California: Fresno's festival of lights

Garden of the Sun lights up for Christmas
Lance Walheim

The soft light of 3,000 luminarias (candles set in paper bags with sand in the bottom), Christmas carols around the campfire, hot cider, and winter's best flowers and vegetables combine for a magical evening at the Garden of the Sun and Discovery Center's Noche de las Luminarias on December 6.

During the event, you can stroll along candlelit paths through the 1 1/2-acre Garden of the Sun, which includes an All-America Selections demonstration garden, an orchard, an herb garden, and a perennial garden, all maintained by UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners. Next door at the Discovery Center ― a hands-on children's science and discovery museum ― visitors can meander through the 5 1/2-acre landscape, which includes a cactus garden set aglow by dozens of luminarias. There are activities for kids as well.

Noche de las Luminarias benefits the Discovery Center and the Master Gardeners. 6-9:30 p.m.; $6 for adults, $3 ages 12 and under. 1944 N. Winery Ave.; http://mgfresno.ucdavis.edu or (559) 456-7285.