Cornish Christmas kicks off on November 23

Started in 1967 as a way to preserve Grass Valley’s Cornish heritage and holiday traditions, Cornish Christmas remains one of the town’s most popular events.  The iconic event takes place every Friday evening from 6-9 p.m. from November 23-December 21.  Mill and West Main Streets are closed to motorized traffic and filled with the sights and sounds of an old fashioned Christmas; carolers, musicians, fire pits, mistletoe, and chestnuts.  The event hosts craft and food vendors, and the town shops, restaurants, wine tasting rooms, tap houses and bars are open.  The streets will be awash in festive holiday décor, lights and sparkling windows.

Enjoy the wide selection of holiday music offered by local Grass Valley musicians amongst the trappings of an historic gold rush town.  Imagine life in another era where men and women worked hard, had little, but cherished the simple pleasures of hearty food and drink, good song, and a warm fire with family and friends.

Pause at the steps of the historic Union Building as the Cornish Carol Choir performs traditional homeland Christmas carols.  A long-standing Cornish tradition, some members are descendants of original Grass Valley Cornish Miners.  Learn more about Cornish History at the Cornish Cousin booth.  Cornish Connection at M3Mall includes free gift-wrapping, Cornish Trivia, and Cornish King and Queen photo opportunities.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the evening at the Del Oro Theatre, the Union Building steps and the Clock Tower.  Buskers will appear on various street corners.  Entertainment includes the Cornish Choir, In Sync Dance, Sierra Cappella, Nevada Union Choir, Nevada County Tommyknocker Cloggers, Thunderfoot Cloggers, and many local musicians and performers.   Check the website for the entertainment and event schedule.

Each Friday night children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and share their special wishes at Three Lilies Photography, where you can visit and/or get a professional photo keepsake.  Mrs. Clause will be roaming and handing out candy with elves.

Special activities include kids’ crafts at the Artists Workshop, Letters to Santa that receive a reply at Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro, and classic cars from Roamin’ Angels Car Club.  Special appearances will be made by the CHP horses.  The first Cornish Christmas on November 23rd will feature a foot parade to kick off the event with Beale Air Force Base, Grass Valley Fire and Police Department members, Cornish Pageant Queens, and Santa and the Cornish Town crier leading the parade from Gold Miners Inn to Main Street.

The Cornish Christmas celebration is truly a delight for the senses.  You’ll discover one of California’s best-kept secrets as you shop the amazing collection of merchants that call downtown Grass Valley their home.

Event is held rain or shine, and admission is free. Period/holiday attire is encouraged for attendees.  Only service animals are allowed; no pets please.

For more information on Cornish Christmas call 530-272-8315 or visit

Content and photos submitted by Marni Marshall, Grass Valley Downtown Association