The Imaginarium 360 Light Up the Night exhibit at Cal Expo runs through Jan. 16 on selected nights, featuring over 3 million LEDs and a State Fair-like midway experience. (Photos by Steve Martarano)

The Season of Light Shines Again

Holiday season events return to the Capital Region in 2021

Back Web Only Dec 22, 2021 By Steve Martarano

Things haven’t quite returned to normal this holiday season, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Capital Region. After most holiday activities were canceled or dramatically curtailed in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, many old favorites reappeared this fall, including the Old Sacramento Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Theatre of Lights, the Imaginarium 360 at Cal Expo, and new offerings such as the Japantown Christmas celebration featuring folk dancing group Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai.

Live theater and music venues like Harlow’s reopened, and many previously postponed holiday parties were on again, with appearances by Santa popping up all over town.

Though California reinstated a mask mandate for indoor settings Dec. 15, many holiday events are set outdoors and will continue into January. Here’s a sample of the festivities that have taken place so far.

The C.K. McClatchy High School dance team performs at the Old Sacramento Tree Lighting Nov. 24.

Visitors check out the Christmas tree at Imaginarium 360 on Dec. 2 at Cal Expo., among the 3 million LEDs spread throughout.

Over 3 million LED lights shine bright at Imaginarium 360 at Cal Expo, which runs through Jan. 16.

Natalie Miedema, who is 19 months old, visits Dinger Santa at the Sacramento River Cats team store at Sutter Health Park on Dec. 4.

A couple and their kitten watch the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus perform at the Old Sacramento tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 24.

The Theatre of Lights in Old Sacramento debuted above K Street Nov. 24 with a rendition of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and runs on select nights through Christmas Eve.

The 60-foot-tall Christmas tree in Old Sacramento lit up for the first time in 2021 on Nov. 24.

Japanese folk dancing group Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai performs at the Japantown Christmas celebration on 10th Street near sponsor My Sister’s House on Dec. 11.

Dorothy Morrison, the solo vocalist on the original 1969 gospel classic “Oh, Happy Day,” performs the song on Dec. 13 at Harlow’s to close the Sacramento Blues Society’s holiday party.

LED-illuminated holiday balloons seem to be everywhere in 2021, making an appearance in Old Sacramento on Nov. 24.


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