Sacramento Seasonal: Free Theatre of Lights

The "state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology" spectacular takes place in Old Sacramento.

Charr Crail

SETTING AND THE SEASON: When you finally pull the Christmas tree out of storage, and you visit the local lot down on the corner to pick out the most fragrant and handsome fir, you likely don't simply plop it up in the middle of the den, without any consideration to setting and surroundings. Perhaps you add a few plaid bows along a nearby curtain rod, and some twinkly lights to the potted palm in the corner, all with the intention of creating a really cool setting for your yuletide centerpiece. But cool settings that we don't construct at home can be a little harder to come by at the holidays, if only because cool settings, as a rule, aren't found on every block. But Old Sacramento, with its historic air, gaslamp-vibes, river-close beauty, and straight-from-the-1800s presence, has a setting that seems to be made for a major holiday. And the end-of-the-year celebrations find a home at the ye olde district each year via Macy's Theatre of Lights. The sparkly spectacle, which will happen on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, runs from...

NOV. 23 THROUGH CHRISTMAS EVE: Get ready for "state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology" that will help "transport the audience back in time with a reading of the famous poem 'The Night Before Christmas' by Clement Moore." The nifty light show dances across both the balconies of Old Sac's times-gone-by buildings as well as the structures' facades and rooftops. It's all free to see, but round up your kin early in the afternoon, as it can bustle after sundown. A few date change-ups? There's no show on Thanksgiving, and nightly shows are scheduled from Dec. 19 through Dec. 24. And while there are two 20-minute performances each night of the run, Christmas Eve has one, do note. Watch something, for free, that's full of cheery charms in one of California's most storied and distinctive settings. And isn't the season's distinctive look very much about a setting that rises to the occasion? Old Sac has that sepia-nostalgic vibe, a vibe it has been rocking in three distinctive centuries.

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