If you are looking forward to walking in a winter wonderland, be sure to mark Clear Lake as your jolly destination this year. On December 5-7, Christmas by the Lake takes over the town, and you are sure to be in the holiday spirit by the end of the weekend.
Starting on Friday is the Opportunity Village Festival of Trees. Decorated trees sponsored by local individuals, organizations, and businesses are on display and for sale at Opportunity Village’s gym. For $20/person, you can stroll through the candle-lit festival with appetizers, desserts, and coffee available. More than 100 trees will be marked in all price ranges to meet any budget and can be bought to bring cheer to any office or home. If you can’t make it to the opening night gala, the trees will still be on display and for sale on Saturday from 8am - 3pm and on Sunday from 11am – 2pm with a general admission fee of $2. Also on Saturday, located at the Village will be Santa’s Workshop with children’s activities and breakfast with Santa. All proceeds from these events go towards the support services Opportunity Village gives to people with disabilities.
On Saturday, a majority of the main attractions of Christmas by the Lake will take place on Main Avenue and in City Park. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be onsite, of course, to visit with children and for photo opportunities on Saturday and Sunday. They can be found at the Santa House in City Park, with giant candy canes leading the way. Also throughout the day is a free matinee at the Lake Theatre, free horse-drawn carriage and sleigh rides, and Christmas Karaoke.
Other activities around town include a cookie walk and crafts at the United Methodist Church starting at 8:30am, a Holiday Bazaar will be open at 9am at the Senior Citizen’s Center with vendor crafts and goodies, and at 10am the Clear Lake Community will be providing outerwear to all ages for free for anyone in need located at 207A South 4th Street. Have a child that thinks they’re royalty? Well if they’re from Clear Lake or Ventura and between the ages of 3-5, they could be chosen to don the official 2014 Christmas by the Lake Prince & Princess title. Randomly drawn from all participating contestants, a boy and girl will receive a $50 U.S. savings bond. The contest is held on Saturday at 11am in the community room at Clear Lake Bank & Trust.
But one of the real highlights to everyone in town is the Lighted Christmas Parade at 5pm. All entries are lit up with lights galore and will incorporate this year's theme of "Best Christmas Movie" on it as they pass through downtown Main Avenue. Be sure to get there early as hundreds of people will pack the sidewalks, no matter the weather. To bring your perfect day to a close, watch a stunning fireworks display near the lake after the parade. There’s nothing quite like watching fireworks in the winter with cocoa in your mug and glittering snow on the ground.
Sunday’s activities include more Santa at his house in City Park, another free matinee at Lake Theatre, a kid’s treasure hunt in the Lakeview Room located at the band shell, and of course the yearly Polar Bear Club where hundreds will dip into the chilly depths of Clear Lake for a good cause.
For a full list of times and locations for Clear Lake's annual Christmas by the Lake, check out the schedule here.