Plenty to do when home for the holidays in Fallbrook

Santa and his reindeer fly through the air above Main Avenue during the 2016 Fallbrook Christmas Parade. This year’s parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 2 beginning at 5 p.m. Shane Gibson photo

There is no shortage of holiday cheer in Fallbrook, where Christmas festivities really get rolling this weekend (Dec. 1-3).

Friday, the Fallbrook Community Center hosts the official Fallbrook Holiday Tree Lighting. Saturday evening, the 36th edition of the Fallbrook Christmas Parade will travel down Main Avenue. Sunday, the Fallbrook Historical Society will host an “Old-Fashioned Christmas” open house, and Valley Fort Village Shops will present a Holiday Bazaar.

The Fallbrook Community Center is located at 341 Heald Lane and the holiday tree lighting celebration takes place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The free event will feature music, singing and dancing by local performers, food and drink, holiday shopping opportunities, and plenty of activities for kids.

The highlight of the night, of course, is the lighting of the 50-foot holiday tree that stands in front of the Fallbrook Community Center. Thousands of sparkling LED lights will give life to the 35-year-old tree, which will be lit nightly through Dec. 31.

Parking is limited at the community center and therefore people are encouraged to carpool or take the free shuttle that will run from SonRise Christian Fellowship Church (463 S. Stage Coach Ln.) to the community center from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“It’s a very fun evening that really gets you into the holiday spirit,” said Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce CEO Lila MacDonald of the holiday tree lighting.

“A Jingle Bell Christmas” is the theme of this year’s Fallbrook Christmas Parade, which will feature 100 entries (the maximum allowed), including lighted floats, marching bands, vintage cars, fire trucks both new and old, vintage law enforcement vehicles, and equestrian units. They will all make their way down Main Avenue from Ammunition to Ivy Street.

“Every year we have so much community involvement (in the parade),” said MacDonald, who added that the majority of Fallbrook residents come out for the parade. “People are either in the parade, helping with the parade or watching the parade.”

MacDonald said the popularity of the nighttime parade, which begins at 5 p.m., has resulted in some people setting up chairs Friday night. While she appreciates the enthusiasm for the parade, MacDonald asks that people respect Main Avenue business owners.

“I just urge people to keep in mind they’re in front of businesses and to not block the doorways,” said MacDonald.

Gladyce (“Glad”) Hiscock is the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade.

Getting ready for the parade, the Hampton family decorates with an original float from the Rose Parade.

“Glad is a longtime Fallbrook resident who spent many years volunteering throughout the community,” said MacDonald of Hiscock, who resides at Regency Fallbrook. “She was super moved (to be named Grand Marshal) and really humble. She thought there were many other people who were well-deserving.”

MacDonald said VIP guests at this year’s parade include Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Supervisor Bill Horn, and California Highway Patrol Capt. Amy Mangan.

The Fallbrook Historical Society will host its “Old-Fashioned Christmas” open house from noon to 3 p.m. at 1730 S. Hill Ave. (Rocky Crest at Hill). Tours of the museum buildings will be offered along with free refreshments, arts and crafts, and vendor booths. There will also be classic cars on display, joyous carolers, and a visit from Santa Claus at 2 p.m.

Valley Fort Village Shops, located at 3757 S. Mission Rd., will present its Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both this Sunday and next Sunday (Dec. 10). The event affords people the opportunity to find holiday gifts while shopping in a unique village setting.

Holiday season fun and shopping started early – the first week in November – and continues through Dec. 24 at both Myrtle Creek (2940 Reche Rd.) and the Fallbrook Art Center (103 S. Main Ave.).

Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens & Nursery’s “A Farmhouse Christmas” features holiday decor throughout the gardens and a gift shop filled with unique presents and holiday decorations. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and visitors can dine at a cozy coffee shop and open air cafe and enjoy a slice of the famous Myrtle Berry pie.

The Fallbrook Art Center is presenting “Art of the Holiday,” where guests have the opportunity to purchase hand-crafted holiday gifts produced by local artists, including jewelry, glassware, and wearable art. The Fallbrook Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

“We have amazing shops all around Fallbrook and that’s why I always urge people to shop local,” said MacDonald. “Forget the malls and forget the socks and underwear. Stay here and buy something really cool for family and friends.”

Popular upcoming events include the chamber’s Holiday Wine & A Bite Holiday Art Walk Dec. 8, the Fallbrook Chorale’s Christmas concert Dec. 9 at SonRise, Breakfast With Santa at the Fallbrook Community Center Dec. 16, and Brunch with Santa at the Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens Dec. 17.

The chamber has partnered with nonprofits throughout the year on its Wine & a Bite Art Walks and the Foundation for Senior Care will be the beneficiary of the holiday edition, which is limited to 150 participants and takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will enjoy delicious foods, sip fine wines and see several artists “in action” while visiting cheerfully-decorated local businesses. To reserve a spot, stop by the chamber office at 111 S. Main Ave., call (760) 728-5845 or visit www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org.

The Fallbrook Chorale’s “Christmas Ornaments” concert begins at 3 p.m. and will feature more than 50 voices and a chamber ensemble performing a mixture of holiday favorites. Tickets can be purchased from Chorale members, at Major Market and through www.fallbrookchorale.org.

The Fallbrook Community Center welcomes Santa and all those that would like to have a hot breakfast with him from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Breakfast is only $5 for all ages and the event includes arts and crafts and entertainment for the entire family. Santa will be available for photos at 9 a.m.

The Grand Tradition, located at 220 Grand Tradition Way, will offer a delicious brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lavishly-decorated Beverly Mansion ballroom. The event will feature dancing ballerinas, storytelling, holiday crafts for kids, carolers and a visit from Santa. For more information or tickets, www.grandtradition.com.

“The Grand Tradition is a cool venue any time of the year but at Christmas, when they have it all decked out, it is even more spectacular,” said MacDonald.

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