Santa is getting ready for his busy work load next month and that means he will warm up by saying hello to the masses before he gets his head down, to get himself all geared up for festive season he will be paying a visit to Vancouver this Sunday for his annual Santa Claus Parade!
The parade will be happening in downtown Vancouver and it will be starting at Georgia and Broughton St, it will then travel East along Georgia to Howe St, the parade will then turn south on Howe where it will finish not too far away from the Sunset Inn at Howe and Davie St.
As always when Santa is coming to town there will be very large crowds, it is expected that at least 300,000 people will be attending this fab day, 3,500 of these people will be volunteers who will do their very best to ensure that Santa has the best welcome and send off before his duties begin.
Santa really knows how to party, so this year there will be entertainers such as Festive Floats, Choirs to get you in the Festive Cheer, 65 Marching bands and many local community groups participating.
In front of the Vancouver Art Gallery there will be a designated area that will be known as Christmas Square, here you can get your Face Painted, write letters to Santa, Balloon twisting and you can even decorate Ginger Bread men, plus live music to entertain everyone. Once the Parade has finished you should head down to Robson Square Ice Rink where the kids can get their picture taken with Santa
This is also all for a good cause too, there will be a donation drop off zone for the Vancouver Food Bank, the parade has been recognised as one of the leaders for raising fund for the Food bank and since 2004 collected $110,000 and more than 67,380 lbs. of food for families who are in need though-out the Lower Mainland.
It is encouraged that people donate at least a dollar to the Food Bank as this equals to $3 worth of Food for each $1 donation and if you wish to donate food, make sure that it is non perishable.
For further information on the Santa Clause Parade: http://rogerssantaclausparade.com/
THE NUTCRACKER (GOH BALLET)
Probably one of the most famous Ballet’s for the Festive season returns once again to entertain the masses through December.
Prepare to be dazzled by the amazing costumes, choreography and and dramatic set design that the GOH Ballet offers, all danced to the music of Tchaikovsky’s memorable score and performed live by the members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.
The story of the Nutcracker will take you on an unforgettable journey of Clara’s dream as it comes to life, you will embark on her magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets where she is greeted by the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy, and you will see her battle against the evil mice along the way.
For further information, dates and times: http://gohnutcracker.com/
VAN DUSEN BOTANICAL GARDENS – FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
From December 11th 2013 through to January 4th 2014 4:30 to 9 p.m. each evening , except December 25th when the Garden is closed. A magical experience for the whole family with 1.4 million twinkling lights all in the stunning setting of these beautiful Botanical gardens.
Check out their Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kF–83rIjSE
And for further information: www.vandusengarden.org
CHRISTMAS CAKE RECIPE
It may seem a tad early to bring out the Christmas cake recipe, but there is a reason! If you like to prepare the cake properly with the appropriate amount of the fine liquor then it is wise that you prepare the cake now, and over the next few weeks add the liquor to the cake between now and Christmas so it turns out great!
Cook:2 hrs, 10 mins Plus cooling
Skill level is easy, Cuts into 12-15 slices
Prepare this fruit cake in advance and feed it regularly with rum, brandy or whisky to build the flavour and keep it moist over the coming weeks for maximum flavour.
1kg mixed dried fruits (use a mix of raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prunes or figs)
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
150ml brandy, Sherry, whisky or rum, plus extra for feeding
250g pack butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
175g plain flour
100g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
100g flaked almonds
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, alcohol, butter and sugar in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Tip the fruit mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment, then wrap a double layer of newspaper around the outside – tie with string to secure.
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hrs.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film. Feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
Recipe courtesy of the Good Food Magazine (UK)