History and fantasy combine at Victorian Christmas, kicking off at 1:30 p.m. this Sunday, December 8, in downtown Nevada City.
In books and movies, “Gaslamp Fantasy” is a popular fictional genre combining history, fantasy and Victorian settings – but at Victorian Christmas, it’s real life in Nevada City as The Walking Christmas Tree, Toy Soldier, chimney sweep Cecil Snow, Father Christmas, and other actors descend upon the downtown historical district like time-travelers from a bygone era.
According to Cathy Whittlesey of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, costumed actors are a long-standing tradition at Victorian Christmas, and are increasingly popular thanks to mobile phone cameras and social media. “The Walking Christmas Tree and Toy Soldier get stopped for so many photos, they can barely move!”
Recently, costumed visitors are drawing almost as much attention as the actors. “We’ve started to see a trend,” says event coordinator Traci Hescock, “of people showing up at Victorian Christmas dressed as characters from folklore.” Such visitors have included mustachioed lawmen of the Wild West dressed in their holiday best, and Christmas elves of Norse mythology. “They definitely add a quirky, festive touch,” says Hescock.
An old-fashioned lineup of street performers will be on hand, including the Thunderfoot and Tommyknocker cloggers, Scottish highland dancers, a magician, a juggler and raconteur, a handbell choir, an opera singer, and players of the accordion, cello, horn, mandolin, and violin.
At a smoky cluster of tents in the food court, look for hearty and classic yuletide treats such as giant turkey drumsticks, fresh-baked sweet and savory pies, kettle corn, warm gingerbread, and roasted chestnuts plucked from Cecil Snow’s open fire. Other comforts include hot cocoa, hot toddies and buttered rum, mulled wine, and cider.
For shoppers, artisans and craftsmen offer tents-full of home and gift items – such as children’s art boxes, dried lavender, English toffee, lace shawls, lotions, mosaic skulls and goblets, sachets, scented oils, semi-precious stone jewelry, and Windsor chairs. So come and enjoy where history and fantasy combine at Victorian Christmas.
Local tips for your convenience and safety
The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce reminds visitors that Victorian Christmas takes place rain or shine, and that in good weather the events can draw very large crowds that make parking difficult and traffic safety a top concern.
Parking: The most convenient approach to parking is to drop your group off in town at the Veterans Building parking lot and then park at the Nevada County Government Center at 950 Maidu Avenue in Nevada City, where shuttle bus service is available at $5 for adults and children 15 and over. Children under 15 ride free.Traffic safety: A new Safety Plan is in place in for Victorian Christmas 2018. The plan increases Shuttle bus capacity to reduce lines, waiting times, and pedestrian traffic across Highway 49, and improves signage to guide pedestrians to a pathway with solar lights that ends at the Highway 49/N. Bloomfield Road stoplight and crosswalk. Message boards will alert motorists to reduce their speed. All pedestrians walking to Nevada City are asked to use this crosswalk.
For more information, contact the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at (530) 265-2692 or toll-free (800) 655-NJOY, online at nevadacitychamber.com/victorianchristmas/
Content and photos submitted by Nevada City Chamber of Commerce