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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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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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