Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Two long-running Christmas traditions in Sonora - the Pop Hudson Memorial Christmas Sing and Galen "Mut" Mutzner's community bean feed - will return to the downtown area on Friday afternoon, rain or shine.

Both are free, designed as holiday gifts to the people of Tuolumne County and those who visit here.

This will be the 34th annual Pop Hudson Memorial Christmas Sing, sponsored by The Union Democrat. It will take place from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. at Courthouse Square in downtown Sonora, with more than a dozen community groups leading the audience in the singing of favorite Christmas carols.

This will be Mut's 25th annual free bean feed. He and his volunteer crew set up before dawn at the corner of Washington and Linoberg streets, cooking up a huge pot of beans to serve along with bread, tortillas and menudo.

The line starts forming shortly after 11 a.m. Serving begins when Mut rings the bell at noon sharp. The food is served as long as it lasts, usually until about 2 p.m.

The Christmas Sing, named in honor of the late Sonora downtown booster Pop Hudson, has been organized by the Union Democrat staff since 1980. Lyrics to each of the 15 carols will be available at the park to people who want to sing along.

Song leaders will include representatives of Summerville Parent Nursery School, Sonora Regional Medical Center, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools office, Tuolumne County Association of Realtors, Sierra Conservation Center, Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, Stanislaus National Forest, Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, City of Sonora and Tuolumne County officials, Tuolumne County Arts Alliance, Sonora-area service clubs and Summerville High School's Jazz@8 choir.