MARTINEZ -- There will be snow again at a low elevation in downtown Martinez.
A key element of the city's annual abundance of seasonal festivities -- Holiday Frolic -- started out as a simple wish for future generations, and has become something not to be missed.
"I wanted kids to be able to play in the snow," says Arna Morse, owner of AtticChild Furniture and one of the founders of Main Street Martinez, about the annual arrival of a big rig that transports blocks of ice. "The first time I watched them make snow; what a sight!"
Morse came up with the idea of today's ever-popular snow park 20 years ago, but it took a few years to take hold.
"Then I mentioned it to the right person, and it flew ... and now it's going and going and doing its thing," she says. "They all feel the same as I did. There are not many chances to ride in saucers."
The Snow Park will open at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the Main Street Plaza as part of Holiday Frolic.
Starting at 3 p.m., the public can skate and make their way around the downtown, enjoying craft booths and games. They can visit a reindeer stop, pop into an elves workshop at the mARTinez Galley and sip hot cocoa with Frosty on the front porch of Natural Healings, at the corner of Court and Escobar streets.
Owners Judy and Joseph Palmer are already well into the holiday spirit, having provided coffee and doughnuts for the crew charged with decorating and lighting the 65-foot redwood near their store.
"It's now a tradition," says Judy Palmer, noting the increasing number of cherubs who stop by during each Holiday Frolic. "We feel like we're part of the community."
The tree lighting starts at 5:30 p.m. and includes a performance by the Martinez Community Chorus. The Palmers were instrumental in creating the Tree of Spirit tradition that started the first holiday, post 9/11.
"We wanted to promote the idea that life is continuous. We wanted something that was spiritual and not religious to show that we're all connected," says Joseph Palmer, who will once again lead off the tree lighting ceremony with a moment of silence as the public puts their wishes into a ceremonial bowl.
The slips of paper will be ignited, he explains, releasing their hopes into the universe.
"This was a chance for us to give back," Palmer adds.
What: Holiday Frolic and Snow Park
When: Friday, Nov. 30 (Snow Park, skating rink open 1-9 p.m.; Frolic events 3-9 p.m.)
Where: Snow Park and skating rink at Main Street Plaza (between Bank of America and Starbucks). In case of rain, Snow Park and skating rink move indoors to 701 Escobar St., two blocks from plaza. Saucers will be provided. Snow Park also open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. Visit www.downtownsnow.com for pricing.
Frolic events: Spirit Tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. at Court and Pine streets. Light Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at Martinez City Hall, 525 Henrietta St. All other Frolic events from 3-5 p.m.: Gingerbread House, Court and Escobar streets; Elves Workshop, at mARTinez Gallery at Court and Main streets; Candy Cane Lane, at Martinez Library, 740 Court St., Reindeer Stop, at Veterans Hall at Court and Ward streets; and Hot Cocoa with Frosty at Natural Healings at Pine and Court streets. Bounce houses, crafts and games are from 5-9 p.m. in 800 block of Main Street
Visit with Santa: Little red house at Main Street Plaza noon-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Visit www.downtownsnow.com for photo prices and December schedule
Information: www.mainstreetmartinez.org or 925-228-3577