Short List: December 2023

VENTURA HARBOR PARADE OF LIGHTS Dec. 15-16 | Ventura Photo courtesy Ventura Harbor Village

Dec. 15-16 | Ventura
Sailboats, motorboats and all other seagoing vessels will be lit up and decked out for the annual boat parade in the waters of Ventura Harbor. It’s going to be a tropical vibe for this year’s Parade of Lights: 2023 is a “Hula Holiday,” so expect to see plenty of tikis, hibiscus flowers, grass skirts and ukuleles cruising around during this festive event. Before the parade, rides and carnival games will be offered on the Harbor Village Lawn, with Ka Hale Hula ‘o Pilialohaokalani o Hilo giving a dance performance at 5:45 p.m. Fireworks (weather permitting) start at 8 p.m. And remember, you’ll have two opportunities, on both Friday and Saturday evening, to celebrate. Aloha! Both parades start at 6:30 p.m. Ventura Harbor Village, 1583 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura


Dec. 15-17 | Ventura
The Oakley Ballet Center’s program for young dancers presents this holiday classic en pointe. Enter a land of magic, merriment and sugar plum dreams with dancing cookies, mischievous mice and, of course, one very dashing Nutcracker Prince. Sumptuous costumes and sets, along with Tchaikovsky’s spellbinding score, will delight audiences of all ages. Performances on Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; Dec. 16, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Dec. 17, 1 p.m. $25. Ventura College Performing Arts Center, 4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura,

BOLEROS DE NAVIDAD Dec. 16 | Thousand Oaks

Dec. 16 | Thousand Oaks
Boleros De Navidad is a new, bilingual and festive Latin holiday celebration that will have you singing along to Christmas classics and enjoying popular Bolero standards al estilo Serenata. Tres Souls has been capturing the hearts of Los Angelenos, one bolero ballad at a time. For over a decade, the beloved trio of Rocio Mendoza, Roberto Carlos and Jesus Martinez have serenaded audiences with the vintage sounds and songs of the 1940s-1960s, songs from the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema, and vibrant interpretations of boleros — all with a modern spin. Oxnard residents can pick up a FREE bus from Best Buy on Rose Avenue or at the C Street Transfer Center at the Center Point Mall. Pick up is at 5 p.m.; use code BUS when purchasing through Performance takes place on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. $24-$40. Scherr Forum Theatre, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, 805.449.2787,

Dec. 16-17 | Thousand Oaks
This timeless tale about young Clara and her Nutcracker Prince is beautifully brought to the stage by the accomplished dancers of the Pacific Festival Ballet, the Bank of America Performing Arts Center’s own resident ballet company. Journey from a festive Christmas party to the Land of Sweets and beyond while unforgettable characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen dance to a score by Tchaikovsky. Performances on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, at 2 p.m and 7 p.m. $35-$57. Fred Kavli Theatre, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, 805.449.2787,

Through Dec. 17 | Santa Paula
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance! $22-$24. Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 South Seventh Street, Santa Paula, 805.525.4645,

Through Dec. 17 | Ojai
Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker wants one thing for Christmas, and one thing only: An Official Red Ryder Range Model Carbine Action BB Gun. There’s only one problem: Everyone else is convinced he’ll shoot his eye out! Undeterred, he begins his saga of convincing all the necessary players, from his sweet but protective Mother, to his straightlaced teacher, Miss Shields, all the way to Santa Claus himself, that he needs that gun for the protection of his loved ones, and maybe even a little cowboy glory to call his own. Ralphie’s vivid imagination conjures up several showstopping numbers, from “Ralphie to the Rescue” in which he defeats every foe a young boy can think of (robbers, mustache-twirling villains, and of course, the school bully), to the thrilling tap routine performed by a gun moll-esque Miss Shields, who sheds her sweater set and romance novel for a glittery red gown and a whole lot of moxie. Presented by Ojai ACT. $10-$30. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 South Montgomery Street, Ojai, 805.640.8797,

Through Dec. 23 | Ventura
Ventura Keys residents light up the canals with festive holiday displays, and Ventura Harbor Village itself is always a treat this time of year. The best way to enjoy all of it is aboard an Island Packers vessel during a Holiday Harbor Lights Cruise! The one-hour tour promises to be gentle (no big swells here!) and delight passengers of all ages. Be sure to dress appropriately — it can get quite chilly at night, and flat footwear with good grip is your safest bet. Please NO high heels! The snack bar will be open for purchases, including beer, wine, tea, coffee, cocoa, chips and other treats. No outside alcohol permitted. Parade of Lights Cruises (2.5 hours) will also be offered on Dec. 15 and 16. $14-$20 for harbor cruises; $28-$38 for Parade of Lights Cruises. Island Packers, 1691 Spinnaker Drive, #105B, Ventura, 805.642.1393,

Through Dec. 23 | Simi Valley
The setting: a radio station in New York City preparing for its live broadcast of the holiday tale It’s a Wonderful Life. The complication: A major snowstorm has prevented all the big-name stars from making it into the studio. The solution: Finding anyone and everyone available to fill in, including the copy boy, a few secretaries, and even a nun who wandered in looking for donations. The results definitely vary. This farcical retelling of the Christmas classic is both heartwarming and hilarious, and presented to audiences via the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. $22-33. Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center, 3050 Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley,

Through Dec. 23 | Ventura
Filled with humor, romance, drama and nonstop melody, this revue is a thrilling celebration of joie de vivre and the fighting spirit that keeps us all going. From Cabaret to Chicago, the nonstop hit-parade features unforgettable gems from the genius of songwriting team John Kander and Fred Ebb, including “Mr. Cellophane,” “Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret” and “New York, New York.” $30-$90. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 East Main Street, Ventura, 805.667.2900,

CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM Through Dec. 24 | Moorpark

Through Dec. 24 | Moorpark
Christmas is a special time of year for Underwood Family Farms. All the excitement the Moorpark Farm Center generates during the autumn harvest gets a holiday glow up come December. In addition to the rides, playground equipment and Animal Center, Underwood gets into the spirit of the season with a Holiday Train, photo opportunities, weekend shows and decorations as far as the eye can see. The freshest produce in season is there for the picking (literally) – just wander out to the fields or hop on a tractor-drawn wagon. Or, you can purchase delicious fruits, vegetables and other products at the onsite market. Bring the kids to see Santa, who appears every weekend through Dec. 23, and his reindeer, who join him Dec. 16-17. Christmas trees (courtesy of Big Wave Dave’s) will be available for purchase through Dec. 18. $10 weekdays; $14 weekends (online only); discounts for seniors, military, veterans and first responders; free for children under 2. 3370 Sunset Valley Road, Moorpark

Dec. 30 | Oxnard
Chandon Sparkling Wines and Zachari Dunes on Mandalay Beach team up for a special twilight tasting guaranteed to get you ready for 2024! Sample a variety of sparkling wines while watching the sun set over beautiful Mandalay Beach, and savor the flavor as night falls. Take time to stroll the resort grounds and immerse yourself in its seaside holiday splendor. Grab dinner at the resort’s own Ox and Ocean Restaurant afterward to complete the experience. Zachari Dunes, 2101 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard, 805.984.2500,


Through Jan. 6 | Oxnard
Christmas Tree Lane, gingerbread houses, Holly Trolley Tours — all the fun happens this December at Heritage Square. Come see the square decorated at the best time of the year including a holiday-inspired display of gingerbread creations at Heritage Square Hall. While visiting us, take our guided tour experience of the former houses’ exteriors with select interiors. Tours $5 per person (gingerbread exhibit free to view). After dark, stroll the 10 blocks of Christmas Tree Lane in the Henry T. Oxnard Historic District to see house after house all aglow with festive lights and decorations. You can climb aboard a double-decker trolley for a 50-minute guided tour that includes Heritage Square’s Gingerbread Exhibit and Christmas Tree Lane (Dec. 12-14). Or eat, drink and be merry during the Sip, Taste and Tour of Christmas Tree Lane on Dec. 16. Prepaid reservations for both tours required. For more information, call 805.247.0197, email or visit

15TH ANNUAL ART ABOUT AGRICULTURE Through March 3, 2024 | Santa Paula “From Farm to Table #2,” Kathy Bodycombe

Through March 3, 2024 | Santa Paula
The 15th Annual Art About Agriculture Exhibition, featuring 55 fresh works of art, is a group show presented annually by the Ag Art Alliance, a collective formed in 2007 by Santa Paula artists John Nichols and Gail Pidduck. The purpose of the exhibit is to promote awareness of agriculture by exploring its many facets through art — from workers to water, from machinery to fields, to the food that goes on our plates. All of the artworks in the exhibition will be available for purchase. Art About Agriculture will be on view through March 3, 2024. Through Feb. 11: A selection of works from renowned Santa Paula artist Jessie Arms Botke. Through Jan. 14, 2024: Outdoor and wildlife art by Santa Paula native George Lockwood. Santa Paula Art Museum, 117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, 805.525.5554,


Jan. 19 – Feb. 18 | Oxnard
It’s 1914, and the Colorado Coalfield War, the bloodiest labor dispute in U.S. history, is raging. A 77-year-old Irish hellraiser named Mother Jones issues a call to arms, summoning 500,000 union miners to rise up and fight against a renegade National Guard unit run by Lt. Linderfelt. Her battle cry, “Pray for the dead… and fight like hell for the living!” A few nights later she’s ambushed in a union meeting hall by Clarence Darrow, John Mitchell (U.M.W. President), and John D. Rockefeller Jr., in a desperate attempt to stop her. During this participatory production, the audience assumes the role of the American workers called to this union hall to help decide the fate of Mother Jones, answering a question for the ages: At what point do you pick up a gun and go to war with your own countrymen? The Elite Theatre Company, 2781 South Victoria Avenue, Oxnard, 805.483.5118,