CHILL at the Queen Mary: The legendary ship sailed to points near and far, legendarily, before arriving in Long Beach in December 1967. To honor the Queen Mary's globe-jaunting past, CHILL, the annual winter festival at the ship, will "(e)mbark on an International Holiday Expedition" in 2017, something new for the December to-do. Look for eats, entertainment, and more from a host of nations, as well as a 38,000-square foot Ice Adventure Park and a tree lighting each and every night. We're heading into weekend #1 of its run, but CHILL stays cool through Sunday, Jan. 7, with only one closure, on New Year's Eve.
Newport Beach Christmas Lights Parade: It takes an impressive amount of time to count to 109, but that's how long this famous on-the-water procession has been around. Oh, we don't mean that it has been around for how long it takes to count to that number; it has sailed for 109 years. It's always on for five nights, and you can see it, if you make your way to some shore, or a boat, or a nearby restaurant, through Sunday, Dec. 17. Yachts'll make a showing, but canoes will, too, giving the glittery must-see a wide range of boat-a-topia to admire.
Las Posadas opens: Mary and Joseph's search for the inn? It's told, and sung about, numerous times during the yuletide season. One heartwarming, centuries-old retelling involves songs, candlelight, and community, and it is known here, in Mexico, and at points around the planet as Las Posadas. Olvera Street honors this tradition for nine nights, beginning on Dec. 16, with the final night occurring on Dec. 24. A piñata for the kids, and a lighthearted Pastorela, are two other nightly features of this meaning-filled gathering.
Porto's Potato Ball Pop-up: Many one-day-only, four-hours-long pop-up shops and eateries around town focus on a bevy of foods or products or clothing items, but on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City it'll be alllllll about what is probably the most famous sphere associated with Southern California, outside of the sun itself. It's the Porto's potato ball, you can buy 'em in packs of six, and when the Doña Dulce pop-up shop at the photography museum runs out, that's it: There shall be no more potato balls (well, there, at least, but, of course, there are four Porto's around the region, full of potato balls, so phew).
What to do, where to go and what to see
Holiday TrainFest and Toy Drive: First off, this Union Station party is wonderfully and fabulously free, which is a delight any time of the year, but definitely as the end of the year draws to a close. Second off? You'll spy neato vintage rail cars dressed in seasonal style, and a historic Santa Fe 3751 steam engine, too. Please do show with an unwrapped new toy and donate it to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, if you can, because that's the heart of the day. It's all choo-choo-ing on Track 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16.