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Downtown San Jose Festivities for the Family over Thanksgiving Weekend

Harvest Festival, Christmas in the Park & Downtown Ice

Make a trip to downtown San Jose for Thanksgiving weekend festivities the whole family can enjoy.

The 39-year-old Harvest Festival, touted as the antidote to Black Friday mall shopping, is reputed to be one of the largest indoor arts and craft shows on the West Coast, bringing some 250 crafts people to the San Jose Convention Center November 25—the day after Thanksgiving—through 27.

“The Harvest Festival is very family friendly,” says Liz Rosinski, festival spokesperson. “We have an interactive KidZone where kids can decorate their own gingerbread cookie and make jewelry, entertainment that includes a mime and a puppeteer, and, of course, many vendors that sell toys, games, and children’s accessories.”

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“All of the arts and crafts offered are handmade right here in the United States, so people know that when they buy something, they are supporting high quality, American-made goods. Plus, many of the crafts people offer options to customize or personalize a purchase,” says Rosinski.

The festival includes daily entertainment, a stained glass ornament workshop, book signings, and prize drawings for an Apple iPad2 and a hand-stitched Americana quilt. The Humane Society Silicon Valley will receive proceeds from shopping bag sales and from the bag and parcel check service. Anyone who brings a new toy, book, or non-perishable food donation to support the AT&T Pioneers gets $2 off admission.

Visit www.harvestfestival.com or call (415) 447-3205 for information and tickets, also available at the door when the festival opens at 9 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Use the coupon in the Santa Clara Weekly for $2 off admission.

San Jose’s 32nd annual Christmas in the Park Community Giving Tree Lighting Ceremony is November 25, 5:30 p.m., at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The free ceremony includes Santa’s arrival, live entertainment, and winter wonderland holiday displays and activities for children, which continue daily 9 a.m. to midnight through January 1, 2012. Information: http://www.christmasinthepark.com/. You can check the list of entertainers on the website. For example, the Carden Academy of Santa Clara, will entertain December 14 at 6 p.m.

Hawaiian Airlines / Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice, which opened November 21, is open 2 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving Day, noon to midnight November 25 and 26, and noon to 9 p.m. the 27th. The outdoor ice skating rink is across from Plaza de Cesar Chavez, on the doorstep of the San Jose Museum of Art (http://www.sanjosemuseumofart.org/). Parents who don’t want to skate, can sit on benches and watch their children skate around the circle of palms.

“Ice skating downtown is a new tradition our kids enjoy when we visit family in Santa Clara on Thanksgiving Day,” says Debbie Morton of Ceres, recalling Thanksgiving 2010.

Downtown Ice admission, $13 for children 10 and under and $15 for 11 and older, includes skate rental. With some exceptions, Downtown Ice is open daily through January 29. Information: http://www.sjdowntown.com/.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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