Whether Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa are celebrated in Carson Valley homes, the countdown to the holiday season has begun.
Deadlines looming to participate in Douglas County in an array of festivities, including the enhanced Parade of Lights, dubbed "Bright Lights for Frosty Nights."
-- The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority hosts the seventh annual Parade of Lights on Dec. 7 with floats, autos, animals, individual marchers and other mobile objects decorated with lights or illumination from battery packs, generators, flashlights or glow sticks.
Float entries have included classic cars from the Carson Valley Cruisers, valley service clubs and various businesses that light up vehicles. Of course, Santa Claus will make an appearance, according to Suzanne Rosevold, executive director of the chamber.
She said the parade and other events are designed to provide quality family entertainment for Carson Valley and encourages groups and businesses to show off their festive spirit. The entry fee is $25, and the firm deadline for entries is 4 p.m. Wednesday. Prizes will be given to the best organization, business, individual, youth, animal and emergency services parade entries. The parade starts at 5 p.m. at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, and runs along Highway 395 to Minden Park.
Festivities begin Friday, however, with the annual Light the Lights gazebo-lighting ceremony at Minden Park at 6 p.m. Dec. 6. It is sponsored by Minden businesses. Santa Claus is sure to make an appearance, and children can have free photograph taken with him.
-- Minden businesses will also host a Christmas Village and Gift Faire from 2 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7.
Roxanne Stangle, owner of Tumblewind and a member of event sponsor Minden Downtown Merchants Association, said the Christmas Village and Gift Faire gives local artisans a chance to sell their wares and residents an opportunity for early shopping.
Booth space is being reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Thirty specialty booths will offer candles, homemade ornaments, refreshments, jewelry, toys and original works by area artists.
Stangle said 38 businesses have registered, but only 20 have paid the $45 entry fee. To register for a booth, call her at 782-2444.
Members of the Douglas County Library staff will be at the Minden Inn both days to assist children in writing letters to Santa.
-- The Minden/Douglas Elks Lodge 2670 will host its 10th annual Spaghetti Feed and Christmas Tree Bingo Party Dec. 6 at the Minden CVIC Hall, starting at 4:30 p.m., with a Christmas Tree lighting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children under age 11.
The fare will feature spaghetti, French bread and salad. Tickets are available at the door.
Elk Dave Trueblood said almost 300 people attended last year.
Money raised goes toward holiday baskets for needy seniors in Douglas County. Last year, 14 baskets were distributed, Trueblood said.
At the downtown Minden events, there will be refreshments, and the Douglas High School Image Choir and drama class will perform at the free Light the Lights ceremonies.
The Methodist Church Bell Choir will perform at 5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the CVIC Hall in Minden. Stangle said after the parade there will be strolling musicians and other musical acts in the downtown area.
Stangle said last year, a couple of thousand people attended the events, and she expects more this year.
-- The Topaz Sagehens host its annual Christmas party for children up to age 10 noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 7. Lunch will be served at the party at the Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center.
-- The town of Genoa hosts holiday caroling and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Genoa Community Church. It is free to the public, and refreshments will be served.
Genoa also hosts a Christmas Craft Faire in the Town Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8. Music will be provided throughout the day.
Genoa's weekend activities culminate Dec. 8 with the annual Holiday Home Tour sponsored by Soroptimists International of Carson Valley and the Holiday Open House at the Carson Valley Museum.
Rosevold said seven tour homes will display holiday decorations. Tickets cost $20 at the chamber, Genoa Country Store, Wildrose Inn and Nevada State Bank.
A reception follows the home tour from 4 to 6 p.m. at the McCalla home off Genoa Highlands Drive.
The benefit home tour was canceled last year because of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy. Money raised goes toward scholarships for local students.
-- The Carson Valley Museum open house is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and includes its annual decorated tree display. Refreshments will be served. While the open house is free, donations will be accepted.
For information about holiday events around the Valley, call the chamber at 782-8144.