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Top December Events in the East Bay

Food, festivals and fun events fill the month with holiday spirit.



Lighted Yacht Parade
Witness a spectacular sight when elaborately lit and decorated boats parade down the estuary between Oakland and Alameda to benefit Oakland Firefighters Random Acts and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. lightedyachtparade.com.


Holidays in the Vineyards
12/2–12/3 Livermore Valley
wineries will display their holiday spirit, with decorated tasting rooms, special wines, guest vendors, and winter-themed activities. lvwine.org.

Photo credit: Lisa Bullwinkel


Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto
The Snow Queen presides over this free event in which real snow is brought to Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. Families can also enjoy pony rides, crafts, and plenty of shopping. anotherbullwinkelshow.com.

Free Movie 

The Polar Express
12/14 Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved children’s book The Polar Express comes to life at the Orinda Theatre. Reuniting with Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis, Tom Hanks voices five different characters in this Christmas-themed adventure. lamorindatheatres.com.


The Hard Nut
Mark Morris’ gleeful take on The Nutcracker makes its long-awaited return to Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Based on the original book by E.T.A. Hoffmann and featuring Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, this dance performance reinvents the classic holiday ballet. calperformances.org


A Lemony Snicket Holiday
Head to the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek to see the California Symphony perform The Composer Is Dead, a musical murder mystery written by popular children’s author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and narrated by Broadway star Manoel Felciano. californiasymphony.org.


The Nutcracker
12/23–12/24 For a more traditional take on a seasonal classic, don’t miss this elegant performance by the Oakland Ballet Company, featuring the musical talents of the Oakland Symphony and the beautiful art deco facade of the Paramount Theatre. oaklandballet.org


Last-Minute Gifts 

Procrastinated on your holiday shopping? Have no fear: The Bay Area offers plenty of chances to find that perfect handmade gift for a loved one at its many seasonal craft fairs. Here are a few of our favorites.

12/2–12/3 BG Craft Fest
Local makers and designers come together for this two-day festival of artisanal crafts and goods at Walnut Creek’s Bedford Gallery. Purchase tickets in advance for seasonal, hands-on workshops with select artists. bedfordgallery.org

12/2–12/3 Muir Beach Holiday Arts Fair
This annual fair at the Muir Beach Community Center—which features approximately 40 artists and their carefully crafted wares—also offers stunning views of the beach and ocean. muirbeachartsfair.com.

12/16–12/17 Craneway Crafts Fair
Benefiting KPFA Radio, this craft fair showcases work by more than 200 exhibitors, who offer everything from clothing to candles at the Craneway Pavilion along the Richmond waterfront. Check out handmade wares while enjoying live music. cranewaycraftsfair.com

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