Debbie Croft: Plenty of festive holiday events in the foothills

November 30, 2012 


Christmas is exactly 24 days away, and the foothills communities have planned many festive activities to celebrate the season.

Mariposa's annual Christmas Home Tour is on the calendar again. This popular holiday event will be held today and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, this year's tour will center in the Mariposa township. Private homes, public buildings and St. Joseph's Catholic Church are the designated stops. Most of these structures have a story to tell, as they have been in use for over a century. Some for almost 150 years.

Eight stops complete this year's tour, including the following:

The Adair-Castagnetto house on Jones Street nearly fell into ruin. But in recent years the Suggs family bought and completely renovated it, turning the home into a charming residence in one of Mariposa's historic neighborhoods.

The Counts House, located on the grounds of the Mariposa County Museum and History Center, exhibits home life as it was in the early 1900s.

The Mariposa County Courthouse is the jewel of this Gold Rush town.

The historic Mariposa County Jail standing today on the south end of town replaced the community's first jail, which burned in a fire in the mid-1800s.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church also will open its doors. Construction began in 1862 and was completed the following year. The church, rectory and cemetery, at the back of the property, all are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the tour docents will be on hand to inform visitors about historical artifacts inside the church.

Lawson's Construction recently built a new home in Manzanita Estates, overlooking Mariposa from the east. The Lawson family is glad to be participating in the tour.

"It's a small way to give back to our community," Kim Lawson said. "We hope to fill the house with a warm and welcoming glow."

This house, on Wild Peach Lane, will be decorated in a natural wintry theme, with pine cones, fresh boughs from evergreen trees, mistletoe and more. Flickering candlelight and holiday fragrances will greet visitors at the door.

"We hope people will enjoy the spectacular views of Mariposa and the surrounding mountain terrain from our site," Kim continued.

Friends of the Library is a non-profit organization founded in 1954 to support the Mariposa County Library. Last year the Friends purchased new bookshelves, a display case, security cameras, special-needs books and large print books.

Through book sales and the Christmas Home Tour, the group raises about $20,000 each year to help support and expand the services offered by the library.

Tickets are $12 each and are available at the library, 4978 10th St., the Mariposa Visitors Center, 5158 Highway 140, and Trent's Styling for His and Hers, 4993 Williams Road. A tour map and directions are included with tickets. Call Oralee Phillips for more information at (209)966-2740.

Complimentary soup will be available for tour guests at the Senior Center, at 5246 Spriggs Lane. The John C. Fremont Hospital volunteers will display their handcrafts for sale at the facility.

The Merry Mountain Christmas Parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. today. As the parade makes its way through downtown Mariposa, the judges are hoping to see lots of "bling." Spectators are encouraged to stay afterward for the bonfire and caroling. Santa will make his appearance, with gifts in his sack for the children.

The little ballerinas of the Butterfly Dance Studio are performing The Nutcracker Sunday at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mariposa County High School. Erin Fiester will star in the role of Clara. The studio is owned and managed by Rebecca Jones McAndrews. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling (209)628-0788. Doors open half an hour before the show.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at

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