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Holiday Staple: 'The Nutcracker' gets dusted off and pulled out of the attic again, this year playing all over the North Bay, including Stapleton Ballet's show at the Marin Center.

Holiday Detours

Take a trip through the North Bay's marvelous holiday events

By R. V. Scheide

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go. . . . But first, a few minor detours. There are magnificent Victorian homes strewn with holiday lights and decorations to see, marvelous Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to eat, orchestras and choirs and jug bands to hear, dancers and actors to amuse and enlighten us, dozens of craft fairs to choose from. And the list goes on . . . and on . . . and on. Let no one say the North Bay doesn't appreciate the holiday season. As this partial list of local celebratory events indicates, we're quite clearly obsessed with it. But that's OK, because Grandma has plenty of patience. Just make sure you buy her something nice, and don't keep her waiting too long.

Bright Lights, Little Cities

Yountville Festival of Lights. The entire wine country town of Yountville will be set aglow with thousands of white lights for this 12th annual month-long festival. A holiday parade, tree-lighting ceremony, ice carving, free gourmet food and wine samples, live musicians and entertainers, and great shopping make this a small-town Christmas celebration to remember. Nov. 24, begins 2pm. Free. 707.944.0904.

Winter Wonderland and Parade of Lights. Bright holiday lights add cheer to the little city by the bay. Nov. 28-29, San Rafael. 415.453.8388.

Kenwood Festival of Lights. Five Kenwood wineries--Blackstone, Chateau St. Jean, Landmark, St. Francis, and Stone Creek--light up Sonoma Valley for this 17th annual festival. Gourmet food and wine pairings and live music and entertainment guarantee a great time. Available designated drivers ($15 extra) ensure a safe ride home. Proceeds benefit Star of the Valley Church's Neighbor to Neighbor program. Advanced tickets required. Nov. 29, 6-9pm. Kenwood. $25. 800.423.4766.

Santa's Riverfront Arrival and Horse and Wagon Procession. Santa and Mrs. Claus steam ashore via the tugboat Petaluma, dispersing hundreds of candy canes to gleeful children before joining a stunning, horse-drawn procession of decorated wagons and stagecoaches through Petaluma's historic downtown district. Nov. 29. Santa lands at Weller Street at noon; procession begins at 1pm. 707.762.9348.

Napa Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting. The theme of the 41st annual Napa Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting is "Home for the Holidays." Brightly decorated holiday floats, hot chocolate and cookies, and the all-important chestnuts roasting on an open fire will be featured. Mayor Ed Henderson performs the tree-lighting honors. Nov. 29. Parade begins at 4:30pm on First Street. Napa. 707.257.0322.

Win a Decorated Tree. Save time during the holiday season by placing the highest silent bid on decorated trees displayed by downtown Petaluma merchants. Sponsored by the Petaluma Downtown Association, the auction benefits local charities and schools. Nov. 29-Dec. 14. 707.762.9348.

Petaluma City of Lights Driving Tour. If it isn't clear by now, the residents of this historic Victorian riverfront town go all out during the holidays, adorning houses and storefronts with thousands of lights for the annual decorating competition. Dec. 5-26. To request a free City of Lights Driving Tour map, send a business-size SASE to Petaluma Visitor Center, 800 Baywood Drive, Ste. A, Petaluma, CA 94954. For more information, call the center toll free at 877.273.8258 or go to www.visitpetaluma.com.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony. The San Anselmo chamber of commerce lights up the holidays with typical Marin flare. Dec. 6, 3-7pm. Creek Park, San Anselmo. Free. 415.454.2510.

Trentadue Winery Parade of Lights. Gondola rides, winetasting, Christmas carols, and Santa complement a massive holiday light display at this Alexander Valley winery. Dec. 5, 5-8:30pm. Trentadue Winery, 19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. $5 for tasting (includes $1 donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank). 888.332.3032. www.trentadue.com.

Holiday Arts Festival. Celebrate the 38th annual festival with the friendly residents of San Geronimo. Sit on Santa's lap and enjoy hot mulled cider, homemade soups, breads and desserts, and the wonderful Lagunitas School Chorus and Band. Dec. 6, noon-8pm. San Geronimo Valley Cultural Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo. 415.488.9385.

Mill Valley Winterfest. What would the holidays be without a little bit of the white stuff? Mill Valley blankets its historic town square with snow for the 10th annual Winterfest Celebration. Santa will be there, of course, along with the Caroling Kids of SingersMarin, music by the Tam High School band, and--yep, you betcha--chestnuts roasting on an open fire. It's all capped off with a tree-lighting ceremony that illuminates the square's redwood grove. Bring an unwrapped toy to benefit Toys for Tots. Dec. 7, 11am-5:30pm. Town Square, Mill Valley. 415.394.6500.

Heritage Homes Holiday Parlor Tour. Costumed docents greet visitors for self-guided tours of lavishly decorated parlors in four turn-of-the-century private homes. Dec. 7, 6-9pm. Various Petaluma locations. $15. For tickets, send SASE with enclosed check payable to Heritage Homes to P.O. Box 2152, Petaluma, CA 94953.

Luther Burbank Holiday Open House. Luther Burbank Home and Gardens celebrates the season with its 24th annual self-guided tour of this fabulous Victorian-era home in all its holiday glory. Costumed docents, children's crafts, fresh-baked cookies, and spiced tea make for a delightful outing. Dec. 7, 10am-4pm. Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues, Santa Rosa. Free. 707.524.5445.

Victorian Inns Tour Experience. Healdsburg's classic Victorian inns in all their holiday charm. Dec. 14, 2-4pm. Featured inns are Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Road; Haydon Street Inn, 321 Haydon St.; Camellia Inn, 211 North St.; Grape Leaf Inn, 539 Johnson St.; and Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza, 110 Matheson St. Healdsburg. Free. 707.433.5228.

Holiday Candlelight Tour. Explore wine country's most treasured architectural wonders, all decked out for the season on this docent-guided, go-at-your-own pace walking tour presented by Napa County Landmarks. Tour features eight Victorian and period homes in the historic Napa Abajo neighborhood, antique car show, hot and cold libations, and dessert. Dec. 13, 3-8pm. Tour meets at Napa Women's Club, Franklin and Elm streets, Napa. $25 general admission; $22 members; $10 children under 12. Tickets available by mail, telephone, or, if available, on the day of event. 707.255.1836. www.napacountylandmarks.org.

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. Did someone say Petaluma takes the holidays seriously? They weren't kidding, if the glow from this lighted flotilla of yachts and other watercraft anchored in the Petaluma River Turning Basin is any indication. Dec. 13, 6:30pm. Best viewed from Great Petaluma Mill, 6 Petaluma Blvd. N. and B Street. Those interested in participating or in need of more info can call the visitors' center at 707.769.0429.

Holiday Lights of Cloverdale. The North Coast Wine and Visitor Center presents awards to homes and businesses for Most Lights, Best Decorated, Most Creative, and People's Choice. Winetasting, appetizers, and trolley tours. Dec. 20, 5-9pm. North Coast Wine and Visitor Center, 105 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. Free. 707.894.0818.

Sounds for the Season

Music from the Masters. The award-winning 47-piece Napa High School Orchestra perform their annual fall concert at the Jarvis Conservatory. Directed by Harry Cadelago, the orchestra have toured from Hawaii to England. Proceeds benefit Napa High School's music program. Nov. 19, 7:30pm. Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main St., Napa. $20 adults; $10 students. 707.255.5445.

A Winter Talisman. Master Scots fiddler Johnny Cunningham and Irish vocalist Susan McKeown team up to present the winter traditions of their homelands via Celtic poetry, music, and song. They still cut the cold with whiskey in Scotland and Ireland, and many of the tunes are old-time drinking ditties. Be fortified. Nov. 21, 8pm. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. $25 reserved; $20 advance general; $23 at the door. 707.823.1511.

A Serenade to Music. Guest soloists Sharon Daniels and Dan Sullivan join the Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus for this fall concert featuring pieces by Ralph Vaughan Williams and other English composers. Nov. 22, 8pm; Nov. 23, 3pm. Santa Rosa High School Auditorium, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. $15 adults; $10 seniors and students. 707.579.6030.

Young People's Chamber Orchestra. Two dozen gifted young musicians compose this string-chamber orchestra directed by Santa Rosa Symphony principal violinist Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca. The program includes Handel's Harp Concerto, Vittorio Monti's "Csárdás," and A Village Wedding, a world premiere by composer in residence Thomas Goss. Nov. 22, 8pm. First United Methodist Church, 1551 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa. Tickets available at the door. $8 adults; $5 students and seniors. 707.546.7097, ext. 225.

Brilliant Gifts. Conductor Leif Bjaland and master cellist Min-Ji Kim lead the Marin Symphony through works by Beethoven, Barber, and Dvorák. Nov. 23 and 25, 7:30pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $22, $37, and $49 (50 percent off with student ID). 415.499.6800.

San Francisco Gay Men's Choir. The San Francisco Gay Men's Choir graces Santa Rosa with its manifold voices this season once again. And, once again, their performance benefits the worthy Face to Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network. Dec. 14, 5pm reception; 6pm performance. Jackson Theater, Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day Schoo Place, Santa Rosa. $20. 707.544.1581.

Carols in the Caves. You don't have to be a spelunker to enjoy eccentric acoustic musical improvisator David Auerbach's strange and wonderful Carols in the Caves events. Auberbach plays his interpretations of holiday favorites on his own handmade instruments Nov. 29, 7:30pm, Sebastinani Vineyards and Winery, 389 Fourth St., Sonoma; Dec. 6-7, 7pm, Scug Carneros Winery, 602 Bonneau Road, Sonoma; Dec.13-14, 2pm, Hans Fahden Vineyards, 4855 Petrified Road, Calistoga; Dec. 20-21, 2pm, Frazier Winery, 60 Rapp Lane, Napa; Dec. 27, 7:30pm, and Dec. 28, 7pm, A Year's End Concert, Buena Vista Winery, 18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma. $38 all events. 702.224.4222. www.carolsinthecaves.com.

Occidental Community Choir. The Occidental Community Choir blend original, traditional, and inspirational music in their 25th annual celebration of the holidays and the winter solstice. Recipient of the Bohemian's 2003 Indy Award for being a "cultural gem," the choir, directed by Doug Bowes, will perform four local concerts this season. Dec. 6, 8pm, and Dec. 7, 3pm, St. Phillips Catholic Center, Occidental ($10; free ages 14 and under); Dec. 13, 8pm, Sebastopol United Methodist Church, Sebastopol ($10; free ages 14 and under); Dec. 14, 3pm, Church of Incarnation, Santa Rosa (free for all ages). 707.547.0204.

The Edlos. The zany a cappella group return to the North Bay with their special blend of musical/theatrical performance guaranteed to make audiences laugh, sigh, swoon, cry, or all of the above. Dec. 5, 8pm, Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg ($18 adults; $10 ages 17 and under), 707.433.6335, www.healdsburgpat.org; Dec. 13, 8pm, Showcase Theater, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 415.499.6800.

Ancient Glory: Early Music for the Christmas Season. Northern California's oldest Renaissance ensemble, the Festival Consort, exclusively perform music from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries using period instruments such as shawms, recorders, crumhorns, and the hurdy-gurdy. Dec. 8, 12:15pm, Santa Rosa Junior College, Newman Auditorium,1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.527.4372; Dec. 10, 7pm, Petaluma Campus, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma. Both events are free. 707.778.3801.

Holiday Choral Concert. The renowned Jarvis Conservatory in Napa leads three top local high school choral ensembles--the Napa High School Chamber Choir, Santa Rosa High School Chamber, and Monte Vista Chamber Choir from Danville--in this annual event. Proceeds go directly to the schools' music programs. Dec. 13, 7pm. Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main St., Napa. $25 adults; $15 students. 707.255.5445.

Family Concerts at Churchill Manor. Pocket Opera maestro and pianist Donald Pippin, soprano Marcia Cope-Hart, mezzo Margery Tede, and baritone Tim Campell perform selections from Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute, and other holiday fare. This family-oriented event is sponsored by Napa Valley Music Associates. Dec. 14, 2:30pm. Churchill Manor, 485 Brown St., Napa. $20 (discounts available for students, seniors, and families with children under 12). 707.252.8671.

Christmas Jug Band. Rancho Nicasio goes hillbilly deluxe for the holidays with the Bay Area's renowned Christmas Jug Band. Featuring the Accordions from Hell, these mirthful lads know how to make merry. Dec. 14, call for time. Rancho Nicasio, On the Town Square, Nicasio. Call for ticket prices. 415.662.2219. www.ranchonicasio.com.

'Tis the Season. Director Betty Zukov and accompanist Susan Nelson lead the Healdsburg Community Chorus in a concert of holiday hits. Dec.14, 4pm; Dec 15, 7pm. Healdsburg Community Church, 1100 University Ave., Healdsburg. $8 adults; $6 seniors and children under 12. 707.433.8513.

Chanticleer: An Orchestra of Voices. San Francisco's internationally acclaimed 12-man a cappella choral ensemble pay a visit to Petaluma during their annual Christmas tour of the Bay Area. Dec. 15, 6pm and 8:30pm. St. Vincent Church, 35 Liberty St., Petaluma. General: $25; $37 and $34 reserved. Students and seniors: $22; $34 and $31 reserved. 800.407.1400. www.chanticleer.org.

Free Band Concert. Co-directors Lew Sbrana and Bert Williams lead the Healdsburg Community Band through a slew of holiday classics. Dec. 16, 7:30pm. Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Free. 707.433.6335. www.healdsburgpat.org.

Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah. The 23rd annual performance of George F. Handel's Messiah, with conductor R. Daniel Earl, guest soloists Lisa May of Castro Valley, Katharine Willens of Sebastopol, and tenor Andrew DelMonte of Windsor. The Baroque Sinfonia orchestra and a 100-voice onstage chorus help the audience sing along. Proceeds benefit Hospital Chaplaincy Services in Sonoma County. Dec. 17, 7:30pm. LBC, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $16; $12 seniors and students. 707.537.6809. www.sing-along-messiah.org.

All-Star Jug Band. Playing the jug is easy--just put your lips together and blow. OK, it's not that easy, but these local musical stars put on one heck of a holiday hootenanny. Dec. 20. Call for time. Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Call for ticket prices. 707.433.6335. www.healdsburgpat.org.

Adult Holiday Concert. St. Vincent's Church hosts Petaluma Sings! a collaboration between Petaluma Women's Chorus and the Cinnebar Chamber Singers, in a performance of Ariel Ramirez's folk drama of the Nativity, Navidad Nuestra. Dec. 20, 8pm. St. Vincent's Church, 35 Liberty St., Petaluma. $12; $10 seniors and students; $8 children 12 and under. 707.763.8920.

Christmas Jug Band. One needn't be a hobo to appreciate this eight-man all-acoustic jug-band combo. A 25-year favorite on the Bay Area Yuletide circuit, their first album, Mistletoe Jam, has just been re-released on CD. Dec. 20, 3pm and 7:30pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Call for ticket prices. 415.499.6800.

'Tis the Season: World Traditions. SingersMarin, five choral ensembles led by artistic director Jan Pedersen Schiff, celebrate holiday traditions from around the world, including Hanukkah songs and traditional winter favorites. Dec. 20, 1pm and 5pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $26 and $21; $14 seniors and children under 12. 415.499.6800.

Holiday Concert by Candlelight. The Marin Symphony Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Chorus perform by candlelight at St. Raphael's Church for two special holiday concerts. Conducted by Stephen McKersie, the concerts feature the music of Durante, Bach, Rutter, and Biebel, plus an audience sing-along of traditional carols. Dec. 6, 7:30pm; Dec. 7, 4pm. St. Raphael's Church, 1004 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. 415.479.8100.

Kwanzaa Celebration. Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum holds its 16th annual Kwanzaa Celebration, a joyous, fun-filled event that honors African-American family and community. Highlights include hands-on activities for children and adults, live dance and musical performances, and soul food. Dec. 26, noon-4pm. Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. 415.487.4398. www.badm.org.

Dance Through the Holidays

''Twas the Night before Christmas.' Teresa Lubarsky's Healdsburg Ballet perform a full-length story ballet based on the classic Christmas poem. Dec. 6, 7:30pm; Dec. 7, 2:30pm. Jackson Theater, Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $17 adults; $12 seniors and children under 12. 707.431.7617.

Stapleton Ballet 'Nutcracker.' Join Clara on a dreamy, magical journey to the Land of the Sweets in the Stapleton Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. Featuring extravagant sets and costumes and 100 trained ballet dancers, artistic director Virginia Stapleton's rendition of the holiday favorite is a perennial hit. Dec. 6, 1pm and 5pm; Dec. 7, 1pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $21; $14 youth and seniors. 415.499.6800.

Marin Ballet 'Nutcracker.' The North Bay's most lavish production of the holiday classic, Marin Ballet's Nutcracker features costumes by David O. Roberts and sets designed at New York's Metropolitan Opera by Miguel Romeo. Performers include professional guest dancers and 150 students from Marin's nationally recognized dance training center. Dec. 13 and 14, 1pm and 5pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $28; $16 youth and seniors. 415.499.6800.

'Not a Nutcracker.' The superlative Savage Jazz Dance Company perform to Duke Ellington's interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker in a new work artistic director Reginald Ray-Savage nicknamed Not a Nutcracker. Proceeds benefit Marin County's Cascade Canyon School in Fairfax. Dec. 14, 2pm. Showcase Theater, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $30 adults; $15 students 17 and under. 415.499.6800.

Ballet Califia's 'Nutcracker.' Ballet Califia cofounder and artistic director David McNaughton presents Tchaikovsky's Christmas classic. Dec. 19, 8pm; Dec. 20, 2:30pm and 8pm; Dec. 21, 2:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $16; $12 seniors and youth. 707.588.3430.

Sophie and the Enchanted Toy Shop. An enchanting, full-length children's ballet performed by more than 90 dancers from Marin Dance Theater. Watch in awe as Valentina Ballerina and the Dancing Bear come to life amid a Dickensian street scene. Dec. 20, 1pm and 5pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $21 and $26; $14 seniors and children under 12. 415.499.6800.

Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernández. Mexico's finest dance company bring Christmas south-of-the-border-style to the North Bay. An accomplished, colorful company, Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernández is just the ticket for dance fans searching for something new this Christmas. Dec. 28, 3pm. Marin Center's Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags. $25-$45; $18 students under 18. 415.499.6800.

'Las Posadas.' Las Posada (The Inns) is a bilingual event based on the traditional Mexican celebration honoring Mary and Joseph. The story of their journey to Bethlehem is told through music and dance in an atmosphere that promotes sharing between cultures. Sponsored by the Mother Lode Musical Theater and Dance Palace Community Center in Pt. Reyes Station. Dec. 13, 2pm. The Dance Palace, Fifth and B streets, Pt. Reyes Station. Free. 415.663.1075.

Seasoned Musicals and Drama

'The Lion in Winter.' A staged reading of James Goldman's novel set around Christmas 1183 and Henry II's comedic efforts to choose a successor to the throne. Presented by the Sonoma Community Center and Sonoma Readers' Theatre. Nov. 14-15 and 21-22, 8pm. Backstage Theater, Sonoma Community Theater, 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma. $8; $7 members. 707.938.4626, ext. 1.

'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' The Novato Community Players present the biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Nov. 14-15 and 21-22, 8pm; Nov. 16 and 23, 3pm. The Novato Community House, 908 Machin Ave., Novato. 415.892.3005.

'My Three Angels.' The Ross Valley Players present a holiday play with a twist: the three angels referred to in the title are convicts, the unlikely saviors of a family living in French Guyana. Directed by Linda Dunn. Nov. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20, 8pm; Dec. 4, 11, and 18, 7:30pm; Dec. 7, 14, and 21, 2pm. The Barn Theater, Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. $17; $14 youth 14 and under; $12 for all on Thursdays. 415.456.9555.

Four Days of Storytelling and Cartooning Fun. The Charles M. Schulz Museum presents storytellers and cartoonists Joe Wos and Kevin Fagan for a special Thanksgiving engagement. Wos will demonstrate his famous quick-drawing comedy and teach a cartooning workshop; Fagan presents a "chalk talk" of his popular comic strip, "Honeybunch." Joe Wos appears Nov. 26, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 4:30pm, and Nov. 28, 2pm and 3:45pm. Fagan appears Nov. 28, 1pm. Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. $8 adults; $5 seniors; free for members and students under 18 with ID. 707.579.4452. www.schulzmuseum.org.

'A Christmas Carol.' Director Sarah Rose Best and Dreamweavers Theatre present Dickens' classic holiday tale of personal transformation. This postmodern update is a play within a play, as characters from a traveling theater troupe become the roles they've been playing onstage. Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20, 8pm; Dec. 7, 14, 21, and 24 (Christmas Eve), 2pm. Dreamweavers Theatre, 1637 Imola Ave., Napa. 707.255.5483.

'It's a Wonderful Life.' Frank Capra has nothing on the Cinnabar Young Repertory Theater's live production of the classic holiday film. Dec. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20, 7:30 pm; Dec. 14 and 21, 2pm. Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. $12; $8 children 12 and under. 707.763.8920. www.cinnabartheater.org.

'Fully Committed.' Becky Mode's critically acclaimed play is one-man tour de force directed by and starring Argo Thompson. A special holiday production by Actors Theatre. Dec 11-13 and 18-20, 8pm; Dec. 14 and 21, 2 pm. Actors Theatre, LBC, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $22; $18 seniors; $15 youth 21 and under. 707.523.4185. www.actorstheatre.com.

'Pinocchio.' Imagination Foundation's annual production features young actors drawn from the community in the classic tale of the puppet boy whose nose grows when he tells a lie. Dec. 15-16, call for time and ticket prices. Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. 707.433.6335. www.healdsburgpat.org.

Faire Thee Well

Holiday Art Sale. The Sebastopol Center for the Arts opens up its doors for a sale and members' show. Buy yourself a little something special--forget the gifts. It starts Nov. 20 and goes all the way through Jan. 4, so post-holiday gifting is entirely sanctioned. Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol. Free. 707.829.4797. www.sebarts.org.

Gifts 'n' Tyme. Napa Valley Exposition event with 82 booths featuring handmade arts and crafts and homemade foods. Nov. 21, 11am-6pm; Nov. 22, 10am-6pm; Nov. 23, 11am-5pm. Chardonnay Hall, Napa Valley Exposition, 575 Third St., Napa. 925.372.8961.

Holiday Jubilee. Bring your shopping list to this juried exhibition of crafts and food items. Nov. 21, 11am-7pm; Nov. 22, 11am-5pm. Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $5 adults; $2 children. 707.431.7617. www.holidayjubilee.com.

Cultural Center Craft Faire. Bypass the holiday crowds and head to bucolic San Geronimo for homemade gifts such as jewelry, clothing, candles, etc. Nov. 22, 10am-6pm; Nov. 23, noon-5pm. San Geronimo Valley Cultural Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo. 415.488.9385.

Season of Hope Craft Fair. Homemade crafts for the holidays. Nov. 28-29, 9am-4pm. American Legion Hall, 1240 Pearl St., Napa. 707.265.0685.

Chateau Souverain Crafts Fair. Homemade crafts and specialty-food vendors highlight this fair in the quaint little town of Geyserville. Nov. 28-29, Chateau Souverain, 400 Souverain Road, Geyserville. 707.433.8281.

Christmas Crafts Faire. Handcrafted, affordable gifts include jewelry, pottery, dolls, dried-flower arrangements, ceramics, ornaments, and much more. Proceeds benefit Russian River Watershed Protection Committee. Nov. 28-30, 10am-5pm. Santa Rosa Veterans Auditorium, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.869.0054.

Herbal Holiday Gift Making. Autumn Summers teaches how to make gifts from the heart using herbs, spices, and flowers. Learn how to make your own lip balm, dream pillows, creams, bath salts, and more. Dec. 6, 10am-2:30pm. California School of Herbal Studies, 9309 Hwy. 116, Forestville. $45-$60 sliding scale. 707.887.7457.

Spirit of Christmas Crafts Faire. For the 27th annual event at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, a new Santa's North Pole village theme provides the holiday spirit, along with hundreds of vendor booths, wine and food tasting, and more. Nov. 28, Dec. 5, and 12, noon-8pm; Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, and 13-14, 10am-6pm. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. $5 adults; $2 seniors and kids; seniors free on Friday. 707.575.9355.

Dance Palace Holiday Crafts Fair. Handcrafted gifts and delicious refreshments in scenic Pt. Reyes Station. Dec. 5-7, the Dance Palace, Fifth and B streets, Pt. Reyes Station. 415.663.1075.

Holiday Craft Faire. Dec. 5-6. Novato. 415.893.7940.

Antique and Collectors' Fair. Elegant china, silver, glassware, pottery, linens, Christmas ornaments and much more are available at this antique showcase. Dec. 6, 10am-6pm; Dec. 7, 10am-5pm. Exhibit Hall, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $5 at door only. www.goldengateshows.com.

Annual Holiday Crafts Fair. The Occidental Community Council presents the 18th annual crafts fair, featuring hand-woven shawls, ornaments, one-of-a-kind jewelry, ethnic pottery, and more. Dec. 13-14, 10am-5pm, Occidental Community Center, corner of Graton Road and Bohemian Highway, Occidental. 707.874.1673.

Holiday Wining and Dining

Holiday Affair. Ferrari-Carano kicks off the season with its 17th annual harvest and holiday celebration featuring fine food and wine, and strolls through beautiful gardens. Nov. 15, 11am-4pm. Ferrari-Carano, 8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. $15. 800.831.0381.

Holiday Dinner. St. Francis Winery pulls out all the stops for its final dinner of the year. Menu features field greens with stilton, prime rib with au jus and Yorkshire pudding, and Zinfandel sorbet, plus an excellent selection of St. Francis wines. Nov. 15, 6:30-9:30pm. St. Francis Winery, 100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa. $95 public; $85 Patrons Wine Club members. 800.543.7713.

Holiday Open House. Paradise Ridge Winery unveils the highly anticipated Rockpile Appellation 2000 Cabernet Sauvingnon, and the public is invited. Meet the owners and the winemakers, sample wines and delicious hors d'oeuvres, and appreciate new art by Pamela Stefl. Nov. 28, 11am-5:30pm. Paradise Ridge Winery, 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive, Santa Rosa. Free. 707.528.9463.

Heart of Sonoma Valley Holiday Open House. Wineries in Glen Ellen and Kenwood throw open their doors in the spirit of the season. Two days of gourmet food and wine pairings at Arrowood, Blackstone, Chateau St. Jean, Family Wineries, Kunde Estate, Ledson, Mayo, St. Francis, Stone Creek, Wellington, and the Wine Room. Nov. 28-29, 11am-4:30pm. Kenwood and Glen Ellen. $20; free for designated drivers. 800.543.7713, ext. 242.

Holiday Ball. Support the Queen of the Valley at the third annual holiday ball, featuring gourmet dining, dancing, and live and silent auctions. Proceeds benefit Queen of the Valley Hospital. Black tie welcome, but optional. Dec. 7, 5:30pm-11pm. Silverado Country Club, 1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. $175 per person. 707.251.1882.

Holiday Victorian Tea. Be prim and proper as the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum hosts its annual Victorian Tea. Servants in authentic dress serve tea in authentic bone china, inside elaborately decorated Victorian museum. Proceeds benefit museum. Dec. 7 reserved seatings at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Petaluma Historical Library and Museum, 20 Fourth St., Petaluma. 877.273.8258.

Lifting Spirits

Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run. Fire up the bike, strap on some toys to donate to disadvantaged youth, and join the Cloverdale Lions Club for its annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run. Motorcycles rendezvous at Cloverdale Citrus Fair Parking Lot in Cloverdale. Nov. 28, 9am registration, 11am run. 707.894.5585.

Light and Song in the Dark of the Year. John Tarrant, director of Pacific Zen Institute, and Gator Beat bandleader Rich Domingue lead a meditation inside James Turrell's installation Raemar to prepare for the hectic holidays. Dec. 3, 6-8pm. Sonoma County Museum, 425 Seventh St., Santa Rosa. Free. Reservations required. 707.579.1500.

Holiday Blues. When a family member or a loved one faces a life-threatening illness, the holidays can be especially trying. Hospice is here to help. For those who have recently lost a loved one, Hospice of Petaluma and Memorial Hospice in Santa Rosa offer special drop-in support clinics to cope with stress and grief that can come with the holidays. Nov. 18-Dec. 30, Tuesday evenings, Memorial Hospice, 821 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.568.1094; Nov. 18-Dec. 30, Hospice of Petaluma, 416 Payran St., Petaluma, 707.778.6242.

Service of Remembrance. Sutter VNA and Hospice hosts annual service to honor the memory of loved ones who have passed on. Candles will be lighted and names read during this nondenominational service. Call 707.535.5780 to RSVP and have the name of your loved one read at this very special event. Dec. 3, 6:30-7:30pm. Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. 707.535.5780.

Light Up a Life. Help Hospice of Petaluma lift sagging spirits by attending the annual tree-lighting ceremony. A $10 donation purchases a light to symbolize the life, hopes, and dreams of a loved one. Lights will help illuminate three majestic evergreen trees through holiday season. Dec. 5, 7pm. Center Park, Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma. 707.778.6242.

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From the November 13-19, 2003 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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