Holiday season: City’s annual tree lighting kicks things off

High Desert Grange and Toys for Tots will host the annual ‘Convoy of Lights’ parade on Saturday starting at 6 p.m. A donation for Toys for Tots is required for entry.

High Desert Grange and Toys for Tots will host the annual ‘Convoy of Lights’ parade on Saturday starting at 6 p.m. A donation for Toys for Tots is required for entry.
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Every December since 1929 a decorated tree has been lit up in downtown Fallon to begin the Christmas season, and this year’s celebration will take place Friday on historic Maine Street at 6:30 p.m.

An open house at Fallon City Hall and the Douglass House will begin at 4:30 p.m. with refreshments, cookie decorating and a chance to meet local officials. Also, for the first time, ice skating at the new rink is included in the festivities.

Lifelong resident Mildred June Ward will push the plunger and light the tree. Ward has missed very few tree lightings since she was born in 1928. She grew up on Ferguson Street across from the Old High School from where she graduated in 1945. Throughout her childhood Ward was an award-winning athlete in competitive sports including track and field and basketball.

Ward married her high school sweetheart, Stu, five days before he was deployed to the Pacific theater of World War II. Upon his return, the couple settled down in Fallon and welcomed two boys, Ron and Steve, into the family.

Over the years, Ward held many jobs at local businesses, including the Fallon Theatre, Tedford Tires and Bassham Furniture.

Her family now includes daughters-in-law Nancy and Michelle, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and numerous people who affectionately call her “Mom” or “Gran.”

The Performing Arts of Churchill County Youth Choir will perform during the tree lighting and the Lahontan Valley Concert Choir will sing songs of Christmas past inside the Fallon Theatre immediately following.

The city will host “Santa’s Wonderland” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in the City Hall courtyard on South Carson Street. Free activities include cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa, photos with Santa and horse-drawn carriage rides. The ice skating rink will be open at regular prices for sessions throughout the day.

High Desert Grange and Toys for Tots will host the annual “Convoy of Lights” parade Saturday at 6 p.m. Staging begins at 5 p.m. at the Churchill County Museum and will head north to Center Street. A toy or cash donation to Toys for Tots is required for entry. Trucks, tractors, trailers and ATVs/UTVs are welcome, but no animals are allowed. Online registration is available at

Other holiday events are also planned for the next few weeks.

• The Churchill Arts Council’s 11th biennial Lahontan Valley Fine Arts Invitational runs to Feb. 23.

The artists’ reception and the Oats Park Art Center’s annual Holiday Art Bar is Saturday from 5-9 p.m. and features live music from Scott Payne and Cliff VanWoert of Money Back Guarantee.

This event is the largest invitational yet, with more than 50 pieces on display created by local artists.

Artists include Trista Dorman, Jackson Moon, Jaime Sammons, Kevin Sammons, Suzie Slaybaugh, Denise Johnson, Edith Isidoro Mills, Kathleen Williams Miller, Ocean Riddle, Michelle Nelsen, Kim Rowlett, Vanessa Burch Urquhart, Linda Hammond, Reid Sewell, Diane Sewell, Mary Darby, Lori Bishop, Jeanne Evatt, Marie Nygren, Loretta Burden, Larry Neel, Tedd McDonald, Diane Hansen, Claudia Hutchings, Casey Thorpe, Randy Summers, Jeannine Summers, Sheree Jensen, Ellen Brandfonbrener, Nettie Rickerson, Kim Lamb, Julie Lamb and Rico Lutao.

The exhibit showcases a wide range of media, including sculpture, photography, textiles, and paintings. All of the art is available for purchase.

• The William N. Pennington Life Center at 952 S. Maine St. will host a Christmas craft fair Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry fee is $1 for adults and children 10 years old and up.

• The VFW Auxiliary Holiday Bazaar is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 405 S. Maine St. inside the meeting hall. Shoppers will find raffle baskets, baked goods, collector plates, homemade items and much more.

• A Christmas craft fair will be held at Churchill County High School (1 Greenwave Circle) Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• The CCHS Grad Nite ‘24 committee hosts a self-guided tour of Fallon’s finest Christmas homes Dec. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Jeff’s Digitex Printing, 235 S. Maine St. For information call 775-335-5048.

• The Churchill County Museum will hold its annual free open house Dec. 16 beginning at noon with a reading by author-illustrator Zoe Bray. Copies of her children’s book “What Amatxi Whispered” will be available for purchase.

The popular handbell ensemble “Tintabulations” will perform at 1 p.m. followed by refreshments, crafts and holiday stories read by museum director, Mel Glover, at 3 p.m.

• A Fallon Christmas tradition, the Fallon City Ballet and The Studio for the Performing

Arts present “The Nutcracker.” Performances will be held in the CCHS Fine Arts Auditorium Dec. 15 and 16 at 6 p.m.

• Admission is  $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and children 4-14 years old and free for children under 3. Tickets may be purchased at the Studio (3963 Arnold Way), Jeff’s Digitex Printing (235 S. Maine St.) or from any Fallon City Ballet Company member.


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