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No Snow but Plenty of Lights for the Holidays

November 29, 2001|LAURIE K. SCHENDEN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Southern California Christmases may not be white but they can be bright. What the Southland lacks in snowflakes it makes up for in lights.

Here are some of the parades of lights, lighted boat parades and static light displays meant to ignite the holiday spirit.

Light Displays

* Southlanders are accustomed to drive-through services, so why not a drive-through light display? The Holiday Light Festival in Griffith Park allows drivers to turn off their headlights and cruise down a mile-long route, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 26. The light displays depict holiday themes, L.A. landmarks and, new this year, a patriotic scene. If you prefer to take your time, park the car at the L.A. Zoo and walk down the equestrian trail. Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles. Free. (323) 913-4688.

* A generator will keep about 2 million lights twinkling throughout the historic Mission Inn and downtown Riverside during the annual Festival of Lights, nightly at 5:30, through Jan. 13. Free. (800) 344-4225.

* Stroll among 50 uniquely decorated trees at the 18th annual Festival of Trees in Wilson Park, 2200 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. The trees will be on display today and Friday, 2 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (310) 517-4606.

* Members of the L.A. Kings will light a Christmas tree and cast members of "The Lion King" and "Aida" will perform at the Tree of Life & Festival of Lights on Dec. 4, at California Plaza Watercourt, 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles. 5:30-6:45 p.m. Free. (310) 441-9264.

* On Dec. 7, the La Canada-Flintridge Festival of Lights will offer holiday music and a lighting ceremony, along with the arrival of Santa Claus and the Mrs. in an antique firetruck. Memorial Park, on Foothill Boulevard. 3:45 to 6 p.m. Free. (818) 790-4289.

* Period lights and decorations are part of the Southern California Christmas, Dec. 9, celebrating holiday traditions from the 1830s-1930s. Vintage music, crafts, food and tours of the historic Spanish Colonial Revival mansion are highlights, at the Homestead Museum, 15415 E. Don Julian Road, Industry. Admission is free. (626) 968-8492. www.homesteadmuseum.org.

Theme Parks

* "LuminAria" has debuted at Disneyland's California Adventure just in time for the holidays. A symphony of lights and pyrotechnics dance on and above the water to synchronized music. The park lights dim at closing time each night for the LuminAria finale, through Jan. 6. Also, Disney's Electrical Parade runs nightly at California Adventure. Next door at Disneyland, the traditional fireworks are accompanied by holiday tunes and culminate with snowfall on Main Street. (714) 781-4565.

* More than 100,000 lights have transformed Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town into the Christmas Crafts Village, now through Dec. 24. Snoopy's Calico Christmas Celebration takes the stage each night inside the theme park. Crafts village $5 (theme park admission not required). (714) 220-5200.

* The Queen Mary's eighth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony gets underway at 6 p.m. Dec. 5. Corol de las Cantos Bellos chorale group of Arizona and the International Children's Choir of Long Beach will perform, followed by a holiday sing-a-long and refreshments. Admission is free after 4:30 p.m.; parking $8. 6 to 8 p.m. (562) 435-3511.

* Universal City celebrates the season with the lights and sounds of Grinchmas, through Jan. 6. Each evening, the CityWalk Ice Rink will turn Grinch-green. Skating hours are weekdays 5 to 11 p.m.; Fridays 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Cost is $7.50 per hour; $6.50 for children. (818) 622-3801.

Parades

* Temecula's Electric Light Parade will illuminate Jefferson Avenue, from Del Rio Road north to Overland Drive in Temecula, Friday at 7 p.m. (909) 694-6480.

* Santa is guest of honor in Whittier on Friday night, for the Holiday Sonata on Greenleaf Avenue and Philadelphia Street, from 5 to 10 p.m. Festivities include a tree-lighting ceremony, carriage rides and refreshments. On Dec. 8, the Uptown Christmas Parade down Greenleaf Avenue will begin at 10 a.m. Free. (562) 696-2662.

* Fireworks will kick off the 39th annual Holiday Boat Parade in Marina del Rey Dec. 8. About 75 lighted boats will participate from 6 to 8 p.m. in the main channel. (310) 822-9455.

* The Parade of a Thousand Lights will sail through Shoreline Harbor Marina, in Long Beach, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Best viewing from Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. (562) 435-4093.

* On Dec. 9, St. Nicholas Lantern Parade at 5 p.m. will be preceded by a Christmas bazaar on the cobbled stone streets of Old World beginning at noon, followed by the Nativity play at 4 p.m. 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach. Free. (714) 895-8020.

* Head to Huntington Harbor Dec. 13-22 for the 39th annual Cruise of Lights. Narrated tours depart 6 to 8 p.m. for a view of waterfront homes decorated for the holidays. Reservations suggested. $9.50; $5.50 on family nights (Dec. 13 and 17); Friday-Sunday, Dec. 21 to 23, $12; $6 ages 2 to 12. (714) 840-7542.

* Just about any spot in Newport Harbor will offer a good view of more than 150 illuminated vessels in the 93rd Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Dec. 17 to 23. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Free. (949) 729-4400.

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