Holiday Happenings | News | |


Holiday Happenings

Celebrate the season with these events throughout the Tri-Valley

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Pleasanton will once again host its annual holiday parade, ushering in the season with a cornucopia of floats and good cheer leading up to the city’s grand tree lighting ceremony -- one of many such holiday themed events set to be held throughout the Tri-Valley. (Photo by Chuck Deckert)

It's the holiday season, and in the Tri-Valley that means weeks of fun events and charitable causes for residents to get involved in.

Whether it is illuminating the night with a Hanukkah celebration, seeing a classic Christmas play, donating to help those in need or ringing in the new year with loved ones, there are a plethora of events for local families of all stripes to get a full dose of holiday cheer.

We've made the list -- be sure you check it twice -- because you don't miss out on any of this year's fantastical holiday happenings!

Holiday ice skating rink

Ice skaters rejoice. City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon will bring some winter wonder to the Tri-Valley, starting this Friday night with the grand opening of the Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Skating Rink -- the Tri-Valley's first and only outdoor ice skating rink.

Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will kick off the grand opening with a few words at 5 p.m. inside City Center, 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon.

Santa arrives at Stoneridge

Ladies and gentlemen, Santa has entered the building. Taking time out of his busy Christmas schedule, the one and only Santa Claus will be visiting Stoneridge Shopping Center now through Christmas Eve to take photos with Pleasanton's good girls and boys -- and pets too.

Residents can save time and beat the lines to visit jolly old St. Nick by signing up for a Santa FastPass online at; there residents can also see what times Santa will appear at the mall.


As the holiday season approaches, local food banks are in need of essential supplies and residents can help by donating to the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority's annual "Stuff-A-Bus" holiday food drive.

All donations will be used to support the Open Heart Kitchen and Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantries. This year's food drive will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lucky Supermarket at the corner of West Las Positas Boulevard and Hopyard Road in Pleasanton.

Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Providing gifts for children during the holidays can be a struggle for some families in the Tri-Valley community, and to help those families a group of local churches, businesses and nonprofits are hosting a specialized Holiday Pop-Up Shop where parents in Dublin and Pleasanton can pick out gifts, free of charge.

Sponsored by nonprofit The Toy Shop Team, qualifying parents can sign up at, and pick out presents on Dec. 12, 13 and 14 -- but act sooner rather than later as registration closes on Nov. 20.

Ahead of the shop's opening, residents in the giving spirit can donate to the Pop-Up Shop's toy drive on Nov. 24 through Dec. 11, learn more about that on the group's website.

City Center's Tree-Lighting Celebration

City Center Bishop Ranch will be hosting its second annual Tree Lighting Celebration where attendees will have the opportunity to start off the holiday season with a bang on Nov. 22 from 5-8 p.m.

Attendees will not only get to witness the lighting of the center's grand tree -- which officials say will contain nearly 14,000 lights and ornaments -- but will also be serenaded with live music and performances from Pride and Joy, the Monte Vista High School Marching Band and San Ramon Voices. Santa will also be making a special appearance to take selfies with both kids and kids at heart.

'Reflections of the Season'

The Harmony Fusion Chorus will help everyone get in the spirit this on Nov. 16 with their special holiday performance, "Reflections of the Season," set to be held at 2:30 p.m at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1385 S. Livermore Ave. in Livermore.

Harmony Fusion's performance will feature holiday favorites such as "All I Want for Christmas," "Sleigh Ride," "Let it Snow," "Winter Wonderland" and familiar songs such as "Carol of the Bells." To learn more, visit

Gingerbread Project

For holiday shoppers feeling crummy because they can't find a unique or fun gift to present to their loved ones Tri-Valley Haven has just the answer -- a delicious personalized gingerbread cookie.

In partnership with students from the Culinary Arts Program at the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, Tri-Valley Haven's annual Gingerbread Project offers residents the opportunity to purchase sugar snowflake and gingerbread cookies customized with the name of a loved one, co-worker, friend or casual acquaintance.

All proceeds support the Haven's client programs. Orders must be placed by Nov. 22, and will be available for pick-up on Dec. 4, 5 or 6. Pick up an order form online at

Train of Lights

Offering families the opportunity to ride a holiday train worthy of Santa's workshop, the Niles Canyon Railway is bringing back its popular Train of Lights on select winter evenings.

Starting on Nov. 22, residents can buy a ticket to take a ride on a train decorated with more than 500,000 electric Christmas lights, with the ability to ride as a general passenger, in first class or rent a private caboose.

Trains will depart from Niles Station, 37029 Mission Blvd. in Fremont, at 4:30 p.m and Sunol Station, 6 Kilkare Road in Sunol, at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 30 -- with the exception of Christmas Eve and day. Learn more at

Interfaith Interconnect 'Expressions of Gratitude'

Interfaith Interconnect of the Tri-Valley will hold its seventh annual Thanksgiving Program: "Expressions of Gratitude" on Nov. 24, four days before Thanksgiving.

This year's event will once again feature a diverse variety of ways different faiths and cultures can come together to celebrate gratitude this holiday season through music, song, dance, prayer, poetry, scripture and other texts.

The program is free to attend and will take place at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 3999 Bernal Ave., Pleasanton, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Veterans mobile outreach

The Pleasanton Library will host the VA Palo Alto Mobile Medical Outreach Team and the county Veterans Service Officer to facilitate free examinations, consultations and referrals for veterans next Thursday (Nov. 21) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Veterans uncertain of their benefits eligibility are encouraged to visit, and are advised to bring military discharge papers (Form DD-214) and a list of current medications. Learn more by calling the library's information desk, 931-3400, ext. 4.

Mony Nop Turkey Drop

Get into the spirit of giving early with the fourth annual Mony Nop Turkey Drop.

Brought to you by Mony Nop Real Estate, the event is an opportunity for residents to donate frozen turkeys, gift cards or cash donations to assist local families in need, with donations benefiting Tri-Valley Haven.

Residents can make donations on Nov. 24, in front of the Livermore police station, 1110 S. Livermore Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn more at

Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner

Serving families, seniors, military, singles and anyone needing a good Thanksgiving dinner alongside good company, St. Raymond Catholic Church will once again be hosting its Tri-Valley Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 28.

The free event will be a traditional sit-down dinner, with entertainment and children's activities planned from noon to 4 p.m. The church is located 11555 Shannon Ave., Dublin. Learn more at

Danville Lighting of the Old Oak Tree

A cherished tradition in the town of Danville, residents are invited to witness as Father Christmas and the Snow Angel sprinkle a little magic dust on the Old Oak Tree and bring it to light.

The town will illuminate its Old Oak Tree at 5 p.m. on Nov. 29, the evening will also include live music, refreshments and shopping through downtown Danville's festively decorated streets.

LumiNight Lantern Festival

A walking safari through thousands of immersive, life-sized and larger-than-life lantern sculptures will be found in Pleasanton on Nov. 29, when the Bay Area's inaugural LumiNight Lantern Festival opens in the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Open through Feb. 2, LumiNight will bring "One World. A Million Lights" to Pleasanton, featuring Chinese lantern sculptures depicting scenes from around the world.

Tickets for the winter lantern festival can be found online at

Holiday Youth Music Festival

Young musicians from throughout the Tri-Valley will be bringing the gift of music to the Firehouse this holiday season, returning to the theater for the seventh annual Holiday Youth Music Festival.

Featuring the Firehouse Youth Chorus and the High School Music Collaborative, performers will play a series of classic holiday favorites mixed in with a few surprises by youth improv troupe Creatures of Impulse.

The festival begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30, with general admission tickets costing $5 for students and $10 for adults. Visit

Alamo Holiday Boutique and Craft Sale

Shoppers looking for the perfect holiday gift may find just what they are looking for at the Alamo Women's Club's Holiday Boutique and Craft Sale on Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1401 Danville Boulevard.

The free-to-attend indoor event will offer residents a day of shopping for holiday gifts from high quality workmanship done by local artists and talented makers.

'The Christmas Rose'

Trinity Lutheran Church will be hosting special guest Patrick Ball -- one of the world's premier celtic harp players -- who will delight guests with marvelous tales of christmas and winter alongside his beautiful Celtic harp accompaniment.

Ball will perform "The Christmas Rose" at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30, at the church, 1225 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton. Learn more at

'The Glorious'

The Pacific Chamber Orchestra presents "The Glorious" on Dec. 1, at the Bankhead Theater, where a gathering of harmonious voices will perform George Frideric Handel's famed "Messiah."

Plus, at the end of the concert, the audience is invited to join in with a sing-along reprise of the famed Hallelujah chorus.

The show begins at 3 p.m., tickets can be obtained from the Bankhead ticket office, 2400 1st St., Livermore, by calling 373-6800 or online at

Coping with stress and trauma

Those suffering from stress or trauma may have a more difficult time during the holiday season for a variety of reasons.

To learn how residents can help families cope with stress and trauma during the holidays, Hively CEO Kelly O'Lague Dulka will be hosting a free event, "Helping Families Cope with Stress & Trauma During the Holidays," in the Hively Conference Room, 6601 Owens Drive, Pleasanton, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. Register online at

Livermore Shakes

Residents can celebrate the season with some classic holiday stories in the beginning of December, when Livermore Shakespeare Festival artists present a staged reading of classic holiday stories at Swirl on the Square in downtown Livermore.

Performances will be held Dec. 4, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Dec. 11 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 18 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $45 at and include one glass of wine.

Creatures of Impulse: Holiday Shorts

Jolly exclamations of "Ho Ho Ho" will be heard coming from the Firehouse Dec. 5 and 6, when the Tri-Valley's premiere youth improv troupe Creatures of Impulse brings its hilarious Holiday Shorts show back to town.

The annual holiday show is interactive, meaning that audience suggestions will be used to inspire holiday-themed games, scenes and even a totally improvised play, ensuring that each performance will be a unique showing of holiday-themed hilarity.

Shows begin both nights at 7:30 p.m., an additional preview show will be held Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit or in person at the Firehouse Arts Center Box Office, 4444 Railroad Ave. in Pleasanton.

Holiday Tea & Sing-Along

Holiday tunes, hot drinks, wonderful conversation and good cheer a-plenty will be found at the Pleasanton Senior Center this holiday season, especially on Dec. 5 when the center hosts its Holiday Tea & Sing-Along event.

Held in partnership with the Friends of Pleasanton Senior Center, the gathering will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. on Dec. 5, at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd. Tickets cost $3, to reserve a seat call 931-5376. Transportation is available upon request.

Twilight Tastings & Photos with Santa

Paws in Need will be offering residents the opportunity to find that purrfect holiday gift while raising money for a good cause on Dec. 5, with the return of its Twilight Tastings event.

Starting at 4:30 p.m. at Livermore's Page Mill Winery, 1960 S. Livermore Ave., attendees can purchase Paws in Need holiday boutique items, take photos with Santa alongside their pets and participate in a $10 wine tasting.

Proceeds will benefit Paws In Need's animal medical program and urgent care veterinary medical needs in the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas. Learn more at

Dublin Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dubliners will celebrate the start of the season in traditional fashion, and gather at the Dublin Civic Center, 100 Civic Plaza, for their city's 36th annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, this year's celebration will include cookies and hot cocoa for attendees as well as special performances by the Dublin High School Choir and the Youth Orchestra of Southern Alameda County.

Bah Humbug! 5K Run/Walk

Why not say Bah Humbug to that holiday weight gain and participate in San Ramon's annual Bah Humbug! 5K Run/Walk on Dec. 7

This event is great for families and offers an opportunity for participants to get fit while dressed up in their favorite holiday costume. Register for the event and learn more online at

'Sing-It-Yourself Messiah'

The Valley Concert Chorale will once again hold their annual "Sing-It-Yourself Messiah" where singers of all ages are welcome to join in singing Part I of Handel's choral masterpiece, also known as the Christmas portion of "Messiah."

Singers are encouraged to bring their own copy of "Messiah," though there will be some copies available to borrow. "Messiah" will be sung at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave., Livermore. Learn more at

Pet Photos with Santa

Kriss Kringle will be taking some time away from his own favorite animals -- Rudolf, Donner, Blitzen, the Abominable Snowman and the rest -- to snap some selfies with Pleasanton's four-legged residents on Dec. 7, at the Pet Supplies Plus on 4230 Rosewood Drive.

From 1-4 p.m. residents can have their pet's photo taken with Santa to benefit Canine Companions for Independence. For more information, visit

Pleasanton Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting

Pleasanton will salute the season with its annual parade and tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 7, this year featuring high school marching bands, holiday-inspired floats, the Balloon Platoon, hundreds of Cub Scouts and Brownies, local car clubs, performing arts groups and more.

The parade will be held in downtown Pleasanton with events starting at 5 p.m. and culminating with the grand tree lighting ceremony at approximately 6:45 p.m. -- and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Weekly's car.

Livermore Holiday Sights and Sounds Parade

Livermore will be ushering in their own holiday parade and tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 7, with an estimated 50 floats expected to partake in the annual Holiday Sights and Sounds Parade.

The Livermore parade route will travel along First Street between M and McLeod streets starting at 6 p.m. The city is accepting parade entry applications until this Saturday. For more information, visit

'Winter Dreams'

Livermore-Amador Symphony will be bringing a collection of winter themed music to launch its 57th season, and will perform Mozart's German Dance No. 3 "The Sleigh Ride," Saint-Saëns' beloved "Carnival of the Animals" and Tchaikovsky's groundbreaking first symphony "Winter Dreams."

The symphony is set to perform at the Bankhead Theater at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Impressions of the Nutcracker

The San Ramon Dance Academy will be hosting its annual performance of the classic Christmas ballet "The Nutcracker," at San Ramon's Dougherty Valley Arts Center for two days of shows on Dec. 7 and 8.

The Dec. 7 shows will begin at 4 and 7 p.m., while the Dec. 8 shows are set to start at 1 and 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Wreaths Across Pleasanton

In recognition of the sacrifices veterans have made so residents can feel safe this holiday season, the community is invited to participate in Wreaths Across Pleasanton on Dec. 14, a day where volunteers will work to create and place wreaths on all 560-plus graves at Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery.

Organized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298, American Legion Post 237 and chaired by Athenian School student Julia Borchers, locals can help assemble wreaths on Dec. 8 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1225 Hopyard Road, in Pleasanton from noon to 6 p.m. -- participants are instructed to bring garden gloves, clippers and/or pliers, and to dress for chilly weather.

Sites will be prepared for placement at Pioneer Cemetery starting 9 a.m. on Dec. 14, a blessing of the wreaths and placements will take place at noon. Learn more at

Celtic Christmas Concert and Gathering

Bringing a Christmas celebration with a Celtic flair, Gabe Duffin and other special guests will be performing traditional Irish country and Celtic music at Livermore's Bothwell Arts Center on Dec. 8, with a community potluck set to be held prior to showtime.

Potluck starts at 6:30 p.m., so bring your favorite dish if you would like to participate, otherwise come by at 7:30 for the music. Tickets can be found online at the Livermore Performing Arts Center website,

'Christmas Concert'

The Pacific Masterworks Chorus will be taking music lovers on a tour of Christmas melodies through the decades when it takes the stage at the Firehouse on Dec. 8, for its special "Christmas Concert."

From the classic "Jesus Refulsit Ominum" sung in Latin to the beloved "White Christmas" by Irving Berlin, the group will serenade attendees with a collection of famous Christmas music -- and attendees are encouraged to sing along with the chorus. The show will be held at 5:30 p.m.; learn more at

'Handling the Holidays'

"Handling the Holidays: A Grief Workshop" is a free workshop presenting specific ideas and strategies to help those experiencing grief during the holidays.

Sponsored by Hope Hospice, the workshop will be held Dec. 9, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at 6377 Clark Ave. Dublin. There is no cost to attend, but residents should register in advance by calling 829-8770, or via email at

'Disney's Frozen JR.'

"Let it Go" and adventure back into the magical land of Arendelle for the Pleasanton Youth Theater Company's masterful performance of the 2018 Broadway musical version of Frozen.

The enchanting modern classic from Disney will appear live on stage at the Amador Theater in Pleasanton, 1155 Santa Rita Road.

Shows run Dec. 13-22. Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Visit

'The Nutcracker'

A swirl of lovely snowflakes, adorable mice, dancing soldiers, a glittering sugar plum fairy and of course the magical Nutcracker himself will grace the Bankhead, when the Valley Dance Theatre opens its 40th season with its annual performance of Tchaikovsky's ballet classic "The Nutcracker."

This year's rendition will once again be accompanied by the Valley Dance Theatre Pit Orchestra, and feature the elaborate sets and skilled dancers that have made "The Nutcracker" one of the Tri-Valley's most highly anticipated ballet performances.

Highlighting this production will be new back drops by celebrated designer, Jean-François Revon, whose vibrant new creations will be featured in much-loved scenes, Land of Snow and Kingdom of the Sweets.

Evening shows will start at the Bankhead at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14, 20, 21 and 22, with 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. Visit for more.

Pacific Pearl holiday celebration

Pleasanton's Pacific Pearl Shopping Center will be hosting a free holiday celebration on Dec. 14, where residents are invited to join in on a variety of fun events such as selfies with Santa (bring your own camera), children's crafts, a face painter, balloon twister and a spin-to-win prize wheel.

The celebration will be held by the fireplace near 85° Bakery Café, 2693-2733 Stoneridge Drive, from 12-2 p.m. Learn more at

Spirit & Sweater Stroll

Gaudy and brilliant holiday sweaters of all stripes will be found in downtown Pleasanton on Dec. 14, when the Pleasanton Downtown Association's annual Spirit & Sweater Stroll returns, bringing with it the opportunity for residents to sip on the finest cocktails in town and explore downtown in their ugliest holiday wear.

Tickets cost $45 starting at midnight tonight, and are available for purchase online at or in person at Beer Baron, 336 St. Mary St. If the event is not sold out, tickets will be available at the door for $50. Guests must be at least 21 years old to participate, check-in begins at 5 p.m. at the Museum on Main, 603 Main St.

New Orleans Christmas

"A Jazzy New Orleans Christmas" will be found in the Firehouse on Dec. 14 when Pleasanton's own trumpeter Jeff Bordes returns for his annual holiday show.

Alongside some of his most musically gifted friends, Bordes will perform his original song "The Santa Claus Second Line" along with other original tunes and holiday classics.

The show will happen on Dec. 14, beginning at 8 p.m. Visit

Danú: An Emerald Isle Christmas

One of today's leading traditional Irish ensembles, Danú will bring a mix of ancient and contemporary Irish music to the Bankhead for a memorable celebration of the winter holiday traditions practiced in the group's native country.

Hailing from historic County Waterford, Danú -- who are celebrating their 25th anniversary -- will perform at the Bankhead on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Buy tickets or learn more at

Chabad of the Tri-Valley Chanukah celebration

Chabad of the Tri-Valley is inviting residents to light up the night to celebrate Chanukah -- which this year runs from Dec. 22 through Dec. 30 -- and will hold a series of special events observing the eight-day Jewish holiday.

For the first night of Chanukah, the Chabad will fill the streets of Pleasanton with a joyous display of Jewish pride for the annual Menorah Car Parade from 5:30-7 p.m. The parade, which is led by a police escort, culminates at the Chabad on 3370 Hopyard Road for a grand menorah lighting and Chanukah Bash. No charge, but an RSVP is required.

Then on Dec. 23, residents are invited to celebrate the Festival of Lights at the Stoneridge Shopping Center's grand court for a Chanukah Wonderland. From 5:30-7 p.m. attendees can enjoy live music, holiday games, face painting and much more, with the evening concluding with the kindling of a 9-foot menorah.

Next, come witness "Fire on Ice" when a menorah is lit on an ice rink for the Chabad's "Chanukah on Ice" event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 26. Attendees are invited to skate to Jewish and Chanukah music and enjoy some traditional food.

The Chabad will then bring the party over to the Bankhead Theater for a "Chanukah Under the Stars" celebration. On Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m., attendees will witness the lighting of Livermore's Menorah, get to taste some hot latkes and Chanukah doughnuts, and enjoy musical entertainment alongside some of the city's dignitaries.

Learn more about the Chabad's celebrations at

Shabbat Hanukkah

Congregation Beth Emek will be hosting its annual Hanukkah program on Dec. 27, and will welcome a special musical guest for the service.

The congregation will welcome guest Cantor Amy Daniels, who is presenting a special program of Hanukkah music for attendees.

People are invited to bring their own menorahs to light at the beginning of the service, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Congregation Beth Emek is located at 3400 Nevada Court in Pleasanton. For more information, visit

Mostly Kosher

Kicking off the second day of Hanukkah with some traditional Jewish music infused with modern rock, acclaimed klezmer "gypsy-rock" band Mostly Kosher will be found at the Bankhead for a rockin' Hanukkah celebration.

Residents can see Mostly Kosher reconstruct their cultural music with "ravishing klezmer beats and arresting Yiddish refrains" at the Bankhead 7 p.m. on Dec. 23. Visit

'Big Fat Year-End Kiss Off'

The 27th annual comedy spectacular "Big Fat Year-End Kiss Off" is set to return to the Firehouse on Dec. 27, and will look to end 2019 in style.

The annual comedy show will feature stand-up, improvisational and loosely written sketches, with this year's show starring political satirist Will Durst and some of his funniest comedy friends. Visit for more.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage

Live at the Bankhead Theater, everyone's favorite holiday classic comes to life as Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the whole Peanuts gang produce their own Christmas play and ultimately learn the true meaning of the season.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage will be performed on Dec. 29, at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 1st St., Livermore. Learn more at

New Year's Eve with Crawdad Republic

Along with their vocally-driven style, Americana, folk and bluegrass band Crawdad Republic will be kicking of an end of the year celebration at the Bankhead with their signature sound for the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center's annual New Year's Eve celebration starting at 8 p.m.

After the lively performance, attendees are invited to the Bankhead lobby for complimentary champagne, wine and a festive dessert buffet and a look back at auld lang syne. Visit

Holiday Fund

The Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund campaign gets underway next week and will run into January. With your contributions, the Weekly, in partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, will give grants to 10 local nonprofits serving the needs of children and families in the Pleasanton area.

All funds will be held by Silicon Valley Community Foundation and will be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donations should be made payable to the foundation. Credit card gifts may be made here.

If there's an event you would like to see listed or you know of one we've left out, send event information to or visit

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


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