Holiday Season Brings Christmas Joy to Lake County’s Small-Town Streets

November 9, 2015

Northern California’s wine country becomes a winter wonderland

This December with plenty of holly, jolly holiday celebrations for the Christmas season – Lake County, a scenic wine-country paradise about 100 miles north of San Francisco – gets you in the spirit of the season with tree-lighting ceremonies, parades of lights and good old-fashioned holiday events scheduled throughout December. Both kids and adults will have themselves a merry little Christmas season with Lake County’s lineup for fun holiday festivities, and every one of these events is free and open to the public.

Christmas in the Country 

Friday, Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m.
When it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Kelseyville, California, it also starts to sound like it. The town of Kelseyville pipes Christmas music through the streets for its annual Christmas parade and light festival Christmas in the Country, a huge holiday light parade down Main Street with a merchant open house for all the popular Kelseyville shops. Christmas in the Country draws holiday revelers from all over northern California to Kelseyville for this event and to taste the essential winter wines from this eclectic Lake County town.

Christmas in Middletown

Saturday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Downtown Middleton stays open late for Christmas in Middletown, a downtown holiday street fair that transforms Middletown into a full-on Christmas festival.
“Christmas in Middletown is always a joyful community event,” said Beth Rudiger, vice president of the Middletown Area Merchants Association. “I love that the streets of Middletown are filled with so many people whom you recognize and greet as you pass. Families turn out in multiple generations.”
Storefronts in downtown Middletown are decorated in full yuletide flair as booths line the streets to create an outdoor holiday arcade—with plenty of fire pits to warm up to. Christmas trees adorn the streets, with ornaments made by area schoolchildren and the trees later donated to families in need. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrive on an old-fashioned fire truck to hand every kid a toy at the Middletown Plaza.
“Our passport program encourages participants to visit every business to collect stamps in their passports for a chance to win a prize,” Rudiger said. “Individual businesses compete for best decorated storefront and they pass out their own refreshments to passersby. It’s a perfect small-town event.”

Upper Lake Holiday Parade

Saturday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
It’s a festival of lights unlike any other at the Upper Lake Holiday Parade, where cars, trucks, horses and even lawnmowers and tractors get decorated with lights to parade down Main Street in the charming community of Upper Lake. The creativity of the lighting arrangements on the floats and vehicles is delightful and dazzling, with first-, second- and third-place prizes awarded to the best-lit vehicles. An additional best-of-theme prize will be given to the parade vehicle that best celebrates this year’s theme, “A Country Christmas.”
There will be some caroling, and the Upper Lake Senior Support Service and 4-H, a positive youth-development and mentoring nonprofit organization, will be on hand selling tri-tip pork sandwiches and warm beverages. And of course keep an eye out for the arrival of Santa Claus, who will be riding in the Upper Lake Holiday Parade on a fire truck.

City of Clearlake Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Saturday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
Santa also arrives in Clearlake, right on the shores of the oldest lake in North America, that same Saturday evening for the Clearlake Christmas Parade. Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake will become an unforgettable parade of lights, with a Christmas parade procession featuring a feast of festive holiday costumes, floats and lights. Santa will be available for pictures at a gazebo where the parade route concludes at Austin Park, where Santa’s favorite dish—Christmas cookies—will be served. This year’s Clearlake Christmas Parade theme is “Winter Wonderland,” and the festivities will conclude with the Clearlake Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Come all ye faithful to Lake County’s wine-country Christmas celebrations, where small-town charm mixes with spectacular winter scenery. And continue to keep an eye on the Lake County events calendar as the new year rings for a fantastic lineup of good times.