Shore Acres' gardener's cottage becomes a gingerbread house of lights for yuletide.
For a breather from shopping and decorating, enjoy VIA readers' favorite displays of spirit in towns around the West.
BED, BEACH, AND BREAKFAST HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Long Beach, Wash. December 11 and 12. "Local B&Bs routinely receive awards for comfort and service," Audrey Wood-Gaines says. You donate canned goods for local food banks in exchange for tours of the charming inns. (360) 665-3016, www.bedbeachbreakfast.com.
DECEMBER TOUR OF HOMES Coquille, Ore. December 4. "Bad weather never seems to dampen anyone's spirit," says Louise Pace. "Visitors simply put booties over their shoes before entering a house." The self-guided tour includes six residences. (541) 396-3414, www.coquillechamber.org.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS Shore Acres State Park, Coos Bay, Ore. November 25 to January 1. "People come from all over the world," C.L. Kolkhorst says, "to see more than a quarter of a million lights illuminate the night for this spectacular display." (541) 888-3732, www.shoreacres.net.
HOLIDAY PARADE OF LIGHTS Pacific Grove, Calif. December 2. "Downtown really comes alive," Thomas Maudlin says, "with marching bands, holiday floats, dance teams, equestrian groups, and Santa Claus." (831) 373-3304, www.pacificgrove.org.
HOLIDAY LIGHTED BOAT PARADE Petaluma, Calif. December 4. "The waters of the Petaluma River Turning Basin twinkle," Denise Parks says. "You can enjoy watching nearly 25 bejeweled boats make their way down the river at dusk." (877) 273-8258, www.visitpetaluma.com.
LIGHTED TRACTOR PARADE Ferndale, Calif. December 19. "The event draws a crowd," says Stephanie Renfer, "even when the rain is coming down sideways. Local farmers decorate their equipment with lights and tinsel and line up for one of the most unusual of parades." (707) 786-9675.
OLD TOWN COUNTRY CHRISTMAS Auburn, Calif. December 11 and 18. "Old Town Auburn is pure Christmas," Eva Mael says. "A bonfire crackles in the center of town, live music plays in the street, and craft booths are lit by lanterns and candles." (530) 888-1585.
SANTA LUCIA FESTIVAL AND PARADE Kingsburg, Calif. December 4. "The town celebrates Swedish style," says Donna Eastland, "as it kicks off the season with arts and crafts and an evening parade downtown." (559) 897-1111, www.kingsburgchamberofcommerce.com.
SNOWFLAKE FESTIVAL Klamath Falls, Ore. December 4 to 12. "More than 100 floats enter the Snowflake Parade," writes Eva Ross. The festival also boasts a gingerbread house contest and a holiday sing-along at city hall. (541) 883-4102.
STORYBOOK LAND Albany, Ore. December 2 to 19. "This wonderland is set up in a livestock barn, so it's dry but has that chilly outdoor feeling," says Traci Durrell-Khalife. Cutouts of fairy-tale characters line a winding path guaranteed to plunge kids into these classic stories. (541) 928-1612.
Photography by R.C. Hall
This article was first published in November 2004. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.