It’s a festive week in Oakland! Galas, award shows, buy-local holiday shopping opportunities and celebrations dominate this week’s events. Fortunately, there are even some events involving getting a good workout and a nice drink — while being productive, of course — to take the edge off any holiday stress. Enjoy!

Friday, December 6

Giant Holiday Tree Lighting
5 – 7:30 p.m.
Jack London Square

Jack London Square is lighting up for the holiday season with a festive annual tree lighting ceremony. Visitors of all ages are invited to enjoy this special evening of holiday magic on the waterfront including:

  • Santa’s water sleigh arrival and free pictures with Santa at Bay Voyager
  • Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and city officials leading the lighting of the 55-foot Mt. Shasta fir tree
  • Live grazing reindeer to pet and feed
  • World-traveling Oakland-based tap-dancing Christmas trees
  • Musical entertainment from Veronica Powers, the Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts (COVA), the Oakland Symphony Chorus’ a cappella performing group, TOSCA, and special guests from Radio Disney
  • Holiday Pop-up festival featuring more than 90 local artisans with art, crafts, handmade goods and treats (see below)
  • Cookie decorating
  • Ornament crafts
  • Free hot chocolate and hot cider
  • Oaklandish’s holiday pop-shop
  • Arrive early and enjoy dinner in Jack London Square’s thriving restaurant corridor!

For more information, visit

Holiday Pop-Up
5 – 9 p.m.
Jack London Square

Oakland Grown is excited to partner with co-hosts Nneka and In the Black for the 4th Annual Holiday Pop-Up at Jack London Square! Located inside the Pavilion (former Barnes and Noble) the Pop-Up is expected to be another fabulous success. For more information, visit

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse at the Temescal Winter Art Hop
6 – 9 p.m.
4695 Telegraph Avenue

Join the East Bay Depot, along with many other local art galleries, restaurants, and merchants for an evening of fun exhibitions, tasty treats, and participatory events. The Depot will be open for shopping, and hosting a free Reuse Greeting Card Creation Station workshop. New artwork will be on display by local reuse artist AJ Sharkstar. For more information, visit

Saturday, December 7

Free Classes at FLEX Gym
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
3925 Piedmont Avenue

FLEX is expanding by taking over the former spa location next door. To celebrate, the new FLEX is holding a Free Class Saturday event, featuring 8 unique group exercise classes back-to-back, including Zumba, belly dance, boot camp, HIIT, cardio kickboxing, Vinyasa yoga, Pilates, a couple of spin classes and more. All classes are free to the public, and refreshments, snacks and raffle prizes will be served up. For details and the day’s schedule, contact FLEX at

Anasa Yoga Grand Opening
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
4232 MacArthur Boulevard

Everyone is invited to complimentary morning yoga classes, followed by a community-celebrating open house, ribbon cutting, light refreshments, and a “barefoot boogie bash” dance party!

9 – 10 a.m.: Beginning Hatha yoga class with Katrina Lashea
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Gentle Vinyasa flow yoga with Jean Marie
12 – 1 p.m.: Vinyasa flow yoga with Regina Brown
1:30 – 6 p.m.: open house festivities


Urban Montessori Charter School Admissions Open House
10 a.m.
5328 Brann Street

Urban Montessori Charter School, a free public school, will host an admissions open house for community members interested in learning more about Montessori education and applying to the school. It currently serves students in kindergarten through third grade. With teachers and school leaders available to answer questions, UMCS is currently accepting applications for the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 school years. To register, call (510) 535-1181 or email For more information, visit the school’s Facebook page or its website at

Phat Beets’ Food ‘n’ Justice Workshop: Homemade Soap
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
North Oakland Farmers Market, 942 Stanford Avenue

Come learn how to make your very own soap! In this introductory hands-on class, we will talk about the different components in home soap-making, how to do it on the cheap, and how to use herbs from your own garden or neighborhood to give it your own special touch. We will make a basic soap from scratch that participants will be able to pick up at a later date. Participants will leave with the recipes, instruction, and experience necessary never to have to purchase soap again.

EastSide Art & Book Holiday Sale
noon – 6 p.m.
EastSide Cultural Center, 2277 International Boulevard

It’s time for EastSide’s Annual Holiday Art & Book Sale! One of Oakland’s best events supporting local grassroots artists, this event features dynamic craftspeople, fine artists and book vendors, political artwork and books, amazing crafts, performances and food and drink. Special raffle and art activities will be provided by Rice and Beans Childcare Collective.

PEN Oakland Book Awards
2 – 5 p.m.
Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch, 5366 College Avenue

Since 1989, PEN Oakland has recognized authors for outstanding literary achievement. Without a dime from corporations or a board dominated by mainstream publishers, writers are recognized by their fellow writers. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. The awards will be followed by a reception and book signing. For more information, visit

Friends of deFremery First Annual Crab Feed
5 p.m. (dinner served at 6 p.m.)
deFremery Park, 1651 Adeline Street

Support the deFremery Center Field Trip Program at the first annual Crab Feed. Enjoy all-you-can-eat pasta, green salad, bread, beverage and hot crab! Tickets are $40.00.

Lighted Yacht Parade
5:30 p.m.
Oakland/Alameda Estuary

Enjoy the 37th annual Lighted Yacht Parade at Jack London Square. Come see more than 35 boats decorated with hundreds of beautiful lights for the holiday season as they parade around the estuary. For more information, visit

“Motherland Nepal” Art and Cultural Celebration
6 – 10:30 p.m.
Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Suite 290

This event features Minister of Nepal Tourism Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha, souvenir stalls, cultural dance, Nepali bands, a cultural fashion show, food by Everest Café Restaurant, and more. Tickets are $25, or $40 for VIPs. For more information, visit

Wine and Canvas Painting Workshop
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Drive

Unleash your creative side! Chabot is hosting “Wine and Canvas, a Painting Class with Cocktails.” Use the beautiful Chabot setting in the redwood forest, with some of the best views in the Bay Area of the night sky, as inspiration to create your own masterpiece. An artist will instruct you step-by-step to re-create a featured space-inspired painting. At the end of the event, you’ll take home a work of art that you created. They provide the aprons, easels, paints, artist instruction and 16″ x 20″ gallery-wrapped canvas. No experience necessary. This workshop is $45. Tickets are available here.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Annual Holiday Concert
7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, directed by Terrance Kelly, ushers in the holidays with their 28th Annual Holiday Concert. Hosted by MTV and VH1’s BD Freeman, this concert features special guests Tuck & Patti and Imani Ya Watume, a liturgical dance company from the Imani Community Church in Oakland. OIGC is also proud to present The Oakland Interfaith Community Choir in their concert debut, and to feature the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir, the next generation of interfaith gospel singers. According to a devoted annual attendee, “The holidays are never properly celebrated without hearing the blessedly moving rendition of ‘O Holy Night,’ sung by director Terrance Kelly.” Tickets are $12 – 42 and available here.

Monday, December 9

Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Meeting
6 – 8 p.m.
Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

For additional information, call (510) 238-3941 or visit It is recommended to confirm the date and location at

Tuesday, December 10

Oakland City Council Committee Meetings
times listed below
Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

The City Council is the governing body of the City of Oakland, and consists of eight members who are elected directly by the citizens of Oakland: one representative from each of seven districts, and one at-large representative. The Council sets goals and priorities for the City, as well as approving the City budget, adopting ordinances to help the City serve its citizens, and appointing members to various boards and commissions. Most of the Committees of the City Council (such as these) meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month (although it is recommended to confirm the day and time, as this is subject to change). A downloadable agenda is available here. For more information, visit or call (510) 238-7370.

10:30 a.m. – noon: Public Works Committee
noon – 2 p.m.: Finance & Management Committee
2 – 4 p.m.: Community & Economic Development Committee
4 – 5:30 p.m.: Life Enrichment Committee
5:30 p.m.: Public Safety Committee

“The Comet” Limited-Edition Wine Tasting
5 – 6:30 p.m.
55 4th Street

In the 19th century, makers of fine wines honored years in which an important comet appeared around harvest time. Winemakers believed that a vintage would benefit from the weather conditions and magical atmosphere created in the comet’s wake. In reviving this tradition, Chabot Space & Science Center is proud to partner with Dashe Cellars to announce the launch of “The Comet.” This limited-edition wine (only 100 cases will be available) commemorates Comet ISON, with 10% of all proceeds from The Comet benefiting Chabot Space & Science Center. Please RSVP for this celebratory wine tasting to Melissa Russo at or (510) 336-7379.

F. M. Smith Park Advisory Council Meeting
6:30 – 8 p.m.
F. M. Smith Park, 1969 Park Boulevard

Have questions or want more information? Contact Lisa at or Center Director Lois Gomes at, or visit

Wednesday, December 11

AC Transit Board of Directors Meetings
times listed below
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, 1600 Franklin Street, 10th Floor

The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District is the third-largest public bus system in California, serving 13 cities and adjacent unincorporated areas in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. AC Transit has been serving the East Bay since 1960, taking over from the Key System and its predecessors, which carried passengers via buses, horse-drawn rail, electric streetcars, and ferries over the previous 100 years. AC Transit’s mission is to provide safe, convenient, courteous, and reliable transit service. For more information, visit

3 p.m.: Operations Committee
3:30 p.m.: External Affairs Committee
6 p.m.: Board of Directors

Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission
4:30 p.m.
Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission reports and makes recommendations to the Oakland City Council on Office of Parks and Recreation policies. It consists of 11 seats, appointed by the Mayor and Council to represent the citizens of Oakland. The public is welcome to attend the Commission’s monthly meetings, which are held on the second Wednesday of every month except for August. Please call the Director’s office, (510) 238-7532, to confirm meetings in case of cancellation or change of venue. For more information, visit

Oakland Board of Education General Meeting
5 – 9 p.m.
Paul Robeson Building, 1025 2nd Avenue, Board Room

The Governing Board, commonly called the Board of Education, is the elected policy-making body of the public education system within the City of Oakland. The Governing Board’s primary responsibility is to ensure that every student served by the District is well educated and demonstrates high academic achievement. For more information, visit

The BIG Bash Fundraiser and Holiday Party
5:30 – 9 p.m.
Nile Hall at Preservation Park, 1233 Preservation Park Way

Don’t miss Build It Green’s 5th annual holiday party, The BIG Bash! Join them for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and dancing, as they gather to honor green building community members, and to celebrate the “BIG 5:” combined achievements in energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, resource conservation, and livable communities. This year’s party will feature free food and open bar, live music from Tito y Su Son de Cuba, GreenPoint Rated Awards, and a silent auction. They will also be introducing their first charitable energy retrofit project for a deserving Bay Area homeowner and veteran. Attendance supports the continuation of projects like these and Build It Green’s mission to promote healthy, energy- and resource-efficient homes in California. Purchase tickets online here.

Manzanita 18Y NCPC Meeting
6:45 – 8:15 p.m.
Salvation Army, 2794 Garden Street

For more information, please contact Neighborhood Services Coordinator Edith Guillen at (510) 238-7159 or

Thursday, December 12

Local Clean Energy Alliance Meeting
Call for meeting time: (510) 834-0420
Central Historic Building, 436 14th Street

The LCEA has open meetings on the second Thursday of every month, featuring informative speakers on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and related efforts. For more information, and for meeting times, visit

Oakland City Council Rules & Legislation Committee Meeting
10:45 a.m.
Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room 1

The Rules and Legislation Committee usually meets at this time (although it is recommended to confirm the day and time, as this is subject to change). A downloadable agenda is available here. For more information, visit or call (510) 238-7370.

Inspiration Awards 2013
6 – 9 p.m.
Nile Hall at Preservation Park, 1233 Preservation Park Way

Inspiration Awards is an annual fundraising gala celebrating leadership, inspiration and positive change in the community, and benefiting community programs of Oakland Digital. Join Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, world-renowned entrepreneur MC Hammer, and Executive Director Shaun Tai at Oakland Digital’s fourth annual Inspiration Awards—shaping up to be the biggest and best yet. On this special night, three San Francisco Bay Area individuals who have contributed to their communities through innovation in technology (Mary O’Connell), business (Gene Wade), and creativity (Zendaya) will be recognized. Registration is $150.

Temescal NCPC Meeting
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Faith Presbyterian Church, 49th and Webster

Everyone is welcome at the monthly Steering Committee meetings of the Temescal Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council. For more information, please visit or email

Rockridge NCPC Meeting
7 – 9 p.m.
Rockridge Library, 5366 College Avenue

The Greater Rockridge Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council was established to respond to the newly-reorganized Community Policing Program of the City of Oakland Police Department. It combines beats 12Y and 13X under a single NCPC and operates under its own by-laws. Monthly steering committee meetings consist of officers, committee chairpersons and volunteers, a Neighborhood Services Coordinator (NSC) from OPD, and our Problem-Solving Officer (PSO): a specifically-designated OPD patrol officer. Any resident community member who wishes to attend regularly and participate in meetings is also welcome to join. For more information, visit or email

To list your event for December 13 – 19, email the details to by noon on Tuesday, December 10.

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