Editor's Note: Due to the smoke from the Thomas fire, some of the events may be postponed or canceled. Please contact the presenting organization for information.
From “rein-goats” to tuba concerts to “The Nutcracker,” Santa Barbara’s holiday traditions make it worth a trip “south on 101” this weekend.
Sure, there are reindeer at the zoo this season, but have you ever seen a “rein-goat?” Santa brings these unorthodox critters to the annual “Holiday at the Ranch” held at the historic Stow House in Goleta from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The lovely home, built in 1872, is adorned for the season for this open house which includes holiday music and caroling, craft-making, celebrity storytime, hayrides and house tours. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids. (304 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta; 681-7216, www.goletahistory.org)
Back for a fifth year, the Santa Barbara Choral Society presents “The Hallelujah! Project” on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre. Conductor JoAnne Wasserman has programmed a family-friendly mix of seasonal classics including Vivaldi’s joyful “Gloria,” a hymn of praise written in 1715. Little known fact: Vivaldi was ordained as a priest in 1703, but shortly thereafter abandoned the priesthood to pursue his love of music. Actress Angela Cartwright, best known for her roles in “The Sounds of Music” (Brigitta) and “Lost in Space” (Penny), narrates the classic poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” St. Nick “soon will be there.” Tickets are $25 for adults, $7 for kids aged 7 to 17. (963-0761, www.lobero.com)
This year marks the 44th anniversary of Tuba Christmas -- free holiday concerts originally played only tuba and euphonium (a small tenor tuba). Started in Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in 1974, the tradition has continued and spread throughout the U.S. and around the world. Santa Barbara’s concert is Saturday starting at noon in downtown’s Storke Placita (700 block of State Street). All brass players have been invited to augment this powerhouse program of holiday favorites. It’s a blast. (www.tubachristmas.com)
Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” at the Arlington has been staged for 43 years -- just one year less than the Tuba Christmas concerts. Dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers and those leaping sugar pump fairies are among the 100 cast members, which includes not only Festival Ballet dancers, but those from UCSB’s dance department, students and professional guest artists. All cavort to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score performed by a full orchestra led by Elise Unruh at performances held Saturday at 2:30 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 for this quintessential holiday offering. (963-4408, www.santabarbarafestivalballet.com)
QUICK TIP: “Wolcum Yole,” Old English for “Welcome Yule” is the title of a candlelit concert by the Santa Barbara Youth Opera singers Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Presidio Chapel. Hear great holiday works including Benjamin Britten’s seasonal classic “A Ceremony of Carols.” Perhaps it's the start of a new holiday tradition! Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children. (123 E. Canon Perdido St., 898-3890, www.operasb.org)