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Old Town decks the halls for Country Christmas

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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If you’re looking for some old-fashioned holiday fun, Old Town Auburn’s the place to be this weekend. Old Town Country Christmas is going on, as planned, from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. Event coordinators opted to reschedule after last weekend’s wet weather, and it appears to have been the right move — the National Weather Service forecasts a dry Saturday for Auburn. The 23rd annual event, presented by the Old Town Business Association, promises to be an evening of music, entertainment and plenty of holiday cheer. Highlights include a bonfire, food and craft vendors, hay wagon and pony rides, a visit by Santa Claus in Herschel Young Park, the Thunderfoot Cloggers, Scottish dancers and more. Kicking off the entertainment is the Auburn Concert Band’s brass choir, performing around 6 p.m. “As a brass choral group, we play traditional Christmas carols,” said Jeff Gooding, a band member. Gooding enjoys being an active participant in such a festive event. “For Old Town Country Christmas, the fun is the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s Old Town, we get to play for an audience that moves around. We enjoy being in that atmosphere and we enjoy being a part of that atmosphere.” Also returning to this year’s Old Town Country Christmas is the Pamelot School of Dance. Pam Harrold, Pamelot owner, said some two dozen of her young dancers plan to perform numbers from jazz and musical theater from 7 to 7:30 p.m. “We have a half-hour show and then we’re doing a surprise that is going to involve anyone who wants to be involved,” she said. Harrold’s lips are sealed when it comes to further details about Saturday’s surprise. She did, however, say “being a part of the community getting together and the spirit of Christmas” are reasons why she loves participating in Old Town Country Christmas. “The kids are so excited,” Harrold said. “The energy level is really high with this group of kids.” Janet Riswold plans on dressing up for Saturday’s festivities, returning as the “Christmas tree lady.” “It was a tradition, Victorian ladies wore capes instead of coats, and they would decorate their capes for the holidays,” Riswold said. Keep an eye out for the lady wearing a cape covered in garland, ornaments and lights and a hat with a star on top — that’s Riswold. She’ll be handing out candy canes and good cheer Saturday night. “It just seems to make them smile,” she said. Riswold gets a kick out of mingling with the crowd at this annual event. “What I treasure about where I live is the sense of community, and Old Town Country Christmas is part of that,” she said. Old Town Country Christmas is free, as is parking and shuttle service to and from the Gold Country Fairgrounds’ Sacramento Street lot. The Berhhard Museum, 291 Auburn-Folsom Road, remains open late Saturday, from 5-8 p.m., to provide further entertainment for Old Town Country Christmas attendees. Ralph Gibson, Placer County Museums program manager, said costumed docents are giving tours through the house Saturday, which is decorated for Victorian Christmas. The Bernhard Winery will also be open, offering visitors a peek at the “All Dolled Up” doll collection. Cookies and hot cider will also be served. “The shuttle picks up at our gate,” Gibson said. “Instead of waiting out in the cold they can come in the house, get some cider and learn about Victorian Christmas.” Learn more about Old Town Country Christmas by calling (530) 888-1585 or visiting www.old townauburnca.com.