HOLIDAY LIGHT FESTIVALS MAKE CHRISTMAS BRIGHT

Beth Clark doesn’t just throw a holiday party that lasts twice as long as the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

She throws two of them.

The Martinez resident, who has produced Bay Area Kidfest in Concord for a decade, produces the Holiday Lightfest at the Pavilion and the Holiday Festival of Lights at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

The Pleasanton show is a one-mile light show drive-through, in which photon junkies cruise by a Penguin Winterfest, Candyland, Reindeer Flying School and more. The proceeds benefit Shepherd’s Gate, a Livermore women’s and children’s shelter.

The show at the Chronicle Pavilion at Concord resembles a Broadway production, if not the Great White Way itself. Besides gazing upon twinkling displays, visitors can see Santa and the elves on the production line, croon a few tunes at Carol-oke, go on rides, make crafts and have a cup of hot cocoa.

Updated this year is “North Pole Mania,” a 30-minute Barrett Lindsay-Steiner musical revue through Dec. 17. After the revue ends, international cabaret singer Samantha Samuels single-handedly takes over the microphone.

The brilliance of both shows shouldn’t be dimmed by requests by state regulators who want lights out until 7 p.m. to ease strains on the electrical power grid. “We only have the lights on for four hours at each place,” says Clark.

The graphic artist, who started planning for this third annual event back in January and started unpacking the set-up before Halloween, doesn’t throw as many Yuletide parties at home as she used to. However, she says, “I feel like I’m at a party every night when I’m there.”

Not only is she there every night, her children Mary, 11, and Patrick, 8, work as elves. Husband Tom only has to pull on the red suit one night this year and otherwise serves as the fall-back Claus. Having her family there adds to the homey atmosphere, although she says daughter “Mary’s at that age when she’s not into being an elf anymore, even though she will when I need her.”

While children do revel in the Holiday Lightfest they have their own shopping area called Elfmart this year Clark insists you don’t have to be under 18 to enjoy it.

“It’s a beautiful event. Any adult can walk through who wants to remember what the joy of being a kid is like.”

Lightfest

* WHERE: Chronicle Pavilion at Concord, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord, 925-671-3287, www.holidaylightfest.com

* WHEN: 6-10 p.m. continuing Dec. 8-10, 15-30.

* HOW MUCH: $5 general, ages 3 and under and 65 and older free.

* ENTERTAINMENT: Contra Costa Children’s Chorus, Dec. 10.; Barrett Lindsay-Steiner “North Pole Mania,” 7 and 8 p.m. through Dec. 17.; Samantha Samuels Dec. 18-24.

Festival of Lights

* Where: Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton

* When: Through Dec. 31. 6-9 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 6-10 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays.

* How much: $10 per carload

* Call: 925-426-7559, www.holidaylightfest.com.

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