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Northern California weekend events 2nd weekend of December 2013

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Winter has finally arrived in NorCal and communities all up and down the North State are preparing for the holiday season with Merry Gold Rush Merchants, a governor's mansion all decked out, cowboy poetry, bracing Bracebridge dinners, and open houses.

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Here's a lineup of some of the Northern California events and festivals that are coming your way this weekend:

The State Capital

Combine lavishly re-created period decor, lively holiday music, captivating storytelling, and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and you have Christmas Memories at the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento. December 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gold Country

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Merry Merchants of Columbia State Historic Park invite you to join them in an evening of old-fashioned Christmas celebrating, with shopping, caroling, storytelling, roasting chestnuts, and warming cups of hot holiday cheer. December 13, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Nobody celebrates with more fervor than small towns, and Mokelumne Hill's annual Holiday Open House is no exception. With visits to Santa, horse-drawn hay rides, festive caroling, and reindeer games, it's a chance for everyone to join in celebrating the spirit of the season. December 15, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Coast

For all you ol' cowpokes and cowgirls out there, the Monterey Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival is coming up this weekend with cowboy entertainment, and the Western Marketplace, full of fine cowboy art and gear. December 13, 14, and 15.

The Mountains

Celebrate the news! Tickets for Yosemite's Bracebridge Dinners are no longer by lottery! That's great news for those who wanted to go but couldn't get tickets to this most popular of events where heraldic horns sound throughout the Ahwahnee, calling guests to enter Bracebridge Hall for a Christmas from centuries past. December 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 25.

The Bay Area

If you're in the Bay Area, join Benicians and visitors alike for Benicia's Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting, along with holiday shopping, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday caroling, and seasonal refreshments. December 6, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With so many fun fairs, festivals, and events all over Northern California to choose from this coming weekend, there's no excuse to not get out and celebrate the holiday season!

For more about what there is to see and do in Northern California, visit my website, DiscoverNorthernCalifornia.com.

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