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Rediscovering the small-town Christmas.

Come with us to savor Christmas in a small town.

* Huddled in subzero temperatures, residents in Wheatland, Wyoming, shiver outside their stately 1917 courthouse to hear one more telling of the ancient drama in Bethlehem. Chin deep in woolly clothing, they'd rather savor the mood here under the stars than move to a warmer indoors.

* In Waialua, on Oahu, a congregation dressed in sleeveless muumuus, scented with suntan oil and plumeria, joins hands to sing Silent Night--in Tagalog.

* On a Lake Mead beach near Boulder City, Nevada, a family barbecues a large fresh-from-the-lake bass while watching a parade of decorated boats float by.

Nothing illustrates the richness and diversity that bless our region quite like small towns--particularly at this time of year, when their residents (up to 20,000 or so) celebrate the season in a seemingly infinite variety of ways.

Our pictures and text only hint at the variety of terrain, weather, and ethnic and locally evolved traditions. All combine to form a marvelous stewpot of Yuletide events, any of which could enrich your family's holiday--whether you drop by for a few hours or settle in to stay for several days.

Last year, we asked you to share tales of small-town Christmases you hold dear. The result: an outpouring of letters telling us of events in about 75 towns. During the past two Decembers, more than 30 Sunset writers and photographers fanned across the West, sampling seasonal doings from Bozeman to Catalina Island. (We skipped well-publicized winter resort towns such as Aspen, Park City, and Truckee where visitors regularly outnumber locals.)

On these 10 pages, we distill nuggets from our readers' memories and our own visits.

What's so different about a small-town Christmas?

As in the big cities, the festivities in towns are often promoted by Main Street merchants to get people in the shopping mood. But in the places we report, you'll also find volunteer efforts--sometimes hokey, sometimes touching--that offer a glimpse of the town's ethnic origins or tell something about its special climate, attractive location, or other claim to fame.

Somehow merchants in Leavenworth--cold knees peaking out from their lederhosen--and the clerks rustling around in Victorian garb in Cannon Beach and Nevada City stores add an element of folksy fun missing in big city stores.

To join in many of the small-town doings we report, you'll have to plan a trip soon. The festive season kicks off the weekend after Thanksgiving with homespun parades, lights strung up downtown, community caroling by candlelight, mulled wine under the town's tree. Some sleigh rides and other activities continue after Christmas, but most celebrations wind down by Christmas Day, when, except for a few bed-and-breakfast inns and historic hotels that hold special observances, many of these towns are shuttered.

Some fine small towns get only a brief mention here, but a note or call to their chambers of commerce will bring you a list of additional happenings as well as interesting lodging or dining. It's a good idea to plan any visit around an event that especially appeals to you, allowing time to shop and dine and make leisurely visits to nearby attractions. Always include a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope with your queries to any addresses listed.

Forgive us if we've omitted your favorite town. This is not a contest, but a celebration. But don't hesitate to remind us of places and events you feel we should be aware of--for we'll continue to cover small towns in our future reporting. Send your comments to Small-town Christmases, Sunset Magazine, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, Calif. 94025.

Far enough from urban centers to seem away from it all, these are just a few of the West's towns whose invitations to linger awhile are particularly appealing. All offer a diversity of places to sleep, dine, shop, and play.

Others to consider include Bisbee, Arizona; Arroyo Grande on the central California coast; Gold Country towns (see page 72); and Cannon Beach, Oregon.

In mile-high Prescott ... a gallery of

decorations, a 70-year-old courthouse

Arizona's first territorial capital (1864), prescott still exudes Old West stability and charm amid a multitude of restored hotels and restaurants.

At Christmas the town is a gallery of decorations--from downtown to the Victorian neighborhoods. Centerpiece is the 1916 Yavapai County Courthouse, lavishly decorated all season: on December 7 at 3, there will be a parade; at 5:30, singing and lighting ceremonies will include reading of the Christmas story by Governor Bruce Babbitt.

Good hiking and often cross-country skiing are nearby. Chamber of Commerce, 117 Goodwin St., Prescott 86301; (602) 445-2000.

Santa arrives by boat, as you do,

at Southern California's Avalon

Jammed in summer, Avalon relaxes off-season. If you want to spend Christmas on the water, this is a good bet. Weather can be rainy.

Along the curved bayfront, at least half the shops, restaurants, and hotels stay open off-season; some good restaurants serve Christmas Eve and Day. They're strung with lights, as are boats in the harbor and hillside residences.

Music is a big part of the town's festive season, beginning December 1 at 1 P.M., when Avalon Community Chorus will present Handel's Messiah in the Casino Theater, free. December 17 brings lighting of the town's tree and caroling; later, Santa arrives on the ferry. All month Santa picks up and responds to letters dropped in his mailbox.

This season, hotel prices are at their lowest--$35 to $150 a night for two. See "Quiet Catalina" in the September 1984 Sunset, or write or call the Chamber of Commerce, Pleasure Pier, Avalon 90704; (213) 510-1520. For Christmas events, call 510-0928.

"Butterfat palaces" in Ferndale

share in town-wide events

In this prosperous century-old dairy town, many of the elaborate Victorian houses have been whimsically termed "butterfat palaces." Three are now B&Bs.

Christmas fills the town with special events, including crafts and bake sales, caroling, and home tours by candlelight. December 8 and 5, Saint Nicholas rides down Main Street on a white horse to help light a living spruce tree; community caroling follows. Many shops remain open Thursday through Saturday evenings in December. Of the town's seven modest restaurants, three serve dinner.

Thw town is near Eureka on the northern coast. Chamber of Commerce, Box 325, Ferndale 95536; (707) 786-4477.

In lakeside Sandpoint ... trolley rides,

skating, and a touch of Florence

A sleepy 1909 logging town beside Lake Pend Oreille--one of the West's largest fresh-water lakes--Sandpoint is just awakening to its tourism charms. It's known for its array of 40 restaurants packed along with shops and museums in a six-square-block downtown.

On most days from December 14 to 28, draft horses pull a trolley through town; they leave every half-hour, 11 to 4, from Cedar Street Bridge--Sandpoint's answer to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The bridge, which crosses Sand Creek, is filled with craft shops and restaurants, and is a gathering place from 9 to 8. The creek's ice will be cleared this year; bring skates. It's a 30-minute drive to skiing. Chamber of Commerce, Box 928, Sandpoint 83864; (208) 263-2161.

The Bard's gone, so Ashland

calls on Dickens and Santa Claus

You might think Ashland would turn off the lights and heave a sigh of relief when the Bard goes on vacation in November, but instead it launches "The 12 Days of Christmas" on November 29 and continues it through January 1. There'll be theater (see page 44), craft fairs, caroling, home tours, Yule feasts, and more.

But the town itself is the main attraction. A lively, compact downtown with turn-of-the-century buildings and a dash of Elizabethan flavor, the five blocks of E. Main Streetand Lithia Plaza are packed with distinctive shops, boutiques, art and craft galleries, and specialty food stores.

Lodging--ample and cheaper than in summer--includes numerous B&Bs with Christmas food and decorations. Winchester Inn plans hearty Dickensian banquets December 20, 21, 22; call (503) 488-1115.

Don't forget Jacksonville, 17 miles away. One of eight National Historic Landmark towns in the country, it holds caroling, home tours, and musical events on November 29 and 30, December 1, 7, and 8. Southern Oregon Historical Society, Box 480, Jacksonville 97530; (503) 899-1847.

What else? Wineries to tour, ice fishing, day and night skiing 18 miles away at Mount Ashland, nordic skiing trails nearby. Chamber of Commerce, 110 E. Main St., Box 606, Ashland 97520; call (503) 482-3486.

Bavaria in the Cascades: gemutlichkeit

(good cheer) up in Leavenworth

After hard times hit this sawmill town in Washington's Cascades, it decided in the 1960s to reemerge in Bavaria. Along Front Street and up Icicle River Road, you'll see carved wood balconies and painted Alpine scenes. Along Front, Eighth, and Ninth streets, look for some of the town's 20 restaurants, plus shops. You're apt to find sunshine, pristine snow, conifers, weeping birches dripping in icicles, and mountain peaks that almost lean in on the town. Nearby are sleigh rides, nordic skiing, and a night-lighted family ski hill. Downhill skiing is 35 miles away. On two days, Leavenworth's Yuletide is almost too successful. At 4:30 on December 7 and 14, as thousands of Christmas lights flicker on, the streets will be wall-to-wall with people holding hands and singing Silent Night. Thick hot soups, baked apples, wursts, and warm cinnamon rolls wil be sold from sidewalk stands; festivities include handbell ringers, Santa holding court in the park, carolers, an oompah band. Buses shuttle you out for a sleigh ride. (Those nights only, the town's lodging sells out: nearest rooms are 23 miles away in Wenatchee: call 800/572-7753 in Washington.) The town is 120 miles east of Seattle. Chamber of Commerce, Box 327, Leavenworth 98826; (509) 548-7914. Gold rush towns share holiday cheer When California's 1849 gold rush spurred the stampede of pioneers headed West, it also created a stretch of late 1800s towns in the Sierra foothills that remain living memorials to the miners and merchants of the early days. Loaded with architecture that's Victorian or simply "old West," 25 towns along State Highway 49 reflect their heritage at Yuletime in various ways, ranging from elaborate offerings in Nevada City to simple entertainments.

Here, in county-wide clusters north to south, are the most active communities. Chambers of commerce can tell you about historic lodging and holiday events. Also see the theater listings on page 44.

NEVADA COUNTY: Nevada City (2,500) and Grass Valley (8,500). Just 4 miles apart and an hour's drive northeast of Sacramento, these towns host their biggest doings on Wednesday and Friday nights.

In Nevada City--"Queen of the Northern Mines," its seven hills loaded with period residences and commercial buildings--a Victorian Christmas prevails Wednesdays, December 4, 11, and 18, from 6 to 9.

More modest Grass Valley--home to miners while the merchants favored Nevada City--has scheduled Cornish Christmas on Fridays, November 29 and December 6, 13, and 20, from 6:30 to 8:30. The theme harks back to Cornwall in England, birthplace of many of the mining families.

In both towns, the streets fill with musicians, actors, and vendors in Victorian or Cornish dress selling foods and crafts. Stores remain open as carolers stroll by and hayrides clop through the decorated downtowns. Many of Nevada City's sidewalk vendors are professional artists; Grass Valley's crafts are more homespun.

In Nevada City, also watch for events at the American Victorian Museum, 325 Spring Street, (916) 265-5804: crafts fair November 29 to December 1, renaissance dinner December 14, and Sunday concerts.

Lodging, dining, and shopping can be a delight in Nevada City, which has the National Hotel--in continuous operation since 1852--plus three Victorian B&Bs. Grass Valley's historical accommodations include the carefully renovated Holbrooke Hotel and Murphy's Inn.

Details: Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, 248 Mill St., Grass Valley 95945; (916) 273-4667. Nevada City Chamber, 132 Main St., NEvada City 95959; 265-2692.

AMADOR COUNTY: Amador City (146), Sutter Creek (1,925), Ione (2,475), Volcano (98), Jackson (2,915). Most festive pre-Christmas weekend is December 6, 7, and 8: Friday night open house in Sutter Creek (best decorated of area towns); Saturday, a Scottish walk and Festival of Lights in Volcano and a festive parade in Ione; Saturday and Sunday, Calico Christmas in Amador City; Sunday, a tour of area B&Bs. Amador County Chamber of Commerce, Box 596, Jackson 95642; (209) 223-0350; after hours, see information rack outside office, State 49 at State 88 in Jackson.

TUOLOMNE COUNTY: Columbia (750). Sonora (4,132), Jamestown (1,250). Columbia, an 1870s town under careful restoration by California State Parks, offers a great variety of programs December 5 through 22--all reflecting an 1870 miner's Christmas. Weekends will be busiest. December 5 through 15, eight Victorian Christmas Feasts complete with actors will be held at the City Hotel; cost is $45 per person. Reservations: (209) 532-1479.

Sonora's season begins with 2,000 hand-held candles lighting in the historic town (November 29 from 5 to 8) and includes a crafts fair (Nov. 29 to Dec. 1), a caroling extravaganza along decorated streets (Dec. 14, noon to 3:30), a community sing (Dec. 20, noon) at Courthouse Park. County-wide information: Visitors Bureau, Box 4020, Sonora 95370; (209) 533-4420.

Yule logs and a scavenger hunt

Hunting for something provides frolic and does wonders for community spirit. Youngsters in two Colorado towns play hide-and-seek with a Yule log in the forest; the winner rides it into town. Adults join in for caroling and wassail over a log fire, using half last year's log, half this year's. The remaining half is a symbol there will always be warmth.

PALMER LAKE (2,000), 20 miles north of Colorado Springs. December 15 at 1:30 in the Town Hall, the trumpet sounds, team captains in green capes lead hunters in red capes, while singers urge them on. Entire event lasts about 3 hours. Visitors are given favors made during a town potluck. Town of Palmer Lake, Box 208, Palmer Lake 80133; (303) 481-2953.

SILVERTON (800), 50 miles north of Durango. December 8 at 2, meet at Kendall Mountain, south of town on 14th Street, for a Yule log hunt and wassail. Chamber of Commerce, Box 565, Silverton 81433; (303) 387-5654.

Town-wide scavenger hunts are a variation on this theme. HEre's one example: DOWNIEVILLE, California (350), on State 49 north of Nevada City. December 14, shopkeepers compose riddles that lead participants through town; prize goes to the family that finds all items in the shortest time. It's part of a homespun Holiday on Main, lasting from 10 to 8 that day. Chamber of Commerce, Box 515, Downieville 95936; (916) 289-3560.

Mardi Gras at 10[deg.]

Towns from Poulsbo to Bisbee have learned to lure Yule shoppers downtown, but none quite equals Bozeman's Christmas STroll--December 6 from 6 to 9 this year--which one visitor described as "Mardi Gras at 10 deg.] or colder."

This town packs everything into one night: horse-drawn sleigh rides, a live Nativity scene, carolers replacing traffic on Main Street, roasted chestnuts and other food for sale, ethnic dancing, special menus of restaurants, free movies, crafts sales, a square dance, teen ance, and dress-up ball. Everybody shows up.

Bozeman (23,809) is 90 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Chamber of Commerce, Box B, Bozeman 59715; (406) 586-5421.

Smorgasbord and Santa Luci

Pockets of Scandinavia retain their old-country traditions and share them with visitors--ranging from Santa Lucia festivals to a smorgasbord.

KINGSBURG, California (5,800), 20 miles southeast of Fresno. Scandinavians escaping Minnesota's cold winters founded this agricultural town in the late 1800s. Merchants are choosing Scandinavian architectural themes, and the town's water tower has just been altered to look like a Swedish coffeepot.

Santa Lucia Day--December 14--starts at 6 A.M. with Swedish pancakes at several restaurants, followed at 11 by a children's parade and, at 11:30 at City Hall, the Santa Lucia ritual and dancing. Emphasis is on Sweden at the crafts and food booths lining Draper Street from 10 to 5 this day. Chamber of Commerce, Box 515, Lingsburg 93631; (209) 897-2925.

RICHVALE, California (225). This rice-growing Swedish community 80 miles north of Sacramento is too small to support a commercial restaurant, so to help finance the community-owned Richvale Cafe, families bake up their finest Swedish recipes and hold a fund-raising smorgasbord at the cafe. This year the two sittings are at 5:30 and 7:30 on December 7. For tickets ($25), call (916) 882-4421 between 6 A.M. and 2 P.M.

GEORGETOWN, Colorado (850). A mining town settled in the 1800s, Georgetown, 45 miles west of Denver, hosts a Swedish Christmas Market from 10 to 5 on December 7, 8, 14, and 15. Food and crafts booths lining Strousse Park sell hot cider, Swedish cookies, carved wooden ornaments, toys, handmade knit caps and sweaters, and wreaths. At noon each day, the Santa Lucia procession--young children dressed in white carrying stars--comes down Rose Street.

Other events: International folk dancing, croling, handbell ringing. Dress for winter. Georgetown Society, Box 667, Georgetown 80444; (303) 569-2840; toll-free from Denver, 674-2625.

ASTORIA, Oregon (9,000). Scandinavian fishing families helped found this first permanent American settlement in the far West, 100 miles northwest of Portland. November 29 at 7, a Santa Lucia procession with some 100 in folk dress wends along Commercial Street by candlelight, accompanied by accordion music. During the 45-minute ceremony, the town's Christmas lights are turned on to launch the Yule season. Night ends with free folk dancing at the Elks Ballroom, 453 11th Street. Chamber of Commerce, Box 176, Astoria 97103; (503) 325-6311.

POULSBO, Washington (3,500). Norwegians still populate this small fishing community on the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula. Shops are painted for the holidays with Scandinavian themes. November 30 at 3 at Liberty Bay Park, a Scandinavian dance is visited by the Lucia bride; then Santa arrives by fishing boat with candy for everyone, followed by burning of the Yule log. Ethnic stops include Sluys Bakery, Lemolo Meats for smoked meats, and Holly Haus for crafts by 300 artisans. For lodging, try Manor Farm with a restaurant serving a Christmas feast all month. Chamber of Commerce, Box 1063, Poulsbo 98370; 779-4848.

The historic 1797 mission in San Juan Bautista (1,300), 30 miles south of San Jose, becomes a stage every December for one of the country's liveliest and best Spanish folk theater presentations. This year El Teatro Campesino will perform La Pastorela, its musical version of the medieval Spanish dramatization of the shepherds' journey to Bethlehem, beset with all sorts of temptations, often with hilarious consequences.

The show (in Spanish but easy to follow, with an English synopsis) moves around you--front, back, sides, center. Eleven performances are set for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, December 6 through 22. Prices: $5 to $10 adults, $3 to $7 students, seniors, and ages 12 and under.

For tickets, call (408) 623-2444 or write to El Teatro Campesino, Box 1240, 705 Fourth St., San Juan Bautista 95045. Come early or stay late to browse in this delightful town and sample its dozen restaurants. For lodging choices, write to Chamber of Commerce, Box 1037, San Juan Bautista 95045; (408) 623-2454.

They decorate the canyon

Every year since 1946, this small coal-mining town on Interstate 25 in northeast New Mexico, just a few miles below the Colorado border, transforms a box canyon into the City of Bethlehem.

Guiding you along the way, Apache Street is lined with Toyland scenes: book and cartoon characters appealing to children. Then angels herald your entry into Climax Canyon, where 20 painted scenes depict the Nativity. On a 1/4-mile loop drive, you pass shepherds, a manager scene, Mary and the infant Jesus riding a donkey. The scenes are especially dramatic between 5 P.M. and midnight, when they're illuminated and carols are piped from stereo speakers. It's all free; dates this year are December 14 through January 5. Chamber of Commerce, Box 1211, Raton 87740; (505) 445-3689.

Brisk sleigh rides in the Rockies

A dash through the snow in an open sleigh is no longer just a memory--it has returned to the West in a big way and is coming back to small towns like the ones mentioned here. Our list is limited to non-resort Rocky Mountain towns. You'll also find such rides at most major ski resorts.

Usually you're drawn by a team of large draft horses with harness bells a-jingling. The air is nippy--maybe subzero--so you'll want to bundle up. Along the way, you may stop to warm up, hot drink in hand, by a crackling bonfire. Reservations are required. All schedules are subject to change or cancellation, depending on snowfall and weather.

RIDGWAY, Colorado (300), 80 miles north of Durango. Roma's Sleigh Rides, Box 233, 411 County Rd. 12, Ridgway 81432, (303) 626-5616, runs 30-minute rides daily, December 1 until spring. Cost is $45 for up to 15 people. On December 14, rides for the town's tree-lighting festival will cost $3.

McCall, Idaho (3,000), 110 miles north of Boise. High Mountain Sleighs, Box 365, McCall 83638, (208) 634-7967, plans to have rides daily from December 1 to February 15. Half-hour rides through McCall cost $12 adults, $6 ages 10 to 17, $2 children under 9. Rides to a restaurant meal cost $18 and $5. Wilderness rides for 25 or more: $150 to $200.

Northwest Passage B&B Sleigh Rides, Box 1269, McCall 83638, 634-8236 or 634-8123, offers day or evening rides all winter, through town or in the countryside, for $5 to $8 an hour, or $10 to $15 for evening rides that include a chili feed.

SANDPOINT, Idaho (4,500). Pend Oreille Sleigh Rides, 2282 Lake Shore Dr., Sagle 83860 (5 miles south of Sandpoint), (208) 265-4722, offers daily trips at 10, 12:30, 3, 5:30, and 8. Smallest sled carries 4 for $45; largest carries 20 for $100. Ninety-minute rides through the woods include stop at a bonfire for hot drinks. Also, January 2 until snow melts, dinner rides with chili and ribs cost $10 and $15.

Valley Vista Sleigh Rides, 3904 Highway 95 S., Cocolalla 83813 (14 miles south of Sandpoint), 263-7188, has daily 45-minute rides along the highway and next to the railroad. Price starts at $30 for up to 15 riders.

BOZEMAN, Montana (23,809), 90 miles east of Butte. Crosscut Ranch Sleigh Rides, Box 398, Bozeman 59715, (406) 587-3122, offers 90-minute rides through forest and fields, day or night, for $8 for adults, $4 ages 12 and under.

Triple Tree Ranch, 5480 Sourdough Rd., Bozeman 59715, 587-8513 or 587-4821, has 3-hour outings through meadows, along a creek, through aspen and chokecherry groves to a bonfire. Rates start at $75 for up to 15; dinner can be arranged.

TAOS, New Mexico (3,500), 75 miles north of Santa Fe. Taos Indian Horse Ranch, Box 3019, Taos 87571, (505) 758-8244, will take you on a ride on Taos Pueblo land, accompanied by sleigh bells and taped Indian flute music. Rides run Thanksgiving to New Year's. Half-hour daytime rides cost $10; after 4, $12.50; dinner rides with bonire, chili, and Indian fry bread cost $27.50

MIDWAY, Utah (1,500), 50 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Homestead Sleigh Rides, 700 N. Homestead Dr., Midway 84049, (801) 654-3333 or 654-0833, offers 35-minute sleigh rides by reservation through snow season at The Homestead, a century-old ranch resort by a mineral spring. Cost is $40 for up to 11. Saturdays and daily from Christmas to New Year's, rides from 1 to 3 cost $3.50 per person.

CODY, Wyoming (7,000), 50 miles east of Yellowstone National Park. From 6 to 9 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through December, you can ride through town to see turn-of-the-century buildings outlined with twinkling white lights. Depart from Mountain Bell Plaza. There may be a small fee. Chamber of Commerce, 836 Sheridan Ave., Cody 82414; (307) 587-2297.

EVANSTON, Wyoming (12,000), 80 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. As part of Old Fashioned Christmas, on November 30 and following Saturdays through December 21, sleigh rides depart the Depot Plaza from 1 to 5 P.M., end with bonfire, refreshments: Chamber of Commerce, Box 365, Evanston 82930; (307) 789-2757.

The story of Mary and Joseph

The story of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem is a touching folk drama, no matter what your religion. It's amazing how many variations there are: Mexican, Oriental, and all kinds of local adaptations. You're welcome at any of these presentations, civic or church-related, held indoors or outside--and all are free.

We include two Las Posadas (The Shelters)--the Spanish-Mexican version of the story. Traditionally lasting nine nights, it dramatizes Mary and Joseph's futile search for lodging. The final night they and their followers, often carrying candles, strumming guitars, and singing, are given a room amid rejoicing--usually a pinata party and refreshments. BISBEE, Arizona (8,049). December 21, an evening Las Posadas procession at Old Bisbee's Copper Queen Plaza proceeds west on Main Street to St. Patrick's church and a pinata party. December 13 and 20 at 6 PM., the Nativity will be reenacted at a manager at Copper Queen Plaza. You can join in the caroling. CAREFREE/CAVECREEK, Arizona. (1,744/3,500). December 14 and 15, 40 volunteers, including a choir and flutists, reenact the Nativity in a starlit natural amphitheater of boulders. Mary and Joseph, surrounded by livestock, are visited by shepherds and kings in splendid attire. An angel appears to be suspended from above. Luminarias show the way from Tom Darlington Road (Scottsdale Road) west on Carefree Drive. The pageant begins at 7; to get a good spot, arrive by 5 or so. Come in ski clothes, with blankets or sleeping bags (you sit on the ground). Bring flashlight, warm drinks, snacks. HArd rain cancels. PRESCOTT, Arizona (20,055). December 5 and 6 from 6 to 8, the congregation of First Christian Church, 1230 Willow Creek Road, creates A Walk Through Bethlehem. Visitors register, like Bethlemen's taxpayers, and then may wander through leather, weaving, and basket shops, past women at a well, a rabbi teaching children, and booths with free dates, olives, and goat cheese to sample, before reaching a manger complete with animals and a Christ Child; (602) 445-7877. COLUMBIA, California (750). December 8 and 15 at 5. Mary and Joseph are turned away at City Hotel and lead a procession down Main Street before being received at a stable. A celebration (local choirs singing) follows; (209) 532-4301. WAIALUA, Oahu, Hawaii (9,849). December 22 at 7, Filipino and Japanese congregation recreate their own version of the Nativity in one of the last remaining plantation churches--the United Church of Christ. For location and details, see the article on Hawaiian church celebrations earlier in this issue. BOZEMAN, Montana (23,809). December 24 from 6 to 7, teen-agers from the United Methodist Church, Wilson and Olive streets, reenact the Nativity. TAOS, New Mexico (3,500). December 16 to 24 at about 6 P.M., members of San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos, 3 miles south of town, stage Las Posadas around town; (505) 758-2754. LEAVENWORTH, Washington (1,500). December 21 to 24, every half-hour between 7 and 9 P.M., 30 members of the Church of the NAzarene, 111 Ski Hill Drive, reenact the Nativity with animals and shepherds warning by a bonfire and wise men following a star. OAK HARBOR, Washington. (12,551). December 18 at 6 P.M., the youth of Whidbey Presbyterian Church will reenact the Nativity outdoors at 4008 400 West Avenue; (206) 679-3579. CODY, Wyoming (7,000). December 20, a living Nativity will begin at 1 at Mountain Bell Plaza; (307) 587-2297. WHEATLAND, Wyoming (3,975). December 16, 17, and 18, 30 members of two churches reenact the Nativity of the County Courthouse, 6 to 8. Severe weather cancels; (307) 322-2322.
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Title Annotation:The West's small town
Date:Dec 1, 1985
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