The Santa Maria Valley is the Central Coast’s best-kept secret during the holidays and year-round. Adults, kids and families can explore and indulge in festive events happening in December to celebrate the season.

The 21st annual Santa Maria Parade of Lights will be Dec. 3. It is is presented by the Rotary Clubs of Santa Maria and Nipomo, the Santa Maria Times and KCOY.

Floats, bands, dancers, nonprofit organizations and other community groups will travel up Broadway from Stowell Road to Main Street, expecting to draw some 2,500 participants, 250 community volunteers, local city and law-enforcement personnel, and more than 100 Rotarians.

Parade organizers accept up to 105 applications to participate in the Parade of Lights. The overall float winner will receive $600, plus there will be $200 for first place and $100 for second place in seven categories.

The Parade of Lights has been organized under Rotary leadership since 1995. For more information, visit

The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail hosts Christmas on the Trail on Dec. 10 and 11, featuring 13 wineries along the historic Foxen Trail.

Guests will receive a passport with 20 squares printed on the back. Each square equals a 1 oz. pour that they can redeem at any of the 13 participating wineries. Each passport is accompanied with a commemorative item, a GoVino logo glass, wine discounts, and small bites at each winery on Saturday.

The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail shows off the beauty of Central California. The wineries on Foxen Canyon produce award-winning wines while providing jobs in viticulture and in the service industry.

Participating wineries are: Andrew Murray Vineyards; Cambria Winery; Cottonwood Canyon Winery; Fess Parker Winery; Firestone Vineyard; Foxen Vineyard & Winery; foxen 7200; Kenneth Volk Vineyards; Koehler Winery; Martian Ranch & Vineyard; Rancho Sisquoc Winery; Riverbench Vineyard & Winery; Tres Hermanas Winery; and Zaca Mesa Winery.

Passports are $45 each and can be purchased through Eventbrite at: For more information on the event, contact Elizabeth Gunn-Baumann at

The 55th Old Town Orcutt Annual Christmas Parade, a holiday staple since 1961, will step out on Dec. 10. Started by the volunteer fire department, the parade remains a hometown afternoon event. Parade-goers will see kids, dogs, floats, animals, cars, bands and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

The town of Orcutt, named after William Warren Orcutt, was founded in 1906, at the height of oil production in the Santa Maria Valley. Orcutt soon became a center of trade and shipping. Today, Orcutt is home to specialty shops, restaurants, wine-tasting rooms and miles of hiking trails.

For more information on the Christmas parade, visit

— Chrisie Yabu for Santa Maria Valley.