Silicon Valley Wanderings

By Robert Haugh

The Holiday season has arrived. Here’s a number of events, including many Mission City traditions.

Friday, December 1

Santa Clara Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Central Park (909 Kiely Blvd.)

5 to 9 p.m.

Highlights include: the tree lighting (6:55 p.m.) with honorary tree lighter George A. Santich, meet and greet with Santa, fireworks (7:03 p.m.) live music, and ice skating. The event will be broadcasted live on the City of Santa Clara Facebook page and the City’s YouTube channel.


Saturday, December 2

Mission Renovation Celebration

Mission Library (1089 Lexington Street)

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Renovation Celebration brings the community together for a day of fun performances, information about the renovation, and a book sale. Activities include a book sale, tours of the renovations, speeches from City dignitaries, performances by The Bubble Lady and the Peninsula Banjo Band, as well as an appearance by Santa and Pete the Cat.

Thursday, December 7 through Tuesday, December 11

20th Annual Bethlehem Santa Clara 

Santa Clara First Baptist Church (3111 Benton Street)

Five 30-minute performances each night starting with 6:30 p.m.

View a highlight video here

The Bethlehem production include a live drama that brings guests back in time over 2,000 years to witness the historical birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The church’s parking lot is covered with over 150 tons of sand with more than 100 actors donning Biblical-style clothing, life-size buildings and bridges encompassing over 40,000 square feet, as well as many exotic animals including camels and llamas.

A hands-on marketplace features interactive booths such as weaving, basket making, perfume making and baking. Adults can sample fresh, unfermented wine from a genuine wine press. There are ancient-style games such as bowling, checkers and marbles as well.


Saturday, December 9

Run & Ride Race at Great America

See Great America in a new way, with a Run & Ride race through the park. Choose a 10K, 5K, and/or 1-mile fun run in and around the park before the gates are even open to the public. Participants enjoy some fabulous swag — including entrance to WinterFest, a one-of-a-kind race shirt, and a collectible and connectable finisher medal. Run & Ride will donate $2 for every 10K and 5K entry and $1 for every 1-mile entry to the local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10

Santa Clara Ballet’s Nutcracker 

Santa Clara Convention Center (5001 Great America Parkway)

Saturday – 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Sunday – 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.


Santa Clara Ballet Company, now in its 44th year, spotlights acclaimed professionals alongside company soloists and pre-professional students from the Santa Clara Ballet School.  Joining the production are dancers from several schools in the South Bay.

Andre Reyes, former principal dancer, San Francisco Ballet, will return to perform, joined by Marcos Vedovetto, who was most recently with San Francisco Opera Ballet; Sharon Kung, with Dance Theatre of San Francisco; and Mikhail Guz, Principal Dancer with the Santa Clara Ballet Company.  Rowan Allegra will reprise her role with the Santa Clara Ballet as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Weekends Through December 30

California’s Great America – WinterFest 2017

California’s Great America (4701 Great America Parkway)

Great America transforms into a winter wonderland of enchantment and holiday cheer during WinterFest. There will be holiday lights and decor, world-class live entertainment and Holiday treats throughout the park.                                    



  1. Robert, thanks for your excellent summary.
    I haven’t been to the tree lighting ceremony since I couldn’t get them to call the Christmas tree a Christmas tree.
    The Annual Bethlehem Santa Clara event is really worth attending at least once if you haven’t. We took the grandkids there one year and they loved it.

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