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<strong>Carriage Rides in Railroad Square:</strong> This weekend and again on Tuesday, Christmas Eve, there will be complimentary horse and carriage rides between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and on Christmas Eve until 3 p.m.

This longtime tradition is a gift to the community from Railroad Square businesses and property owners.

Rides begin at the restored train depot at the foot of Fourth St. in Santa Rosa's historic Railroad Square.

In the unlikely event of heavy rainfall, rides will be canceled.

<strong>Worth Our Weight News:</strong> Worth Our Weight Culinary Apprentice Program (1021 Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa) closes for the year after this Saturday's brunch service. It will reopen for bunch on Jan. 8.

If you want to stop by Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., you should make a reservation by calling 544-1200.

After they close, preparations will begin for the 24th annual Christmas dinner.

The dinner was launched by the program's executive director, Evelyn Cheatham, with friends and colleagues helping. Last year, meals for more than 500 people were delivered before 1 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Many went to individuals but clients of several nonprofit agencies, including Valley of the Moon Children's Center, Women's Recovery Services, Children's Village, Family Support Center and Sam Jones Hall were also fed. No one who has asked for a meal has ever been told there is not enough.

If you are in need for any reason or if you know someone who is unable to prepare Christmas dinner, call Worth Our Weight, 544-1200, with a contact name and phone number. Volunteers will take take it from there.

If you would like to donate food or money for the dinner, please do not call. Instead, visit worthourweight.org and click on the Christmas Dinner link, where you'll find details about when to deliver donations and what is needed.

As of press time, they needed everything from heavy-duty aluminum foil and Diamond Crystal kosher salt to turkeys, hams, chickens and so much more, including herbs, possibly from your garden.

"Please don't ask businesses to contribute," Evelyn Cheatham said, adding, "This is an example of the power of what a circle of friends can do."

<strong>Longboard Fun:</strong> On Wednesday — yes, Christmas Day — Longboard Vineyards (5 Fitch St., Healdsburg) is hosting its fourth annual Chinese Food and a Movie fete from 2 to 6 p.m.

For $40 ($35 if you're a member of the wine club), you'll get a plateful of Chinese food, a glass of wine and a surf movie, in the company of 60 like-minded holiday-avoiding folks.

As of press time, the movie had not been identified but, really, does it matter?

Seats sell out at this event, so if you want to join in, call the Surf Lounge at 433-3473 right away.

This Friday, December 20,the Surf Lounge hosts its final Chowder Friday, with chowder from Island Style Catering, free with wine tasting.

The lounge is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

<strong>Cannoli Day at Costeaux:</strong> One day each year, Costeaux French Bakery (417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg) offers cannoli, those classic Italian confections of mascarpone, ricotta, candied fruits and chocolate chips stuffed into a crisp pastry shell and rolled in confectioner's sugar.

The cannoli, which are 6 for $20, are available only on Tuesday, Dec. 24.

If you know you want some, place an order or risk disappointment. They do make plenty for walk-in customers but it's impossible to say how long they'll last. To snag yours, call 433-1913.

Costeaux Bakery is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

<strong>Starhawk in Sebastopol:</strong> On Sunday, Starhawk, the well-known Bay Area writer, activist and practitioner of earth-based spirituality, comes to the Sebastopol Grange (6000 Sebastopol Ave./Highway 12, Sebastopol) for the 26th annual North Bay Winter Solstice Ritual.

Doors open at 6:30 and the Yule Ritual begins at 7 p.m.

This traditional participatory ritual, taking place on the longest night of the year, is, simply put, a celebration of the returning of the light.

Before long, we'll notice that there is more daylight, that the sun isn't really going to disappear and leave us in the dark, something our early ancestors feared at this time of year.

The ritual includes dancing and singing; people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to join in.

You don't need to be a member of any group, you don't need any special knowledge and you are invited even if you're simply curious what this is all about.

Cost is a suggested $10 to $30 donation to cover expenses such as rental of the hall, but no one will be turned away for lack of money.

These rituals typically last about an hour and a half and you can join in as much or as little as you like.

For more information, visit northbayreclaiming.com.

For more information about Starkhawk, who has written or co-written a dozen books, including "The Spiral Dance" (Harper San Francisco, 1979) and "Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery" (Harper San Francisco, 1988), visit <a href="http://starhawk.org" target="_blank">starhawk.org</a>.

<strong>Christmas Eve with the Spinsters:</strong> The Spinster Sisters (401 South A St., Santa Rosa) are featuring a special three-course menu on Christmas Eve, with service beginning at 4 p.m.

Dinner begins with a choice of appetizers: cream of celery soup with chestnut-currant relish; fennel custard with Dungeness crab; mushroom crespelle with Parmigiano cream sauce; butter lettuce with Ruby grapefruit, shaved fennel, slivered almonds and creamy herb dressing; or, our favorite, seared duck livers with white grits, bacon and kumquats.

Next comes a choice of entrees: beef Wellington with wilted spinach; "angry" crab with orange, basil and chiles on grilled bread, with rouille; grilled red snapper with kaffir lime and shellfish broth, tomato, onion, cilantro and puffed forbidden rice; grilled bone-in pork chop with potato puree, spinach and braised plums or cannelloni with chard, butternut squash and ricotto with a tomato cream sauce.

For dessert, you'll choose between chocolate pecan tart, persimmon cake with cream cheese frosting and Meyer lemon cream puffs.

Cost is $55 per person, plus beverages, tax and gratuity. Reservations, 528-7100.

<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>

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