Even though we’re past Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday, there are still plenty of opportunities to continue on with the holiday spirit by participating in some upcoming local events. Here is how to kick off Christmas in Sparks:
• Dec. 2 Tree Lighting Ceremony: Celebrate this season of giving with friends, family, and Mayor Geno Martini as he flips the switch to light the natural Christmas Tree in Downtown Sparks. The event includes live music and free hot chocolate. Catch the festivities at 6:30 p.m.
• Check out the 30th Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade on Dec. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Victorian Square: This deep-rooted Sparks tradition is back for its 30th year with marching bands playing holiday tunes, cute animals, costumed Christmas characters, and festive floats along with Mayor Martini and Santa Claus. Photos with Santa and holiday faire begin at 11am.
To go along with the “Season of Giving” theme of the Hometowne Christmas Parade, the City of Sparks is collecting toys for tots and canned goods/non-perishable food items to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Food items and toys can be dropped off inside the main entrance to Sparks City Hall during regular business hours through Dec. 9.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to make a difference in the lives of so many of our residents’ right here at home,” says Mayor Martini. “Every family deserves food this holiday season, and every little kid deserves a toy.”
• During and after the Hometowne Christmas Parade, visit the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center for “A Short History of Prater Way” lecture: Not only is free hot chocolate and cookies being served during the parade (and a prime viewing spot from the museum’s second story balcony overlooking Victorian Avenue), the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center is kicking off its First Saturday series for history buffs. On the first Saturday of each month, the museum offers free historic lectures. At 3 p.m. on Dec. 3, Dr. Alicia Barber discusses the importance of Prater Way throughout the last century, regarded as one of Sparks’ major thoroughfares.
• See Downtown Sparks Transform into the 39 North Pole Village Winter Wonderland Dec. 9-10: Nugget Casino Resort and 39 North Downtown will team up to turn Victorian Square into a sparkling winter wonderland featuring thousands of twinkling lights, holiday craft booths, food, fun, and plenty of holiday cheer. New this year, local families and businesses will compete in a light display contest inspired by Clark Griswold’s antics from popular flick National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. If you have what it takes to decorate a booth like Clark, call (775) 690-2581 for more information on entering the Griswold Family Challenge.
• It’s Christmas Cookie Time Dec. 10, 17 and 22 at the Lavender Box Bakery (885 Sparks Boulevard #100): If holiday shopping is hard with little ones running around, Lavender Box Bakery is offering a great way to put those kiddos to work while you get some last-minute holiday shopping out of the way. Let bakery staff help your kids decorate homemade sugar cookies for Santa to enjoy on Christmas Eve with their favorite holiday designs. The cost is $30 per child 4-10 years of age and each child leaves with a half-dozen cookies of their very own creations. Each session is limited to 10 children; call (775) 737-4551 or stop by to register.