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Victorian Christmas turns back time

The Victorian Christmas event lights up the streets of Nevada City Dec. 12 and 19. (Photo courtesy Nevada City Chamber of Commerce)

Nevada City celebrates with huge street fair Wednesday nights, Sunday afternoons

Escape to Christmas past in Gold Country and relive a holiday spectacle Charles Dickens would love.

Sixty miles northeast of Sacramento, Nevada City hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, filling its quaint streets with the sights, sounds and some smells of a 19th-century celebration. Organizers promise the scent of roasted chestnuts will fill the air.

On two Wednesday nights, 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19, the fair glows under old-fashioned street lamps and thousands of lights trimming the Gold Rush-era buildings. A bonfire adds warmth (and roasts those chestnuts).

The fair also has two more Sunday afternoons, 1:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 16 and 23. Admission is free.

One of the Sierra foothills' largest Christmas crafts fairs, Victorian Christmas features more than 100 local vendors offering hand-made and home-grown wares, including candy, jewelry, pottery, perfume, dolls, toys, jams and jellies, sauces, baked goods and much more.

Lots of free entertainment fills the air with music, too, including carolers, bagpipers, brass bands and strolling minstrels. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered, starting at the National Hotel.

Broad and Commercial streets are both closed to traffic during the fair. Free parking and a shuttle ($5 per person age 15 and older; children free) is available at the Nevada County Government Center, 950 Maidu Ave. Return shuttle is free to all.

For details and directions: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Dec. 10:

Take advantage of these dry but crisp conditions. It’s time to get out the rake!

* Rake leaves away from storm drains and keep gutters clear.

* Fallen leaves can be used for mulch and compost. Chop up large leaves with a couple of passes with a lawn mower.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they’re dormant. Without their foliage, trees are easier to prune.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Make sure to take frost precautions with new transplants and sensitive plants. Mulch, water and cover tender plants in the late afternoon to retain warmth.

* Succulent plants are at particular risk if temperatures drop below freezing. Don’t water succulents before frost; cover instead. Use cloth sheets, not plastic. Make sure to remove coverings during the day.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.

* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eaves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.

* Plant garlic (December's the last chance -- the ground is getting cold!) and onions for harvest in summer.

* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.

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