This week, check out a festival of French animated films, go wine tasting in Menlo Park and catch a holiday ballet.
Festival of French Animated Film
A cat with a nefarious night job, a recluse whose life is altered by a robotic pet, a friendship between a mouse and a bear: Animals play some of the starring roles in the Festival of French Animated Film, screening Dec. 4-5 at Mountain View's Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St. Hosted by the Alliance Francaise Silicon Valley, the festival will celebrate some classics of the genre (among them 2010's crime-themed "A Cat in Paris" and 2013's Academy Award-winning animated short, "Mr. Hublot") as well as introducing audiences to some new faces of French cinema, including Eric Montchaud, director of 2014's "Anatole's Little Saucepan," which features a boy who's reluctant to part with his cooking pot.
The festival kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. with a welcome from the Alliance's director and from Mickael Coedel, lead animator at George Lucas' San Francisco-based motion picture company, Industrial Light and Magic. The event continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20. Go to goo.gl/qx1wlT or call 650-903-3000. For more about the Alliance, go to afscv.org.
Downtown tree lighting ceremony
Celebrate the holiday season in community when the City of Palo Alto hosts its annual tree lighting ceremony and celebration this Friday, Dec. 4. Revelers of all ages can enjoy face painting, hot drinks, live choral music and more. The free event runs 4-7 p.m.; the tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. Go to goo.gl/R54vB6 or call 650-463-4900.
'The Christmas Ballet'
Don't come expecting Clara, Drosselmeyer or the Sugar Plum Fairy; Smuin Ballet offers up a different holiday dance tradition with "The Christmas Ballet." The Bay Area-based company known for its sexy, contemporary approach to classical dance performs a mixed bill at Mountain View's Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Dec. 9-13. Tickets are $23-$71. Go to goo.gl/XU4Pm8 or call 650-903-3000.
Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk
Head to Menlo Park's Santa Cruz Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 5, for an afternoon of boutique wine tasting from regional vineyards and wineries including Thomas Fogarty and Russian Ridge at the Taste of the Mountains Wine Walk. A $45 ticket buys a wristband, glass and a map of pouring locations. Go to goo.gl/OIGDU9.
'Jasper Ridge Moments'
The Midpeninsula boasts some glorious natural places, and photographer Dan Quinn makes it his business to capture some of that beauty. This Saturday, Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m., the Environmental Volunteers EcoCenter will host a free reception for "Jasper Ridge Moments," a show of Quinn's works featuring the flora and fauna of Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. The show runs through Feb. 21. Go to goo.gl/E2WDhN or call 650-493-8000.
'The Nutcracker: A Holiday Ballet'
For a family-friendly holiday tradition, catch Redwood City's Ballet America in "The Nutcracker." With a cast of more than 100 local dancers plus professional guest artists, the production features all the classic characters, from the Mouse King to the Nutcracker Prince. Performances take place Dec 4 and 6. Tickets are $22-$39. Go to goo.gl/gn7Zgo or call 650-369-7770.