December 11, 2018
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Fun family Christmas events in Cotati

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
November 23, 2018

This year, Cotati will host three fun, family events during the holiday season, over the course of three weekends.

The holiday season will kick off with the Cotati Shop and Stroll Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Old Redwood Highway will be closed between La Plaza and Page Street and attendees can expect about 75 vendors from Cotati and the surrounding area offering everything from food to jewelry, to homemade goods and crafts, just in time for the holidays. In addition, there will be horse and carriage rides for $5 per person from 12 to 3 p.m. Beer and wine is being sponsored by the Cotati Chamber of Commerce, and music provided by an eclectic group of local musicians ranging from rock, to jazz, to folk music, including Credo High School, Mosaic, The Bluebirds, and Memory Lane Combo.

“We do something we call a passport,” says Kelly Smith, Executive Director of Agricultural Community Events Farmers Markets, which manages several local farmers’ markets as well as organizes the Shop and Stroll. “You come by any of the participating businesses, [some brick and mortar businesses and some that have booths] and stamp the passport. Once you’ve had it stamped from all the businesses listed on the passport you turn it in to enter to win some of the raffle prizes that are being offered by those businesses. It’s an interactive way to get people to go around downtown and see the different businesses.”

Besides several food vendors selling packaged goods that are also suitable for gifts, there will also be several hot food vendors and snacks such as roasted chestnuts and kettle corn.

“I’m excited that we’re doing it again this year,” says Smith. “We had a great time last year so I’m excited to be invited back and excited to be a part of Cotati. All the funds that we accumulate will help benefit the farmers market next season so it goes hand in hand.”

The following Fri. night, Dec. 7, Cotati will again host the tree lighting, an annual event that gets bigger every year. The actual lighting of the tree will happen around 6:45p.m., but activities will be ongoing in La Plaza park from 4 to 8 p.m. The City of Cotati, host of the event, will again be providing free cookies, donated by Safeway. The Cotati Lions Club will sponsor and serve free hot cocoa, coffee donated by Starbucks and hot apple cider and the Cotati Chamber of Commerce and Exchange Bank will be handing out candy canes.

“There will also be crafts the kids can do for free says Ashley Wilson, Recreation Coordinator for the City of Cotati. “They can visit Santa and he gives away a little treat to every child that comes up there after the tree lighting. You can take pictures with him for free too.”

Besides treats, the tree lighting event will also have at least two food trucks that will have food for purchase. At the time of this writing Ultimate Souvlaki Greek Food and Wingman chicken are scheduled to participate, and other local vendors will be selling gift items such as clothing, candles and crafts.

The event will offer horse and carriage rides and a trackless train for $3 per person, with the funds going to pay for the attractions as well as to benefit the Cotati scholarship fund to give children from low income families the opportunity to go to camp. Face painting will be provided by Clementine the Amazing and classic holiday music will be provided by The Butter Dishes and some other local vocal groups.

“The Fire District and the Cotati Police Department have a holiday toy drive every year for children,” says Wilson. “We will have barrels there and accepting donations but you can also donate at the police department. We are also currently doing a food drive with the Redwood Empire Food Bank so we’ll be accepting non-perishable food items there as well.”

The City of Cotati is still accepting vendors for the event and would appreciate more volunteers as well.

“I would love to have some elves to help in Santa’s workshop and some traffic control elves,” says Wilson. “I need help at all my events so if someone wants to volunteer or needs volunteer hours I’m the person to call.”

Wilson can be reached at 707-665-4222 or at

Lastly, on Sat., Dec. 15, the City of Cotati will be hosting its third annual Breakfast with Santa, a fun event for children and their parents that includes a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, potatoes, orange juice, hot cocoa and coffee, crafts, a visit with Santa and other activities.

There will be two sessions available, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. At the time of this writing both sessions are about two-thirds full, so interested participants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

“Last year we had to turn people away that morning who showed up thinking they could come,” says Wilson. “It was sad because I was trying to get everyone in but if we don’t have room we can’t create an unsafe environment. So I really encourage people to sign up as soon as they can to make sure they have a spot.”

This year, due to the popularity of the event, the craft section will be held in a separate classroom called “Santa’s workshop” and breakfast will still be held in the Cotati Room, to give everyone more space. There will be a photo booth, pictures with Santa and a goody bag for every child to take home. The event costs $12 per person, with children under 2 for free, and participants can sign up online at or by contacting Wilson directly.