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5 Things To Do in Santa Cruz: Dec. 18-24

Holiday lights, toy trains and beyond

A weekly guide to what’s happening

Green Fix 

Holiday Lights Train

Can’t get a ride on Santa’s sleigh? Don’t worry, get a lift to the North Pole the next best way. And by “North Pole,” we mean the amazing Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train, with spiced cider and holiday carols to spark up the cheer. Kids, neighbors, grandmas, friends, friends we haven’t met yet—all aboard!

INFO: 5 and 6:30pm through Monday, Dec. 23. Leaves from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Neptune’s Kingdom, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. roaringcamp.com. Adults $34/children $28.

Art Seen 

Toy Trains 

Destined to delight both the young and young at heart, the MAH’s annual Toy Trains exhibit is a marvel of astonishingly lifelike trains and landscapes to inspire any age group this holiday season. The event showcases model trains through history, from the 1920s to today, and includes steam engines, electric trains and all of the bells and whistles to boot. Members of the Golden State Toy Train Operators will be on hand to help young engineers master the controls and answer questions. Bring your own toy train to put on the track. 

INFO: Show runs Friday, Dec. 20-Sunday, Dec. 29. Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St., Santa Cruz. Free.

Saturday 12/21 

‘Christmas with the Chorale’

The Santa Cruz Chorale will open this season with their traditional December holiday concert Christmas with the Chorale. As always, the Santa Cruz Chorale will be joined by the Monterey Bay Sinfonietta. The centerpiece of the concert will be Dietrich Buxtehude’s Magnificat for choir and instruments, presented alongside a cappella “Magnificat,” with settings by Anton Bruckner, Max Reger and Arvo Pärt, whose famous “Magnificat” was composed especially for Christian Grube and his Berlin boys’ choir. A special treat in the program is the world premiere of a piece by Estonian Pärt Uusberg. Conductor Christian Grube has also selected a variety of pieces that express the many meanings of Christmas, from composers like Kodaly, Vaughan Williams, Tavener, and Paminger. The Christmas program will close with carols from around the world. 

INFO: 8pm. Holy Cross Church, 126 High St., Santa Cruz. 427-8023, santacruzchorale.org. $30. 

Thursday 12/19 

Dem Debate Watch Party 

The sixth of 12 Democratic presidential debates will be broadcast live from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The Santa Cruz County Democratic Central Committee is hosting a special Dem debate watch party, which is also a good place to go to commiserate about that one time you stood in line for hours to see Bernie in Santa Cruz and didn’t actually get into the venue.

INFO: 5-8pm. Santa Cruz County Democratic Party, 740 Front St. #165, Santa Cruz. 427-2516, cruzdemocrats.org. Free. 

Saturday 12/21 

Oberufer ‘Shepherds’ Play’

This special show has been performed every year since medieval times by people around the world. An annual holiday tradition, the Oberufer Shepherds’ Play is a unique community Christmas event that tells the Christmas story from the point of view of the shepherds in a unique, humorous and warm-hearted way. Featuring amateur and professional local actors and musicians, this year’s play will be one night only. The cast is drawn from the Santa Cruz Waldorf School, the Anthroposophical Branch and the Camphill Communities California. 

INFO: 6pm. Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz. 212-1947. $12 general/$8 children.

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