Head downtown Friday night to participate in the city's holiday tree lighting ritual. Photo: Youtube
Head downtown Friday night to participate in the city’s holiday tree lighting ritual. Photo: DBA/YouTube

HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING Thanksgiving is behind us, and the winter holidays are just around the corner. Downtown Berkeley is kicking off the season with its third annual Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. It’s exactly what it sounds like — plus baked goods, holiday crafts for kids, and live music from the Berkeley Chamber Singers. Gather at the downtown BART Plaza on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m to participate. Check in on Yelp for a free gift. Berkeleyside is a sponsor of the event.

snow day

SNOW DAY Did this week’s rain fail to scratch your extreme weather itch? Take a snow day in the Gourmet Ghetto, which will be converted into a temporary winter wonderland on Sunday, Dec. 7. Berkeley kids will get a rare chance to play in the snow, visit with the Snow Queen, ride ponies and eat holiday treats. The free event is hosted by the North Shattuck Association and other sponsors. There will be local holiday gifts for sale. Stop by Shattuck Ave. between Rose and Vine Streets any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Other holiday events will be scattered throughout North Berkeley that day as well.

Washington Elementary

KINDERGARTEN INFORMATION FAIR The process of enrollment into one of Berkeley Unified School District’s 11 elementary schools can be understandably daunting for new families. The BUSD Annual Kindergarten Information Fair will provide answers to questions and details about the various campuses. The event is Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at LeConte Elementary at 2241 Russell St. It’s open to all incoming parents and kids, who can also find enrollment information online.

Glasses from Pinzette Glass, one of the many artisans participating in Open Studios
Glasses from Pinzette Glassworks, one of the many artisans participating in Holiday Open Studios

BERKELEY ARTISANS HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIOS For the 24th year, handpicked artists and craftspeople at studios, workshops and galleries in Berkeley will be opening their doors to the public during the 24th annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios which continues December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, and 22-24. Get your fill of blown glass, functional and decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps, custom furniture, garden art, unique clothing, textiles, and many styles of jewelry, recycled art, sculpture, photography, paintings, mosaics, stained glass, original prints and works on paper. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind. A free map and directory are available showing all participants and can be picked up at 2547 Eighth St. #24a, Berkeley 94710. The event is free. Full information at the Open Studios website.

East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest

ALTERNATIVE BOOK AND ZINE FEST It’s the fifth annual East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest, and the biggest yet. On Saturday, Dec. 6, Berkeley City College (BCC) will be packed with a staggering collection of local alternative publications for sale. Check out the list of artists and authors, or drop in between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to browse. Topics range from bisexuality to Beowulf, so there’s something for everyone. The festival kicks off the night before with a party at the E.M. Wolfman bookstore at 410 13th St. in Oakland, where local zinesters will read their work. BCC is located at 2050 Center St.

Also happening in Berkeley this weekend:

‘Red Hot Patriot’: The kick-ass wit of Molly Ivins at Berkeley Rep
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’
Feel grateful (dead) for the holidays: Stu Allen in Berkeley
The Late L@TE: Terry Riley plays BAM/PFA as curtain falls

Check out Berkeleyside’s event calendar for many more events, and make sure to post your own community happenings.

Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...