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Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto

For one enchanting day, snow covers the streets of this Berkeley neighborhood.


At the event, a “snow queen” meets with children, listens to their wishes, and gives them each a snowflake.

Photo by Lisa Bullwinkel

If you’ve been dreaming of a White Christmas, look no further than Berkeley this month. For the 10th year, the city’s Gourmet Ghetto—the strip of restaurants, boutiques, and galleries along Shattuck Avenue near Vine Street—will transform into a snowy haven for Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto on December 2.

On that magical morning, 10 tons of snow are trucked in and distributed over the street (or sprinkled by Santa as he flies over in his sleigh, depending on whom you ask). Kids can then go wild, building snowmen, having snowball fights, and romping around the powdery playground. While they frolic, their parents can do some holiday shopping at the local artisan fair and warm their hands on free cups of hot cider.

The event includes plenty of other activities too, from Oakland Ballet Company dancers performing pieces from The Nutcracker and the California Revels ensemble singing seasonal tunes to pony rides and crafts for children. Particularly special are the snowballs sold to support Berkeley Public Schools. Some of the icy orbs have prizes inside, but one noteworthy snowball contains a real diamond ring ​donated by M. Lowe and Co. Shell out $10 for a chance to be the lucky winner.

While all of Snow Day’s offerings bring buckets of fun, event organizer Lisa Bullwinkel says the snow is still her favorite part. “There are a lot of kids who’ve never seen snow, and this is their first time experiencing it,” she says. “So, it’s very cute to watch them.”

Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.


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