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Christmas in Tuolumne County

Within the 209 region and outside of it, the towns that make up Tuolumne County have a well-deserved reputation for bringing out the Christmas spirit with a bevy of festivities.

From traditional events that celebrate the region’s history, like the Miners’ Christmas in Columbia State Historical Park and the annual Los Posadas Nativity Procession to new activities like the new ice skating rink and a moonlight paint party at Indigeny Reserve, the area has plenty of options to celebrate the season.

Columbia Ice Skating Park

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Chicken Ranch Tribal Council, opened the outdoor 70ft x 40ft synthetic ice rink about a half-mile from Columbia Historic State Park. The ice rink will be open through the holidays. Reservations are required. General admission is $12 including skate rental for 90-minutes of skating. Skate Helpers: $5; Helmets: $5. To make reservations visit

Christmas on the Stage

The Sierra Repertory Theatre is getting into the holiday with two Christmas-themed shows taking the stage.

“Elf: The Musical” is showing through Dec. 17. Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity.

“The Christmas Foundling” also is running through Dec. 17. Inspired by the stories of Bret Harte, “The Christmas Foundling” is a heartwarming holiday tale, with the love of a child at its center and an unlikely romance as its driving force. 

For times and tickets to either show visit

Miners’ Christmas

Experience what Christmas was like during the Gold Rush with the Miners’ Christmas at Columbia State Historic Park.

Stop in and listen to Christmas stories from some of the ole’ timer miners, taste chestnuts roasted over the open fire, and make a variety of old-fashioned crafts. Explore the historic buildings of Columbia adorned with old fashion decorations while sipping hot cider and coffee. You might even catch sight of Father Christmas as he visits the town of Columbia.

The event is set for 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Los Posadas

Los Posadas, the Spanish tradition of re-creating the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, will be enacted at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Columbia State Historic Park with a distinctive 1850s look.

Columbia’s Main Street is decorated for the Christmas season, and luminaries light the way for the procession, while onlookers hold candles and join in singing Christmas Carols.

Wagon Rides

Take in the historic scenery in downtown Sonora on the Holly Jolly Wagon sponsored by Visit Tuolumne County. The hop-on, hop-off horse drawn wagon rides are free and are set for Dec. 3, 10 and 17. Rides are between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and start on Washington Street.

Equestrian Parade

Sponsored by the Mid Valley Unit of the Backcountry Horsemen of California, this parade in Columbia Historic State Park is open to horse riders of all ages. The riders and their horses will be decked in festive gear and parade through the park at 11 a.m. Dec. 11. For more information call 209-823-3538.

Holiday Music

St. James Church in Sonora will host a holiday music concert from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11. Donations are accepted. The church is located at 42 Snell Street.

Paint Party

Indigeny Reserve is hosting a guided painting party of a wintery scene from 1 p.m. o 3 p.m. Dec. 18. Painting begins immediately and breaks are provided throughout the event. The painting will be under the outside awning with heaters. Tickets are $40. For more information call 209-984-6077.