Nevada County celebrates its heritage along with the holidays |

Nevada County celebrates its heritage along with the holidays


WHAT: Cornish Christmas

WHERE: Downtown Grass Valley

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Fridays (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20)


WHAT: Victorian Christmas

WHERE: Downtown Nevada City

WHEN: 1:30-6 p.m. Sundays (Dec. 8, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22); 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays (Dec. 11, Dec. 18)


With the first snowfall of the season setting the scene for a festive atmosphere, Nevada County residents will celebrate the holidays by appreciating their history.

Tomorrow, the 52nd annual Cornish Christmas will begin with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. on Main and Mill streets in historic downtown Grass Valley.

Cornish Christmas dates back to the city’s roots as a mining town whose inhabitants hailed heavily from the Cornwall region of the United Kingdom. While the festivities don’t quite originate from during the mining years, with more than a half century of celebrations under its belt, the Grass Valley Downtown Association which organizes the event said it’s become a community staple.

According to the association, some members are actually descendants of original Grass Valley Cornish Miners.

“It’s remained popular because the city has really gone all out to preserve its heritage,” Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Marni Marshall said. “It’s extremely important for the town and everyone really embraces the spirit throughout the whole town.”

Cornish Christmas will run each Friday until Dec. 20, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m., with traffic blocked off to the historic downtown area. Marshall recommends people check out the association’s Facebook page for more information as the events change weekly, however, she said people can expect Santa Claus, the Cornish Christmas Choir, musicians, vendors and entertainers every Friday.

The association will also honor its Citizen of the Year at the kickoff event.


If one holiday-history fused event per week isn’t enough, Nevada City has it covered.

On Dec. 8, Nevada City will begin its celebration of the past with Victorian Christmas, running every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. until Dec. 18.

According to Cindy Moon of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, the event which encourages people to dress in outfits from the Victorian Age, gives people a glimpse back in time.

“It’s preserved so well,” Moon said. “With the snow and historic building, people dressing up — it becomes a magical little city.”

The celebration will include bagpipers, food vendors, brass bands, hay wagon rides, carolers, a living Nativity scene and, of course, Santa Claus.

Organizers encourage everyone to dress up in the style of the age and recommended people visit the Chamber of Commerce website for ideas.

People wanting to park and enjoy the festivities on foot can catch a shuttle bus from the Nevada County Government Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, in Nevada City.

Shuttle costs $5 for adults and children 15 and over. Children under 15 ride free. Return journeys are free for all.

Shuttle hours are 4:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays and noon-6:30 p.m. Sundays. Shuttle is wheelchair accessible. Drop off is at the Veterans Building parking lot. Small dogs on a leash that can be on your lap are allowed on the shuttle bus.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona email or call 530-477-4229.

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