Parades, The Nutcracker, Carols, Merriment & More!
It’s all happening this weekend!
By JONATHAN WHITAKER
November 30, 2017
The Merced area will come alive with the holiday spirit
this weekend as residents enjoy a series of traditional
Christmastime events, including parades in Merced and Atwater,
an annual performance of The Nutcracker, professional carol
music on stage, and egg nog and merriment at the County
The biggest attraction, by far, will be 23rd annual Hometown
Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 2, in Merced. The theme
this year is “A Storybook Christmas.”
Thousands of Mercedians and visitors are expected to line
both sides of Main Street, between G and O streets, to view
the city’s largest parade of the year — complete
with marching bands, community floats, dancers, candy, and
Santa Claus as the grand finale.
The parade will start promptly at 3 p.m., but the day’s
festivities actually begin at 11 a.m. with the annual Jingle
Bell Run, craft and food vendors stationed on Canal Street,
as well as local singing and dance performers in front of
Bob Hart Square on every hour leading up to the parade.
Immediately following the parade, come to Bob Hart Square
for the lighting of the MERCO Credit Union Community Christmas
tree. There will be complimentary hot chocolate and cookies
sponsored by the Merced Breakfast Lions Club, and special
performances along with great Christmas melodies!
Atwater’s old-fashioned hometown parade comes a day
earlier on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. The theme is “A
The parade will start at Winton Way and Grove Avenue, turn
left on Broadway, and end at the historic Bloss Home. At
the house, Santa will greet children and be available for
photos. The city’s Fire Department will provide goodie
The parade will also feature Grand Marshal Joe Castiglione,
emcee Roy Torres, lots of floats, marching bands, the fabulous
Sheriff’s Posse, and the city’s antique fire
truck which will be 100 years old next year.
Also starting Friday night, Dec. 1, 7 p.m., at the Buhach
Colony High School Theater, will be the first of three public
performances of The Nutcracker by the prestigious Merced
Academy of Dance. The annual ballet will also perform twice
on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Tickets for Reserved Seating are available for $15, $20
and $25. Tickets are available at the office of Karlyne
Paul (1807 0 street Merced), the Multicultural Center or
at the door. Advanced purchase is recommended for this popular
Buhach Colony High School is located at 1800 Buhach Road
Carols Of Joy
The Merced College Chorale kicks off the holiday season
with their holiday choral concert this Friday, Dec. 1. The
concert, performed in the Merced College Theater, will bring
a variety of seasonal choral music to the audience attending.
“In true Chorale tradition, we bring a broad repertoire
to the concert,” says Conductor Curtis Nelson. “For
those looking for the traditional, we have ‘Still,
Still, Still,’ the traditional German carol, and the
well-known ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’
For those looking for something new, composer Mark Hayes’
‘Winter’s Heart’ is a beautiful musical
offering. For those looking for something unusual, we have
a soulful version of ‘Lo, How a Rose’ with a
saxophone solo or a Southern carol with a bluegrass twist.
Plenty of diversity and fun.”
The Merced College Chorale is conducted by Nelson, who is
celebrating his 21st year bringing choral concerts to the
Merced College stage and accompanied by Philip Smallwood,
who also conducts the Merced College Community Chorus, who
will be presenting their concert Dec. 15 and 16.
“With multiple concerts each year, I think this must
be my 80th choral concert here,” Nelson states. “Over
those years, I’ve had the privilege and joy of working
with hundreds of college students and community singers.”
In addition to the college-aged Chorale, the stage will
also be shared by the El Cap Melodies, the choral ensemble
from El Capitan High School. The Melodies are conducted
by music teacher, Maria Brouillard.
“I heard the El Cap Melodies sing a couple of weeks
ago and I know the audience are in for a real treat,”
Nelson says. “Ms. Brouillard, who has just been conducting
them for a couple of years, is doing a fabulous job!”
The Merced College Chorale Fall Concert will be presented
Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. in the Merced College Theater.
Tickets are available in advance at Gottschalk’s Music
in Merced, at the Merced College Bookstore, and at the Theater
Box Office one hour before the concert.
Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. For more
information, phone the Theater Box Office – 384-6284
or the Arts Office – 386-6644.
And to cap off an incredible holiday weekend, on Sunday,
Dec. 3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to
experience the 33rd annual Christmas Open House at the Courthouse
Those curious museum docents have “decked the halls,”
and community groups have filled the rooms of the historic
building with over 73 Christmas trees.
At the open house, they will serve treats and traditional
Courthouse eggnog. Live entertainment will be performed
by the following groups (in order): Central Presbyterian
Church Handbell Choir (1 p.m.), Merced Shakes’ Bennett
and Hicks (1:30 p.m.), Harmony Valley Chorus (2 p.m.), Our
Lady of Mercy Catholic School Christmas Choir (2:30 p.m.),
Caitlin’s Suzuki Violin Studio (3 p.m.), and Cruikshank
Middle School Jazz Band (3:30 p.m.).
The event is free to the public!
The Courthouse Museum is located at 21st and N Streets,
in downtown Merced. The Christmas tree exhibit will run
through Dec. 30.
Please support your local museum by shopping at the museum
store for holiday gifts!
For More Holiday Fun: See the Times holiday event listings
on Page 2!