VALLEJO, Calif. — Should you want to have fun and get a little silly this holiday, Vallejo's Mad Hatter Holiday Festival is a place you should consider visiting.
For the 10th year, Hyperion Community Partners is hosting the whimsical festival to bring together the city and the greater North Bay region. Frank Malifrando, the co-founder of Hyperion Community Partners, said the holiday festival brings together different parts of Vallejo's culture and the community.
"It's like a combination between a maker's fair and Burning Man," Malifrando said. "It has become very popular and a good thing for the community."
Malifrando said the event has grown from around 800 people attending to thousands, coming from all over the Bay Area. The festivities begin Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. in historic downtown Vallejo.
The festival starts in front of the John F. Kennedy Library, with carolers, music, train rides, food, interactive Wonderland Square, inflatable unicorn park, robotic Jurassic Park and a holiday market.
Then there is a parade that goes down Georgia Street from Sonoma Boulevard to Santa Clar Street which starts at 4:30 p.m. After the parade, the tree lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
If you still aren't in the holiday spirit yet, Vallejo Yacht Club, CAL Maritime Cadets and the United States Coast Guard put on a lighted boat parade for the community to enjoy at the waterfront after the tree lighting ceremony.
All of the events for the Mad Hatter Holiday Festival are free.
A little more than a week after the Mad Hatter Holiday Festival, the holiday festivities continue with the Grand Victorian Homes Tour on Dec. 15 highlighting the historic homes of Vallejo. This event helps to fund the holiday festival.
Malifrando said he started the Mad Hatter Holiday Festival back when "everyone was mad." It was 2009. The nation was going through the Great Recession and Vallejo had to file for bankruptcy the year prior.
"It's one of the largest cities in the North Bay with the smallest holiday event," Malifrando said.
Malifrando added that the city has been working to turn around and become more of a community since then.
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