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Local kids get behind-the-scenes look at one of Santa’s workshops, better known as an Amazon fulfillment center

in Community/Holidays/News

The holiday season is a busy time at Turlock’s MCE1 Amazon fulfillment center.

Just before the start of the holiday rush, five employees at the Fulkerth Road facility had the opportunity to bring their kids — seven in all — into the plant and give them a firsthand look at how their parents help Santa fulfill his yearly duties.

Continue reading on Turlock Journal

Gas prices near $3.50 at some stations in Stanislaus area. More holiday travel is expected

in Holidays/News/Transportation

As gasoline prices drop to their lowest level in more than a year, more people have travel plans for Christmas and New Year’s festivities.

According to the American Automobile Association , about 15 million California residents are expected to travel for the last two holidays of the year. That amount of travel will be the third highest in more than 20 years, based on AAA data.

Continue reading on Newsbreak

Recreation on Vacation: What to do in Turlock

in Community/Fun/Holidays

With the end of the semester approaching, some students may finally have more free time available and begin looking for fun things to do with friends, family, or on their own. Fear not; Turlock proudly offers a variety of recreational activities that are sure to keep students, faculty, and staff entertained. 

Since its grand opening in 2003, the Turlock Historical Society Museum is one of the many gems found in downtown Turlock. Its wide array of pictures, artifacts, and stories give visitors a great look into the history of our town.

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Holiday spirit abounds in upcoming local performances

in Community/Holidays/News

The Christmas season shifts into full gear this weekend as holiday performances and spectacles abound for residents of Turlock.

On Saturday, you can take a trip back into time — Central California of the 1990s, to be exact — for a special performance by the Center for Urban Performance and Service and Westside Ministries of “Barber Shop Christmas.”

Continue reading on Turlock Journal

Fireworks, parades and more. Where to celebrate Fourth of July in Modesto region

in Around California/Events/Holidays/Upcoming event

Summer’s biggest celebration promises fireworks, parades and community events across the Modesto and Mother Lode regions. Independence Day falls on a Monday this year and most are planned for that day, though some blowouts are being held on Saturday, July 2. Those include pyrotechnics at Woodward Reservoir. While that waterside show is set to go on, the traditional fireworks over Don Pedro Reservoir have been canceled due to the drought. Here’s a look at just some of what’s planned in the region for the Fourth of July holiday:

Continue reading on The Modesto Bee

Going to a New Year’s Eve party in California? Tool lets you calculate the COVID risk

in Holidays

Coronavirus cases are surging across the country as family and friends continue to gather during the holiday season.

If you’re wondering if you should attend a party to ring in the new year, there’s a tool to assess the risk of COVID-19 spreading at gatherings in every California county.

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created a map tool that allows users to assess the chances of at least one person testing positive for COVID-19 at an event. Counties in yellow pose have the lowest risk while those in dark red pose a risk greater than 99%.

“You can reduce the risk that one case becomes many by wearing a mask, distancing, and gathering outdoors in smaller groups,” the Georgia Institute of Technology researchers wrote.

As of Dec. 30, California is among the states with the most red-colored counties regardless of event size.

Continue Reading on Sacramento Bee

Turlock’s Christmas Cruise proves more popular than anticipated

in Holidays

The City of Turlock’s first-ever Christmas Cruise on Friday night provided plenty of holiday cheer for vehicles passing through — and some long traffic jams.

Community members, businesses and organizations were able to set up lighted displays at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds this year in lieu of floats after the annual downtown Christmas Parade was cancelled due to COVID-19. According to Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Allison Van Guilder, it is estimated that over 1,000 vehicles made their way through the Christmas Cruise which featured 33 festive participants.

“As we know, due to COVID, the traditional downtown Christmas Parade was cancelled. We believe the Christmas Cruise at the fairgrounds provided a safe alternative for those seeking holiday activities,” Van Guilder said. “Based on the feedback from those who experienced the event and the organizations who participated, we believe it was a huge success.”

Those who were able to make it into the event before the gates closed at 8:30 p.m. were able to experience a winter wonderland complete with machines blowing fake snow and Santa Claus himself. The Christmas Cruise was sponsored by Turlock Firefighters Local 2434, who were able to collect five blue barrels filled with food and toys for Turlock Together during the event.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Despite pandemic, City and community offering Christmas cheer

in Holidays

The holidays may look and feel different this year, but there are still countless ways to kick off the Christmas season throughout Turlock this weekend. 

First, a decades-old tradition will be replaced with a socially-distanced spectacle this Friday as the City of Turlock hosts its first-ever Christmas Cruise at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 4, carloads filled with community members will have the chance to drive through “A Night of Lights on Display” — an event that Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Allison Van Guilder hopes will fill the void left behind by the cancellation of Turlock’s annual downtown Christmas parade due to COVID-19. 

“The Christmas Cruise will be a COVID-safe holiday event for the community at a time when there are so few options available,” Van Guilder said. “We appreciate the businesses and organizations who are working hard on their displays to spread much needed holiday cheer this year…. We hope all who experience the Christmas Cruise will gain a sense of hope and happiness this holiday season.”

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Operation Blue Santa gets the green light in Turlock

in Holidays

Between budget constraints, staff shortages and the coronavirus pandemic it seemed all but certain that Blue Santa would have to be shelved for the holiday season, but instead a can-do attitude among the Turlock Police Department is bringing the jolly ol' elf back to the community.

"It's been a lot of work and re-thinking how we could do this in a safe way, while also being fiscally responsible," said Erika Grace, a crime prevention specialist with the police department, who is helping shepherd the operation. "We think we have come up with a way to make it happen."

Operation Blue Santa started in 2012 with the mission of providing toys and donated items to children and families in need. Key components of the operation were school and home visits by Blue Santa and presentations on crime prevention and safety. It also relied heavily on volunteers to go out on shopping blitzs and gather for gift wrapping sessions. But this year, COVID-19 safety protocols made all of that impossible.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

Annual Christmas events in Merced County adapting to COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s the list

in Holidays

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, several holiday parades in Merced County are still moving forward with modifications.

At the top of the list, Merced’s annual Christmas parade will be a “reverse parade” this year, according Merced Recreation Supervisor Michelle Reid.

In past years, people typically lined Main Street to watch floats and performances make their way through downtown.

With the reverse parade, participants and their floats will be stationed along Main Street. Those in the parade will be wearing masks and socially distancing as members of the public drive past.

Continue Reading on Merced Sunstar

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