Cornish Christmas, shopping and ice rink in Grass Valley

THE HISTORIC TOWN OF GRASS VALLEY IS ALL aglow during the holidays, celebrating its rich heritage with Cornish Christmas.

And this year, for the first time, the downtown will host an ice skating rink from January 18-21 (Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday).

The ice-skating rink at the Gold Miners Inn will be unique in the foothills, attracting visitors and locals alike. A life-sized snow globe complete with a large artificial snow area will round out the post-holiday offering.

Grass Valley’s Cornish Christmas kicks off the holiday season the weekend after Thanksgiving. The street festival is in its 45th year, making it one of the oldest holiday gatherings in the foothills.

Cornish Christmas is on Fridays—November 23, 30, December 7, 14 and 21, 6-9 p.m. Mill and West Main Streets are closed to vehicles, creating a walkable Christmas experience, complete with food and craft vendors dressed in period costumes, musicians and booths for children.

The renowned Grass Valley Male Voice Choir will perform. In the ‘40s, the Choir sang Cornish Christmas songs from 2,400 feet underground in the Idaho-Maryland gold mine. Nowadays the Choir appears regularly at Cornish Christmas.

Along with the Choir, real “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” are featured. The downtown merchants are open for night-time holiday shopping.

A Santa’s workshop also offers visits with Santa Claus for children, along with free gift wrapping for items bought from downtown merchants. A Beale Air Force Appreciation Day, welcoming military families, also is being held on December 7.

There’s free parking too. For more information, go to

Old-fashioned Shopping

Grass Valley’s historic downtown core, about 15 blocks, continues to be the major shopping hub for the community.

This makes it ideal for walkable, holiday shopping (without going to a mall). Some examples: cooking and kitchenware at the expanded Tess’ Kitchen Store; jewelry at Stucki Jewelers (the owners travel to Antwerp, Belgium, for diamonds); clothing at Yuba Blue and Mill Street Clothing Co. (a longtime City Council member runs this shop).

There’s also gifts for all ages at Foothill Mercantile; shoes at Empire Shoes (now located downtown); skateboards and accessories at the expanded GoodTimes Board Store; and the Artist Workshop.

Lazy Dog Chocolateria is opening at 111 Mill Street, a more visible home to shop for the popular ice cream and chocolate.

Photo: Richard Bannister

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