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Holiday Festival Celebrates Culture & Diversity

Holiday Festival Celebrates Culture & Diversity
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After a one year hiatus due to COVID-19 limitations, the city of Elk Grove hosted its 2nd annual “Illumination Holiday Festival”,  and “Holiday of Lights Parade” at District56 on Saturday December 4.

Outdoor Festivities

The all-day event started at 1 PM, and highlighted how other cultures from around the world celebrate the holiday season.  The festivities stretched all along  “The Avenue,”  where a makeshift food court featuring a curated lineup of various food truck vendors such as: Jerroz Food Truck (Gyros and Falafels); Jojo’s Hawaiian Fried Chicken; Mely’s Churros (Mexican stuffed Churros); Tailgater 44 (“Tailgate inspired foods with a Filipino twist”); and Ahuevo Foods (“Peruvian fusion street food”), provided guests the opportunity to purchase popular foods derived from different countries.  

Food Court
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

Complimentary photos with Santa, and a giant snow globe were popular attractions for those with kids.

Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
Onlooking the community center’s main entrance
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
“The Avenue”
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

By dusk, people gathered around the outdoor fire pit where “Slavitza Folk”, a traditional Slavic Folk Acapella group, sang holiday folk songs.

Community members gathered in front of District56’s main entrance firepit.
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

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Slavitza Folk
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
Sisters Kyleigh & Kennedy A , Kimberly F. pose with “Beau” who quickly became the star of the night
Lindsay Dao & “Beau” with family
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
Carissa Cheung, youngest daughter of Editor-in-Chief of Elk Grove Tribune, Dr. Jacqueline “Jax” Cheung
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

Indoor Festivities

Inside “The Center” the Cafe served coffee, tea and other light fare foods to guests, while providing additional space for community engagement. A designated room featuring local artisans selling a variety of handmade goods made up the event’s “International Holiday Marketplace”. Shoppers were able to support small businesses, while tackling their holiday shopping lists at the same time.  

“The Cafe”
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

Lauren Zakskorn, owner of Sweetdough Bakery, told the Tribune how much she enjoyed the festivities,

“This was our first time at the Illumination Holiday Festival and we had such a great time! The vendors and people of Elk Grove are so friendly and festive. We’re glad we got to take part and share our baked treats with everyone!”

-Lauren Zakskorn, owner of Sweetdough Bakery

She is a frequent vendor at District 56’s “NeighborGood” market on Thursdays and scheduled to be back on Dec 16.

Owner of Sweetdough, Lauren Zakskorn poses with her mom Debbie Zakskorn
International Holiday Marketplace
Owner, Robin Jones of The Flaming Gaia poses with sister Amber Andrade
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson
Owner Makaela Franklin of SoKae Kreations poses with boyfriend and family members Ealysha Cottle and Annie Franklin
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

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Holiday of Lights Parade

By 6 PM the festivities transitioned over to the streets behind District 56 where guests lined the city sidewalks to watch the annual “Holiday of Lights Parade.”

“It’s great to see our community coming together after 2020. I’m happy to come out here with my family and watch the parade. My kids loved all the lights and got some fun toys to take home.”

-Jessice Skube, Elk Grove Resident
Photo Credit: Mayor of Elk Grove Bobbie Singh-Allen
Photo Credit: Elk Grove Tribune Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jacqueline “Jax Cheung
Nathaniel Johnson (R) with his two sons, Nathaniel & Jonah enjoying the parade festivities
Photo Credit: Marissa Johnson

Lighting of The Ribbon Tree

Immediately following the parade, people gathered towards “The Veterans Grove” where the lighting of the city’s “Ribbon Tree” was led by Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, and Elk Grove Community Council member’s Darren Suen, Pat Hume, Kevin Spease and Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen. 

The tree remains lit throughout the season for those who were not able to attend.

(L to R) Kevin Spease, Pat Hume, Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen, Darren Suen and Vice Mayor Stephanie Nguyen posing with The Grinch
Photo Credit: Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen
Photo Credit: Mayor of Elk Grove Bobbie Singh-Allen

About The Author

Marissa Johnson

Marissa Johnson is our Executive Editor, Public Relations Specialist, and Photographer. Marissa has a degree in public relations from Sacramento State University.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and their two dogs, cooking , baking and is an avid runner. She also runs a photography business on the side.

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