You’ve heard of Black Friday. How about Green Friday at county parks like Live Oak County Park in Fallbrook? Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego County

Turkey naturally is the weekend’s star. Start your San Diego holiday weekend with your choice of Turkey Trots, then eat your way through the main event. You’ll need the strength too, because after Thursday, we officially hit the holiday season, folks. Be ready. And if you’re not, chuck it all and just head to the Con.

Early risers may hit any one of these Turkey Trots across the county Thursday:

  • The 2021 O’Side Turkey Trot sets off from the Oceanside Civic Center, 330 N. Coast Highway at 6:45 a.m. Dress up for the five-mile or five-kilometer course and enjoy live entertainment too. Fees range from $28-50.
  • Father Joe’s Villages hosts the 20th annual Thanksgiving Day 5K at 7:30 a.m. at Balboa Park Arrive early, at 6:30 a.m., for the pre-trot mass. Enjoy pie and pictures with Santa and Disney-inspired characters at the post-race fest. Adult entry fees start at $45.
  • The local Rotary Club hosts Fallbrook’s Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, an 8 a.m. 5K run, walk or stroll through the Grand Tradition Estate and Gardens, 220 Grand Tradition Way. Fees start at $45.

Shopping might be on your mind Friday – and fitness too. Walk it off by shopping or save some cash and head to San Diego County parks for Green Friday and special hikes, classes, clean-ups and more. Events – at sites including Old Town, Bonita, Cardiff and Poway – are free, as is parking.

Comic-Con – also good for walking. And people watching. And keeping up with the latest in comic-book and genre culture.

To remember the past, head to the Comic-Con Museum, which begins its soft opening at noon Friday. The Balboa Park museum, with six regular exhibits, will feature special programming and screenings leading up to its 2022 grand opening. Tickets – general admission costs $20 – are available online and will be sold at the museum.

Then there’s the Con itself. It’s back! Comic-Con Special Edition opens at noon Friday at the San Diego Convention Center after going virtual during its regular July slots in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Use your coveted badge at the scaled-back event, through Sunday, or for the badgeless, hit the streets around the center to spot the many, many cosplayers.

After Thanksgiving, we make the big pivot toward Christmas. From a special Santa to a journey to the North, here’s the latest options to open:

  • The North Pole Limited opens for the season at 5 p.m. Friday, running from the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo through the backcountry. Join Santa’s elves aboard as they sing Christmas carols, read Christmas stories and pass out cookies and hot chocolate. Will the big man himself show up? We think he just might. Evening trips take place Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 18. Adult fare starts at $35 and children’s at $25.
  • Surfin’ Santa, ceremoniously escorted by the Harbor Police, breaks out the board shorts at Seaport Village at 1 p.m. Saturday. He’ll cruise in from San Diego Bay to kick off a procession of carolers, stilt walkers, elves and toy soldiers along the boardwalk. Enjoy live music and DIY photo ops on Santa’s life-size surfboard too.
  • Head to North County for the Julian Country Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Pioneer Park, 2811 Washington St. The fun starts at 2 p.m. for live entertainment, as well the apple pie for which Julian is so deservedly known.
Santa makes appearances at three events this holiday weekend. Photo by Chris Stone

(For other festive attractions that are already open for 2021, click here and here and here.)

And don’t forget Small Business Saturday, a tradition that helps you with holiday shopping sure, but also supports local shopkeepers who work right in your community.

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