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Let it stroll, let it stroll, let it stroll in Yuba City
Christmas came early for Terri Tomlinson.
As the white-blue and golden neon lights came alive on the Sutter Theater marquee Friday night, the co-chair of the Sutter Performing Arts Association nearly cried in happiness. There was raucous applause by those gathered near the theater for Yuba City's Christmas Stroll as light returned to the long-dark Plumas Street icon.
"It's really beautiful," Tomlinson said. "I might bring down a lawn chair and park myself in front of it."
There is still work to be done, as the exterior remodel is finished this month and funds are needed for the remodel of the lobby, food counter, black-box theater and bathrooms, but to have finally achieved such a prominent restoration was one of the best gifts Tomlinson said she could receive.
"It's just fabulous," she said, smiling up at the glowing lights as "snow" bubbles cascaded down.
Many people stopped to admire the lighted marquee as they strolled down the street with cups of hot cocoa and steaming bowls of chili. As the evening progressed, thousands of people listened to holiday carols, sauntered into shops and gathered near Bridge Street to gaze up at the city's Christmas tree illuminated with red, white and green bulbs.
Skylar Lewis stood on the sidewalk with the rest of her Girl Scout troop and sang Christmas carols. She loves being part of the stroll, she said.
"Our whole group gets to sing songs for all the people who are here. And singing makes people happy," she said. "I'm really excited for Christmas."
Some families stopped in to Sutter Community Bank to gander at gingerbread houses and applaud the creativity of peppermint pathways and marshmallow snowmen. Others bought jewelry, jams, scarves and other crafts from the vendors and many crowded around the stage at Center Street as the Franklin School Choir sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."
"It's so nice to see old friends and people I know," said Live Oak resident Stephanie Allan.
The Yuba City High School agriculture teacher came to support her students and spend time with her family. In the holiday spirit, she wore a Santa hat with jingle-bell tassel. Her daughters, Lizzy, 9, wore a white cap and red scarf and Emi, 7, sported an elf hat.
"It's Christmas. We have to be Christmasy," Allan said.
Vendor Evelyn Hubbard wore a "Let it Snow" sweater to her first-ever Christmas Stroll. With a slight chill in the air and happy families all around, there was a feeling of cheer in the air, she said.
"It's wonderful. I'm so happy they have this," she said.
Marysville resident Michael Burke proudly pushed his 21-month-old granddaughter Madeline Honeycutt in a stroller he had festooned with wreath garlands, candy cane lights and a glowing snowman. His Christmas decorating enthusiasm has waned in recent years, but he cannot resist putting on a show for his first grandchild, he said.
"I do it for the kids. They get such a kick out of it," he said. "And she digs it."