: The Oakdale Cowboy Museum features more than 50 stalls of western art, jewelry, clothing, cowboy food and entertainment. Cowboy Santa arrives riding at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, available until 1 p.m. for photos. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale. 209-847-7049.

RIVERBANK CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL – November 27: The Holiday Craft Fair with handmade items will run from noon to 5 p.m. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Sixth and Santa Fe streets with a tree lighting ceremony following the parade. Downtown Riverbank, 6707 Third St. 209-863-7122.

GUSTINE’S OLD-STYLE CHRISTMAS – Saturday, November 27: Events begin with Breakfast with Santa at GPS Hall from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. before a craft fair on Fifth Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Silent Christmas Tree Auction from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 394 Fifth St. Santa’s Workshop will be held at 367 Fifth St. Christmas tree lighting and entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with an illuminated parade at to follow. 209-854-6975.

SPIRIT OF WINTER MARKETPLACE – Nov. 27-28: Craft vendors, music, food and drink, photos with Santa Claus and winter characters, etc. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Calaveras County Fairgrounds, 2465 Gun Club Road, Angels Camp. $5, free 12 and under.

LATHROP CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS – December 1, December 4 and December 11: December 1, tree lighting with performance by Lathrop High School Choir, visit by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. 6:30 p.m. Lathrop Community Center. On December 4, the Donuts with Santa drive-thru includes a family photo with Santa, two craft kits and half a dozen donuts. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 16201 Harlan Road. Limited places, registration required. Dec. 11, Christmas Parade, 11 a.m. Fifth Streets at J. 209-941-7370.

ROCKIN’ HOLIDAYS – December 3: Kicking off the ongoing Rockin’ Holiday at Tenth Street Plaza in December which will include lights, garlands, retro decorations, flurries of snow and music. The Rockin’ Holiday tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m. Rockin’ Holiday parties will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 9-11, December 16-18, and December 23.

LIVINGSTON TREE COURT – December 3: This event features more than 50 decorated Christmas trees for people to view. The big lighting is at 6:30 p.m. and the trees will remain until December 25th. Court Plaza, Main Street. 209-394-8830.

CHRISTMAS PARADE IN TURLOCK TOWN CENTER – December 3: The city’s annual parade along historic Main Street beginning at Canal Drive begins at 6:30 p.m. with the theme “Christmas in Toyland.” 209-668-5594.

HOLIDAY VISITS TO MANOIR MCHENRY – December 4 and 11: Led by guides in period costume, participants can see the mansion decorated in Victorian festive splendor. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. McHenry Mansion, 906 15th St., Modesto. Free. Tours begin at the Mansion Visitor Center, 924 15th St. 209-549-0428.

MODESTO CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS PARADE – December 4: The city holds its parade downtown beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the theme “Hometown Traditions.” The parade begins at 14th and I streets and ends at J and 17th streets with Santa on a fire truck. www.modestogov.com/553/Holiday-Parade

OPENING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE ROW – December 4: The area’s largest nighttime neighborhood display kicks off at 5 p.m. with festivities at Smyrna Park on Moffett Road, including crafts, live music, food vendors, photos with Santa from 5 p.m. 6:30 p.m. and more. The parade begins at 7:15 p.m. when Christmas Tree Lane opens. Free. www.ci.ceres.ca.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=119.

CHRISTMAS ESCALON ON MAIN – December 4: The annual Parade of Lights downtown begins at 5:30 p.m. Before and after, booths will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and there will be live performances. Santa Claus arrives at 6:00 p.m. Main Street, Escalon. www.escalonchamberofcommerce.org.

LIT CHRISTMAS PARADE IN LIVINGSTON – December 10: The 6:30 p.m. parade begins at Livingston Middle School and winds through the community before ending at Main and D streets. 209-394-8830.

WATERFORD CELEBRATION – December 11: Vendors on Bentley Street 2.30 to 8.30 p.m. The illuminated parade begins at 5.30 p.m. at the Moon School and ends at the Waterford Museum where there will be refreshments and Santa will light the Christmas tree. 209-874-2328.

COLUMBIA MINERS CHRISTMAS – December 18-19: Participants can engage in conversations with miners as they roast chestnuts over a campfire. Kids can make 1850s crafts. Santa will be hitting the streets in a stagecoach. Noon to 3 p.m. Main Street, Columbia. https://friendsofcolumbiashp.com/events/columbia-state-historic-park-events.

This story was originally published November 20, 2021 5:00 a.m.


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