? A new feature this year will be the Marketplace at the Boddy House, a shopping experience like none other. The gracious Boddy mansion will showcase handmade items and one-of-a-kind gifts by local artisans from Dancing Threads, Precious Gems and Julietsdream. The Marketplace also will feature an array of fabulous crafts and baked goods created by Descanso's talented volunteers, and holiday greens. In addition, the Descanso Gift Shop will be filled with unusual gift items.
? Everyone is invited to the gala Opening Night on Dec. 10. The evening will include Enchanted Railroad rides, music, strolling madrigal singers and free, lighted tram rides to the Marketplace at the Boddy House. Children will chat with Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus, who will take a week to spend quality time at Descanso before his hectic pre-Christmas work at the North Pole. This evening and throughout the Holiday Festival, photos with Santa will provide favorite family mementos for just $5 each. The event is open to all for just the gardens admission fees. Only food, Enchanted Railroad rides and gift purchases are extra.
? Santolina Café and Room B will be open for those who prefer lighter, spur-of-the-moment dining. A no-host bar in the Courtyard will be available to everyone.
? Family Night, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, will be a festive frolic. Families can visit with both Santa and Mrs. Claus, ride on the Enchanted Railroad and travel through the landscape to the Marketplace at the Boddy House, at no charge, on a lighted tram. Visitors will hear happy holiday accordion music by Norman Panto and enjoy family-favorite food at the Santolina Café with indoor or heated-courtyard seating.
Descanso Gardens is at 1418 Descanso Drive. The gardens are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily except Christmas Day. Parking is free. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for seniors and students; $2 for children 5 to 12. Admission is free for members and children 5 and younger. For information call 949-4200 or visit www.DescansoGardens.org.