Witness something wonderful at the Winter Solstice in San Juan Bautista. On the shortest day of the year the light from the early morning sunrise will seep in through a window at the Mission Church, aligning with the alter then beams shoot down the aisle and end at the Tabernacle. This will be a spectacular sight to see on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at approximately 6 a.m. at The Mission on 408 Second St. You can find a stunning image at sanjuanbautistaca.com.
Get crazy and win prizes at San Benito County Free Library’s first-ever Ugly Holiday Sweater Design competition for ages 12 to 18. A sense of humor is in order along with a plain, solid, color sweater and holiday themed music. Decorating supplies will be available but all are welcome to bring their own. Designs judged on various criteria including ugly, originality and creativity. Light refreshments will be provided on Friday Dec. 16 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 470 Fifth St. in Hollister. Sign up at the library or call (831) 636-4107.
Change it up and check out the Flamenco Society of San Jose’ Christmas Juerga, a Flamenco Jam Session. Enjoy a traditional Flamenco festival style show with Christmas spirit showcasing a great cast of flamenco artists including Koko de la Isla, Flamenco Dance Company and special guest appearance by the Flamenco Society Dance Academy. Come feel the passion, power and emotion on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Hoover Theatre on 1635 Park Ave, San Jose. General admission is $25. $15 for 8 years and under, and $20 for students and seniors. Go to brownpapertickets.com
Limelight Productions and Inspire Performing Arts Academy invite kids ages 13-19 to December auditions for Murder Mystery Dinner Theater performance in March. Actors should prepare a 30 second comedic character monogue to perform (accents are encouraged). Open auditions on Dec. 15 and 16 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. at 618 San Benito St. Call (831) 635-0553 or visit ipaacademy.com.
Discover your place in history and connect the generations at the Hollister Family History Center where a staff of research specialists can help you find your ancestors. If you have been conducting your own genealogy research and feel you’ve uncovered every document, hit a wall and feel something is still missing, visit the History Center thru Dec. 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 1670 Cienega Rd. This service is sponsored by the Latter Day Saints and is free to the community. Find out more at familysearch.org.
It’s a great time of year to enjoy holiday music and the annual San Benito Community Christmas Concert is no exception. Good tidings wished to you from the Alma Mariachi Juvenil Alma de Mexico and The Oriana Choirs. Special guests include a young harpist, barbershop quartet and other amazing local artists. Bring in a canned or nonperishable food item for a donation to the community pantry. The concert is free on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at San Benito High School on 1220 Monterey St.
Winter can be just as beautiful as spring or summer but sometimes nature needs a hand. San Hill Farm is looking for volunteers. This 107-acre farm is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure the health of the Elkhorn Slough. Staff and volunteers have removed thousands of pounds of agricultural trash and have helped heal erosion scars. Those who are 16 years or older are invited to come help on Saturday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to Noon. For more information contact [email protected] or call (831) 728-5939. Please register in advance at elkhornslough.org.
Take a Ride
Feel the cool breeze on your cheeks when you join in on an early morning bike ride with Brian from Off The Chain Bikes. A great ride for newcomers looking to start a cycling exercise program or for those who just want to get out and take a casual ride. Brian will guide you through a 15-mile ride along the back roads of Hollister. All are encouraged to give it a try and meet on any Saturday at 8 a.m. at Off the Chain Bikes on 101 McCray St. Suite 101. Call (831) 636-0802 or visit offthechainbikes.com.
South Valley Symphony has brought together a talented group to help celebrate in grand style with its winter concert “Holiday Stocking Stuffers”. The theme refers to the many wonderful musical trinkets you’ll find inside including the March of the Toy Soldiers and Overture to Die Fledermaus. Joining the orchestra is distinguished guest Director Phil Robb and alumni chorus singing Vivaldi’s Gloria. Come celebrate on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. in the Gavilan College Theater on 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. Tickets are $25 for adults and free for students and children under 18 years. Visit southvalleysymphony.org.
Fifteen Minutes of Fame
With very few venues for talented music makers, an Open Mic Night is a perfect way to support artists by creating a place where the community can gather to listen to the local talent. Chris at Grinds Vines and Automobilia hosts and Acoustic Open Night Mic where first timers are always welcome and all can be a star—for even 15 minutes. Organic fair trade coffees, wine, beer and other goodies are available. Bring your guitar and vocals on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 17400 Monterey Rd. Free for everyone. Visit gvacafe.tumblr.com