Let there be Lights: Los Altos’ annual holiday parade is months in the making

Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Volunteer Deborah Baker, a member of the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade Board, readies a float for the Nov. 30 event. Baker has worked on floats for the past few years with her son’s Boy Scout troop.

Behind every float at Los Altos’ Festival of Lights Parade, there’s a story of Boy Scouts, dust cloths, light design and elf scavenging.

Before dancers flit across Main Street among parade floats Nov. 30, a zealous cadre of volunteers will have spent the year fundraising, shellacking giant gumdrops with glitter sugar and mood lighting a tableau of tree-decorating bears.


The big push: For some local businesses, success during the holidays means months of preparation

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Annie Bennett arranges a “Frozen” holiday display at Adventure Toys & Teachers’ Supplies.

Holiday shopping can be an arduous task - from compiling a list of gift ideas throughout the fall to braving the crush of consumers flooding stores.


Nutcracker ballet spins into action in Mtn. View

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Jenny Peterson rehearses for her role in the upcoming “Nutcracker” production at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.

If any ballet defines the holiday season, it’s "The Nutcracker" - a heartwarming fairy tale about a girl and her doll set on Christmas Eve.


Oh, the gifts you will give

Town Crier file photo
Gift-givers can choose from Pendleton Woolen Mills’ selection of clothing, towels and blankets.

Like giving a good presentation, finding the right holiday gift involves advance planning and knowing your subject.

That’s the only way to make that opening moment go smoothly. Whether you’re sitting in a circle of family members or just one-on-one with your best friend, it’s much more fun if the gift recipient seems happily surprised.


Town Crier Holiday Fund supports those in need

Town Crier File Photo
Recipients of last year’s Town Crier Holiday Fund display their checks. Donations from Town Crier readers assist the local nonprofit organizations in meeting the needs of the area’s underserved.



Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach.


Car Collecting 101: Local auto mavens share the stories behind their passion

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Inspired by a childhood surrounded by autos, Los Altos resident Marlene Zimmerman found a passion in collecting Franklins like this 1927 model with her husband Chet.

Saturday mornings, Los Altos reveals its classic-car core as a dozen or 20 old-timers and their owners gather in the parking plaza behind Main Street Cafe & Books. The automobile enthusiasts find each other to share practical tips on maintenance and restoration, but also just to be together.

Car people, it turns out, tend to like each other. And Los Altos has a lot of them, whether they’re participating in the Fall Festival, driving in city parades or just joining the "Donut Derelicts" on Saturday mornings.


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