Come rain or shine, Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas will begin Wednesday night, as it has for more than three decades.
“It goes on either way,” said Barbara Tanner, who has organized the festival holiday market for years.
The 35th annual Victorian Christmas will transform Nevada City’s picturesque downtown into what could be mistaken for a Christmas card come to life.
The holiday market and festival opens Nevada City’s Broad Street up to nearly 100 vendors every Wednesday in December up until Christmas, as well as the two Sundays before the holiday. Some of the affair spills down Pine Street and onto Commercial Street as well.
“I think people like our town because we aren’t a mall,” said Kathy Hillis, owner of Mountain Pastimes on Spring Street. “It’s a chance to show what old-fashioned festive shopping is like.”
In addition to the vendors, Victorian Christmas features choirs, string quartets, story tellers and other performers adorned in Victorian attire.
“There’s a novelty of not knowing exactly what will happen at Victorian Christmas. Maybe your child will be touched for the first time by a song or a guitar solo,” said Izzi Tooinsky, a juggler who has performed at the event for 30 years.
“People have come here with their children to share the memory they had as a child,” Tooinsky said.
In addition to one-of-a-kind treasures, fine art and other merchandise, Victorian Christmas also offers festive feasting from many food vendors amid the enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts.
Drinks are also allowed in public during the event.
While each year’s kickoff event draws plenty of locals, subsequent installments leading into Christmas attract busloads of tourists into Nevada City from as far away as Chico, Redding and Reno, Hillis said.
“I think they like to step back in time,” said Chamber of Commerce President Cathy Whittlesey.
“People get nostalgic at Christmas time, and we offer the good old-fashioned Christmas celebration.”
For locals wanting to avoid the headache of seeking a rare open parking spot along Nevada City’s steep maze of hills, Whittlesey suggests taking advantage of the bus from the Rood Center to the downtown area, a mere mile away.
Whittlesey advises dropping off a carload of people so that the driver is the only one who pays the $5 charge to ride the shuttle to Victorian Christmas. Then the whole party can ride the bus back to the parking lot for free, she said.
The Rood Center is located at 950 Maidu Ave.
The National Weather Service calls for a 90 percent chance of rain Wednesday with a 60 percent chance that it continue to pour Wednesday night.
While that may dissuade some attendees and even some vendors, Tanner said it would take a lot more than some rain to cancel the 35-year-old event.
“We won’t call it,” she said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.