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EVENTS: DECEMBER

Millions of Twinkling Lights at Night

November 19, 2000|ELLEN MELINKOFF

Florida

The seventh annual Night of Lights continues through New Year's Eve in St. Augustine with more than a million twinkling lights in the historic downtown plaza. A Christmas parade and the Grande Illumination (a twilight march through downtown) are planned for Dec. 2. Visitors can tour historic homes Dec. 3 and see 25 of the area's B&Bs Dec. 9. The festivities also include a holiday boat parade on the bay and the traditional Spanish candlelight procession of Las Posadas, as well as two non-Christmas events: British and Union encampments in Castillo de San Marcos. For more information, contact the St. Johns County Visitors and Convention Bureau, 88 Riberia St., Suite 400, St. Augustine, FL 32084; telephone (904) 829-1711, Internet http://www.visitoldcity.com.

New Jersey

Cape May's historic district, with its lovingly restored Victorian homes and B&Bs, celebrates the holidays with tours and events. At Saturday evening candlelight self-guided house tours, visitors can see as many as 15 homes, inns and churches in full Christmas regalia. Also planned: trolley tours, a Dickens Christmas Extravaganza, holiday teas, wassailing and living history tours at the Physick Family Estate. For more information, contact the Cape May Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 556, Cape May, NJ 08204; tel. (609) 884-5508, Internet http://www.capemaychamber.com.

Massachusetts

The Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts offer opportunities for an old-fashioned holiday. Norman Rockwell's painting "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas" is brought to life on Dec. 3, with traditional decorations, tours of historic homes, concerts and an antique car display. Arrowhead, the home of Herman Melville in Pittsfield, is open Dec. 1 for a candlelight tour with the house decorated in 1850s fashion. The Hancock Shaker Village, also in Pittsfield, presents a typical Shaker Christmas (sleigh rides, cider) on Dec. 2 and 3. For more information, contact the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 224, Stockbridge, MA 01262; tel. (413) 298-5200, Internet http://www.stockbridgechamber.org; or Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA 01201; tel. (413) 442-1793, Internet http://www.mobydick.org.

New York

The Rockettes at Radio City are only one part of the holiday celebration in New York City. The Lincoln Center Tree Lighting Celebration begins at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 4 and includes the Sesame Street Muppets. Through Jan. 1, the Bronx Zoo features giant illuminated animal sculptures, ice carvings and choirs. At the reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 10 at the Pierpont Morgan Library, visitors can view the original manuscript. Staten Island's Richmondtown creates a Victorian holiday celebration Dec. 8, and the King Manor Museum presents "Federal Christmas" Dec. 2 to 17. The Jacob Javits Convention Center hosts KwanzaaFest 2000 from Dec. 15 to 18. For more information, contact NYC & Co., 811 7th Ave., New York, NY 11019; tel. (800) NYC-VISIT (692-8474), Internet http://www.nycvisit.com.

North Carolina

On Dec. 2 at Old Salem, the restored Moravian town settled in 1766, 24 period rooms representing seven Southern states between 1680 and 1820 will be decorated in authentic style. This display, which occurs only one day every other year, also includes typical foods and music of the era. On Dec. 16, Christmas is celebrated in Moravian back-country style, with caroling, cookies, stollen and hot cider. This is the only night of the year the historic buildings are open for candlelight tours. The Moravians, from Eastern Europe, sought religious freedom in the New World. For more information, contact Old Salem, Box F, Salem Station, Winston-Salem, NC 27108-0346; tel. (888) 653-7253, Internet http://www.oldsalem.org.

Britain

British celebs and anyone willing to pay the $86 entry fee can participate in the 20th Great Christmas Pudding Race, Dec. 2 at the Covent Garden Piazza in London. Costumed runners carrying trays of pudding must avoid obstacles along the course. At the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, there will be carolers, ice skating and a holiday market. Contact the British Tourist Authority, 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 701, New York, NY 10176-0799; tel. (800) 462-2748, Internet http://www.travelbritain.org.

Mexico

Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, holds two festivals during the holiday season. On Dec. 18, villagers converge on the Church of Our Lady of Solitude to perform traditional dances, followed by a candlelight ceremony and fireworks. On Dec. 23, at the Festival of the Radishes in the Zocalo, dozens of booths display elaborately carved radishes of all sizes. Contact the Mexican Government Tourism Office, 2401 W. 6th St., 5th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90057; tel. (213) 351-2069, Internet http://www.mexico-travel.com.

Events appears monthly.

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