Cornish Christmas kicks off on November 29

The ever popular 52nd annual Cornish Christmas event returns to our gold rush town from 6-9 p.m. each Friday from November 29-December 20 in beautiful downtown Grass Valley.

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.  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.  Downtown shops are open, food and craft vendors abound.

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.  The Cornish Town Crier always rings in the celebration at 6:00 p.m.  The Cornish Choir performs 6-6:30 p.m. and 7-7:30 p.m. at the Union Building steps at 151 Mill Street.

A variety of Cornish Pasties are for sale from local shops and vendors.  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, as well as buskers who sprinkle the event streets with pop-up entertainment.   Performers will include: The Cornish Choir, Nevada Union Choir, Thunderfoot Cloggers, The TommyKnocker Cloggers, Union Hill School Bearcat Band and Vocal Ensemble, Lyman Gilmore Band, Salsa Sierra, Mrs. Claus, Vicki Fortini, and more!  Check our website for the event schedule and applications.

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. Claus will be roaming and handing out candy with elves. Special activities include Letters to Santa that receive a reply at Tofanelli’s Gold Country Bistro, free roasted chestnuts, and special appearances will include the CHP horses on certain evenings.

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 and no smoking.

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

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