San Rafael Transforms Into Winter Wonderland on Black Friday

Downtown San Rafael will once again turn into a winter wonderland-complete with a snow hill for sledding_during the annual San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland.

Forty tons on snow will be brought to downtown San Rafael to construct the popular sledding hill. Photo by Steven Restivo Events

BC STAFF REPORT

 

Downtown San Rafael will once again turn into a winter wonderland—complete with a snow hill for sledding—during the annual San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland. In its 38th year, the event features a holiday marketplace with arts and crafts, live entertainment, children’s activities, free snow sledding and one of the largest holiday parades in the Bay Area.

 

An annual Bay Area tradition, this event brings together those near and far to celebrate and ignite the holiday spirit. It also enjoys a very local feel and is known as a great destination for people of all ages. The entire event is free to the public and takes place the day after Thanksgiving, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. More than 35 exhibitors, merchants, sponsors and restaurants participate in the annual festivities.

 

The festivities begin at noon on Friday, November 24, when a sledding hill with over 40 tons of snow is constructed on A Street between Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue in downtown San Rafael. Other activities for kids include inflatable jump houses, mini carnival rides and face-painting booths. The holiday marketplace is open from noon to 8 p.m. The Parade of Lights with Santa and Mrs. Claus begins at 5:30 p.m. at E and Fourth Streets, and then travels eastbound down Fourth Street to San Rafael City Plaza, just beyond the A Street intersection.

 

Following the parade, Santa, Mrs. Claus and other costumed characters will arrive with the mayor of San Rafael at the center of town in San Rafael city plaza for the official tree lighting ceremony. Kids will have a chance to meet Santa and friends following the ceremony in the plaza.The sledding continues on Saturday, November 25 from 9 a.m. to noon or until the snow is no longer safe.

 

The City of San Rafael will once again contribute to the holiday cheer by providing downtown merchants the opportunity to give their customers three hours of free parking. Parking is available in the two city garages, located on 3rd and A and 3rd and C Streets. To assist the West End Village, parking meters in the lot located at 1550 4th Street will also be providing three hours free parking. The program will run from Thanksgiving Day through December 31.

       

The producers of the festival are kindly asking for donations to help offset the cost of producing this wonderful legacy event for the community. There will be volunteers in the sledding area and roaming the event site helping with the donation effort. Tax-deductible contributions will help continue this treasured tradition. You can also donate online at sresproductions.com.

 

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Schedule of Activities:

 

Friday, November 24th

• Snow Sledding: A Street between Fourth Street and Fifth Ave. from noon to 4:30 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. (kids only)

•  Holiday Marketplace: Fourth Street between B Street and Lootens Place from noon to 8 p.m.

•  Parade of Lights: Fourth Street from E Street to San Rafael City Plaza; 5:30 p.m. (everyone is welcome to join the parade. Parade participants meet in the staging area at E Street and Fourth Street at 5 p.m.)

•  Tree Lighting: San Rafael City Plaza following the Parade of Lights

 

Saturday, November 25th

•  Snow and Kids Activities: 9 a.m. to noon (or until snow is no longer safe)

 

SNOW HILL DETAILS:

Sleds provided at snow hill; no need to bring your own

Must be 15 and younger and be able to ride alone

Parents cannot ride with child

         Sledding hill only, no snow play area

Kids will have a chance to meet Santa after the official tree lighting ceremony. Photo by Steven Restivo Events