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Holiday Festivals & Parades


If you’re looking for something fun and festive to do with the family this holiday season, there are festivals, parades and other events all over Orange County to choose from. Here’s a guide.

Putting on the Glitz

When: Nov 26
Where: Downtown San Clemente

Take the family out for a night of holiday cheer in the heart of San Clemente. There will be live entertainment, photo ops with Santa and late night shopping at the local shops.

Swedish Christmas Fare

When: Nov 27
Where: Costa Mesa Community Center

The Swedish Women’s Education Association of Orange County hosts this Christmas festival featuring a St. Lucia Pageant, a traditional “Julbord” feast, an arts and craft fair and a visit from the Swedish Santa Claus “Jultomten.”

Holidays in the Harbor

When: Dec 2-4, 8-10, 16-17
Where: Dana Point Harbor

This holiday festival at the Dana Point Harbor features live entertainment and activities for the whole family, boat rides with Santa and a "Santa Salutes the '70s" Boat Parade of Lights. Admission details vary, visit the website for full details.

Nutcracker Tree Lighting Festival

When: Dec 3, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Downtown Anaheim

Enjoy holiday shopping, Santa Claus photo ops, live performances and a tree lighting ceremony at this community festival in Downtown Anaheim.

Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk

When: Dec 4
Where: Corona Del Mar

Don't be fooled by its name, this event isn't a sporty fundraiser -- unless you consider shopping and eating sports. This Christmas celebration in the Corona Del Mar village of Newport Beach, promises to bring together friends and family to kick off the holiday season with live entertainment, boutique shopping, a $15,000 raffle and more.

Light of Love Holiday Parade

When: Dec 4
Where: Main St & Huntington Beach Pier Plaza

Watch the parade of youth groups, bands, classic cars and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus on Main St in Huntington Beach. Following the parade there will be live entertainment and photo ops with Santa Claus in the Pier Plaza. Process from this event benefit the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter.

Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade

When: Dec 10
Where: Laguna Niguel

Philanthropist and former NBA star Magic Johnson is the grand martial of this holiday parade featuring marching bands, equestrian units, military groups, classic cars and more.

Irish Holiday Festival

When: Dec 11-12
Where: Bowers Museum

Head to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana for a holiday festival featuring music, storytelling, dancing, art and Irish treats. Admission is $10 for museum members and $15 for non-members. Visit the website for full event details.

Christmas Boat Parade

When: Dec 14-18
Where: Newport Harbor

For four days, the harbor in Newport Beach will be illuminated with boats of all sizes, decorated in grand Christmas style and competing for the title of "best in the bunch." The events culminate on the final day with a fireworks display from Balboa Pier. Admission is free and this is one of the most popular holiday events in the county, so plan accordingly. Visit the website for parade routes and other details.

Cruise of Lights

When: Dec 16-23
Where: Huntington Beach Harbour

Take a guided cruise through the Huntington Harbour for a spectacular Christmas lights display on the waterfront. Purchase tickets online. Proceeds benefit the Philharmonic Society's outreach programs for school-age children in Orange County schools.

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