Trip Ideas

Mill Street decked in holiday faire during Cornish Christmas

Naughty Or Nice – Cornish Christmas Grass Valley Is A Must

Carolers dressed in 19th century attire. Photo opportunities with St. Nick. The annual Cornish Christmas Grass Valley event provides the enchanting sights and sounds of a vintage Christmas that you need to experience in person.

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The latest information about this years Cornish Christmas at Grass Valley

Explore some of the other featured events that happen throughout the year in Nevada County

By Alex Silgalis

Ever wonder what Christmas was like in 19th Century Cornwall England? Immerse yourself in the Annual Cornish Christmas Grass Valley celebration, where the spirit of Christmas past comes alive, offering a delightful experience for all your senses. Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing event.

How It Started

The historic hamlet of Grass Valley has its roots in the gold mines of the Sierra Nevada. When the mineral deposits in Cornwall began to decline, Cornish miners sought new opportunities. Many of them found their way to California’s Gold Rush towns, including Grass Valley. By 1890, a remarkable 85% of Grass Valley’s population had Cornish ancestry.

In 1967, the Cornish Christmas Grass Valley celebration was established as a tribute to the Cornish miners and their descendants. This event serves as a means to preserve Grass Valley’s rich Cornish heritage and holiday traditions. Today, it stands as one of the town’s most beloved and popular annual gatherings.

What To Expect

The Cornish Town Crier traditionally rings in the celebration at the start of the event. Mill and West Main Streets come alive with motorized traffic giving way to the enchanting sights and sounds of a vintage Christmas. Picture carolers, jugglers, musicians, the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir, lively Tommyknocker Cloggers, and, of course, opportunities for photos with Santa Claus. Stroll through the festive atmosphere and encounter kids and adults adorned in period costumes, offering mistletoe for sale.

As you explore the historic downtown streets of Grass Valley, you’ll be treated to a showcase of handmade arts and crafts from talented artists hailing from all corners of California. It’s a delightful blend of tradition, creativity, and community spirit.

Not To Miss

Indulge your inner foodie by sampling a diverse array of Cornish Pasties available from local shops and vendors. Take a moment to savor the experience on the steps of the historic Union Building. This is where the Cornish Carol Choir captivates you with their renditions of traditional Christmas carols from the homeland. A cherished Cornish tradition, some choir members are direct descendants of the original Cornish Miners who shaped the history of Grass Valley.

When It Happens

The inaugural Cornish Christmas on November 24th kicks off with a festive foot parade. Join in the excitement as members from Beale Air Force Base, Grass Valley Fire and Police Department, Cornish Pageant Queens, and of course, Santa, lead the parade from Gold Miners Inn to Main Street. The culmination awaits at the town Christmas tree. As the parade finishes, a magical lighting ceremony will add a touch of enchantment to the evening. You can enjoy this delightful tradition across five Fridays, running from November 24 to December 22, between 6-9 p.m.

The Cornish Christmas Grass Valley event is a family friendly opportunity to celebrate the holidays while enjoying a taste of small-town life and days long gone. The event is held rain or shine, and admission is free. Period/holiday attire is encouraged for attendees, as well.


Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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