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Turlock prepares for holiday merriment
Downtown christmas lights
Travis Regalo, executive director of the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association, puts up lights Monday on Main Street in preparation for the Festival of Lights celebration slated for Nov. 25 (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Turlock as lights were strung up on trees along Main Street this week in preparation for upcoming holiday events.

Turlock will start the holiday season with a pre-Thanksgiving tradition — the Turkey Trot fun run. Families are invited to burn a few extra calories before stuffing themselves on Thanksgiving with a 2-mile fun run or walk and a 1-mile children’s stampede on Nov. 19. The event will be held at Donnelly Park. Registration is available on the Community Pass link found on the City of Turlock’s website under Recreation.

Turlockers will brightening the night with the annual Festival of Lights on Nov. 25. The longtime Turlock event and community Christmas tree lighting will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving in downtown on Main Street, with the tree lighting at Central Park on the corner of Main Street and Golden State Boulevard. The festival will feature kid-friendly entertainment and a vendor street fair making for a night that will surely get Turlockers in the Christmas spirit. Annually, nearly 20,000 visitors from both Turlock and the surrounding communities attend the event.

“This event brings the community together to light up the downtown and kick off the holiday season. We highlight the small business community within our downtown in preparation for the biggest time of the year,” said Molly Amant with the Downtown Property Owners’ Association.

The Downtown Association is still accepting vendors for the event. For more information, call 209-634-6459 or email

The following week will see the return of Turlock’s annual Christmas parade.

The 43rd annual Turlock Downtown Christmas Parade will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 2. The parade route will start at Main Street and Canal Drive and travel west through downtown to Broadway and end at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. This year’s theme is Sweets & Treats.

The City of Turlock’s Recreation Department and the Turlock Firefighters Local 2434 will once again sponsor the parade that brings in hundreds of residents and visitors alike to line the streets of West Main to “ooh” and “ahh” as schools, community groups, businesses, scout troops and churches display their holiday spirit in the form of lights and wonder.

Local groups will also be celebrating the season with song and dance.

Turlock’s own Center for Urban Performance & Service and Westside Ministries will present “Barber Shop Christmas” at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Turlock Community Theatre. Inspired by actual events, Anthony’s Barbershop provided more than just a haircut in Modesto in the 1990s. Witness the incredible story of reconciliation that brought hope to an entire community. From ballet, hip hop and tap, to folklorico and aerial arts, this is a show that has it all.

Admission is $10 and tickets are available at or by calling 209-667-9020.

Backstage Academy of Dance is once again putting a spin on the classic Christmas tale of Clara and her nutcracker with their performance of “Twisted Nutcracker.”

“Twisted Nutcracker” still tells the story of Clara’s Christmas Eve journey through the Land of Sweets, but the Academy has expanded the ballet to include all styles of dance — jazz, tap, hip hop and others.

The Turlock dance troupe will be performing “Twisted Nutcracker” at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 11 a.m. Dec. 17 and 3 p.m. Dec. 17. All shows are at the Turlock Community Theatre at 1574 E. Canal Drive. Tickets will be sold at the door at by calling 209-667-8511.