Snow in San Ramon? It's just the beginning of the magic of the season. Kids can actually frolic in the icy cold fun right here in Bishop Ranch as part of the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Event to be held Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bishop Ranch One, 6111 Bollinger Canyon Road.

The snow will be courtesy of Glacier Ice and not Mother Nature. Twenty tons of snow is only the tip of the iceberg at this 11th annual event which has become quite a tradition for local families, said Monica Magee, community outreach manager for the business park.

About 200 people attended that first tree lighting. This year organizers expect as many as 3,500 people to come and enjoy the festivities. There will be live reindeer, live performances on two stages by the Dougherty Valley High School choir, Bollinger Elementary string musicians and dancers from the San Ramon Valley Dance Academy's "Impressions of the Nutcracker" show, a Fire Pixie LED light show and the Windermere Ranch Middle School choir.

Sunset Development Company has provided the city and residents of San Ramon with a spectacular kickoff to the holiday season each year. Planning is virtually year-round, said Magee, but it really kicks into action in September.

"There are 300 small details," and the timing is the biggest challenge, she said, but it certainly is a team effort and well worth the work.

Bishop Ranch Landscaping Director Del Fitchett coordinates his team of 10 to 15 workers in the landscape department in early November to start hanging 300,000 lights on 150 trees throughout Bishop Ranch and on the sculpture visible from Interstate 680 that, when lit up with 12,000 lights, looks like two holiday wreaths. A crew of three work full-time on the decorations and tree.

The spectacular 70-foot white fir Christmas tree (5 feet taller than last year's tree) has been delivered, trimmed and shaped to perfection. Fitchett says it takes about 10 days to decorate the tree with the 60,000 lights and a multitude of ornaments. His crew then places about 600 poinsettias throughout the lobbies of Bishop Ranch and hangs a couple of dozen wreaths on the buildings.

"It's still exciting every year when you hear the countdown and the tree lights up," she said. The official lighting will be at 6:30 p.m.

Food trucks featuring hot dogs, Mexican food and other goodies will provide food for sale as well as free refreshments. Because it's the season for giving, take the opportunity to contribute coats, sweaters, blankets and other donations to the 10th annual One Warm Coat drive sponsored by the San Ramon Valley Rotary Club, canned food and donations to the Contra Costa Food Bank or unwrapped toys for the San Ramon Police Department's "Stuff the Cruiser" toy drive for East Bay children in need. And don't forget to stop by and say "hi" to Santa and take a photo. Free parking will be available at Bishop Ranch One and Two.

Other San Ramon drop off locations for the One Warm Coat collection include Has Beans, Peet's Coffee and Whole Foods on Sunset Drive, Petco on Crow Canyon Road, the San Ramon Fire Department offices on Bollinger Canyon Road, and the San Ramon Library in the Marketplace.

HOLIDAY CONCERT: The San Ramon Community Chorus will present its holiday concert at 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at the San Ramon Community Center in Central Park. The concert will feature multicultural holiday music and dance performances for the whole family. The event is free, and the show will end with a visit from Santa Claus.

HORNS FOR THE HOLIDAYS: A concert by the San Ramon Symphonic Band will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $6 for adults and seniors and youth under 1. Teens with school ID enter free. Tickets are sold at the box office, at the door or online at www.sanramonperformingarts.com. Adults and children are invited up onto the stage during intermission to get a close look at the instruments and a chance to speak to the musicians.

Contact Monica Lander at landerfamily@comcast.net.

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