Shoppers skip the big box stores on Black Friday 2018 to visit the charming boutiques of Murphys. 

We’ve all heard of Black Friday—the day that officially launches us into the holiday season, with massive discounts and deals to be had at large chain retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and so on. While most can appreciate a great deal, the frantic energy of crack-of-dawn shopping with hundreds of other sleep-deprived customers doesn’t appeal to everyone.

That’s where Small Business Saturday comes in. If you’re someone who would rather browse thoughtfully made, one-of-a-kind gifts at a relaxed pace, these area events featuring handmade, unique gifts and local artisans, merchants, and small businesses are just what you need to start your holiday shopping. Or, if you’re really brave, you can make a whole weekend out of it and shop Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, too!

On Saturday, you’ll have your choice of a handful of events to attend. The Copperopolis Area Business Association is hosting a Home Business Show at the Copperopolis Armory, with free admission and free parking. Refreshments will be available to purchase, provided by Copper Hills 4-H. The event is intended to support local businesses and artisans who work from their homes, sell online, or do not have a physical storefront for their business. The event starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m.

Angels Camp will be having a city-wide Think Big, Shop Small Open House on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., inviting shoppers to enjoy a day of festivity as they support small-town merchants and kick-off the holiday season. According to the Angels Camp Business Association, there will be raffles, sales, and of course plenty of great food and shopping.

Also in Angels Camp at the Calaveras County fairgrounds will be the Spirit of Winter Festival, a “Holiday crafters marketplace with amazing gifts for the Christmas season” with almost forty different local makers and businesses, crafts, photo ops with Santa, live music, an ugly sweater contest (Sunday only), and several food vendors. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, with kids 12 and under free. Parking is also free.

Friday offers some post-Thanksgiving fun as well. While on your way to the Christmas in White Pines Laser Light Show at White Pines Lake, you can stop by one of dozens of small businesses in Arnold, like the Hinterhaus Distillery, where you can check out their new seasonal line-up of holiday spirits. You can also see Santa at Bistro Espresso, and stop in one of the shops at the Cedar Center while you’re at it! Santa will be at the Bistro from 4 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The Laser Light Show is free to attend, but donations can be made to the White Pines Park Committee. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening and goes until 9 p.m.

There will also be Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies in nearby Avery, at 6 p.m. on Friday, and at the Dorrington Hotel on Saturday night at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, in Amador County, Friday is the 8th annual Plaid Friday in Jackson and Sutter Creek, where shoppers wearing plaid receive discounts and bonus gifts with their purchases at participating shops. Saturday in Jackson will be the Christmas Delights Open House on Main Street. Celebrate with a Christmas tree lighting, free face-painting at Davenport Properties, and free horse and carriage rides. You can also visit Santa, snap some photos at designated Selfie Stations, and browse the craft fair for one-of-a-kind gifts. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With a plethora of fun events to choose from and numerous small businesses to support throughout the county, you’ll be sure to find something festive to do this weekend to get in the holiday spirit.


Marie-Elena studied creative writing, art, and photography at University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating with a BA in Studio Art -Visual Media. She moved to California from Nebraska in 2019 and is happy to call Calaveras County her home.

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