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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 March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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