Winter and holiday themes blanket the city

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FILE PHOTO BY RAY STEUP

Visit infortwayne.com/2016/12/01/the-nutcracker/ for a video and history of Fort Wayne Ballet’s holiday tradition.

Contributed

Though gathering crowds and glowing brightly on the opening Night of Lights, downtown Fort Wayne remains busy and glowing throughout the holiday season.

Lights of Love Memorial

Parkview Field, 1301 Ewing St., through Nov. 30

Through the Lights of Love Memorial, you can remember your loved one this holiday season by purchasing a memorial to be displayed on the videoboard at Parkview Field. All proceeds benefit Erin’s House for Grieving Children. For details, call (260) 482-6400 or visit parkviewfield.com or erinshouse.org.

Headwaters Park Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

Headwaters Park, 333 S. Clinton St., opened Nov. 18. Hours vary.

$3 for children younger than 14, $5 for ages 14 and older; $2 skate rental

Enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink in Headwaters Park, in its 15th season, with kids’ free skate day every Wednesday for children younger than 14.

Holiday Window Decorating Contest

Downtown Fort Wayne, through Dec. 11.

Free

The tradition of stores and businesses decorating their windows for the holidays continues. This year’s theme is “Walking in a Window Wonderland.” Enjoy a stroll through downtown and and check out the creative window displays. Vote for your favorite at Facebook.com/DowntownFortWayne.

Fantasy of Lights

Franke Park, 3411 Sherman Blvd., Nov. 21-Dec. 31

$5 per car Sunday-Thursday, $10 per car Friday and Saturday

This drive-through event is situated in Franke Park (adjacent to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo) and transforms the park into a spectacular winter wonderland with 70 larger-than-life brilliant, animated light displays.

Garden In Lights

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Nov. 22-Jan. 7. Holiday hours vary.

$5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-17.

The conservatory has decorated the gardens, indoors and out. Enjoy beautiful poinsettias and lights from the atrium to the Desert, along with the “Snow Days” theme, but don’t miss the outdoor terrace display of light and synchronized holiday music, especially effective during evening hours, on Thursday and Friday nights, for five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The gardens provide a backdrop for family photos, out-of-town guest entertainment and conversations, and perhaps a marriage proposal. The gift shop will also be open during public hours for holiday shopping.

Snow Days Garden Exhibit

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Nov. 22-Jan. 7. Holiday hours vary.

$5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-17.

Do you remember when school was canceled because of unexpected winter weather? In the conservatory’s holiday imagination, snowkids go out for snowball fights and forts while snowmoms bake cookies and prepare hot chocolate. Snow angels mark the spot where families spent time together.

Embassy Holiday Windows

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Nov. 22-Dec.31.

Free

Festival of Trees

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Nov. 22-29, times vary by day.

$8 for adults, $4 for ages 12 and younger.

Lobbies of the Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel are transformed into a wonderland of Christmas trees under the theme of “Silver Bells.” This year marks the festival’s 33rd celebration.

Galloping Gobbler 4-Miler

Starts at University of Saint Francis Main Campus at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 23. Registration required.

This 4-mile holiday-themed race supports the History Center. Visit VeepRaces.com to register.

“White Christmas” Movie Screening

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd, 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23.

$8 for adults, $4 for ages 12 and younger.

New to the Festival of Trees this year is Irving Berlin’s classic holiday film “White Christmas.” Movie admission includes Festival of Trees.

Festival of Gingerbread

The History Center, 302 E. Berry St., Nov. 24-Dec. 10.

Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission rates apply; get details at fwhistorycenter.com.

Since its inception in 1985, the Festival of Gingerbread has become one of the community’s premier holiday traditions and the best attended event at the History Center. Each season more than 100 tasty creations adorn the History Center’s exhibition hall, the Shields Room, now restored to its original high Victorian style and grandeur. Competitive categories for the gingerbread creations range from lower-elementary school classes to professional culinary artists.

Breakfast with Santa

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Nov. 24-26, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

$15 per person, includes early admission into Festival of Trees.

Sing-along with Santa Claus and enjoy storytime with Mrs. Claus in the Embassy Theatre’s ballroom. Breakfast provided by McDonald’s and 3Rivers Federal Credit Union.

Festival of Trains

Science Central, 1950 N. Clinton St. Friday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 25 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 26, noon-5 p.m.

Join Science Central for the 17th annual Festival of Trains. Train enthusiasts of all ages are invited to observe model train sets in action, demonstrated by local model train groups.

Holly Trolley Shopping

Downtown Fort Wayne, Saturday, Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Free

Holly Trolley Shopping returns on national “Shop Small Saturday,” with trolleys connecting you to more than 60 unique shops, galleries, restaurants and attractions in and around downtown Fort Wayne. Visit hollytrolleydowntown.com for details.

Joyeux Noel — A Festive French Christmas

The Old Fort — Historic Fort Wayne, 1201 Spy Run Ave., Saturday, Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Free; donations are accepted.

Celebrate Joyeux Noel, a French Christmas. Artisans will have historic hand arts and gifts available for sale, English dancers, a French choir, bake sale, light refreshments for sale and visit with Pere Noel. Children’s activities in the Fort and refreshments available at the bake sale.

Craft Collections

Fort Wayne Parks &Recreation Community Center, 233 W. Main St., Saturday, Nov.25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

In conjunction with the Holly Trolley, the Community Center will host a craft show. Kids 14 and younger can come in and make Christmas ornaments and decorate Christmas cookies from 12:30-3:30 p.m. You can warm up with cuisine provided by some of Fort Wayne’s food trucks, which will be in the parking lot.

Creative Crafts to Make and Take

Allen County Public Library Children’s Services, 900 Library Plaza, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2-4 p.m.

Free

Feel like being creative with your gifts this year? Share in this activity and take crafts home with you.

Tots &Trees Day at Festival of Trees

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Monday, Nov. 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

$8 for adults, $4 for ages 12 and younger.

Open to all ages, with room for strollers. Enjoy the animated short “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” on the big screen at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

Fort Wayne Children’s Choir Community Sing-Along

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Monday, Nov. 27, 5-9 p.m. Performance at 6:30 p.m.

$8 for adults, $4 for ages 12 and younger.

Join Fort Wayne Children’s Choir for a community sing-along.

Kingston Senior Day

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd., Tuesday, Nov. 28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

$8 for adults, $4 for ages 12 and younger.

Open to the public with special activities for seniors. Sponsored by Kingston Healthcare.

“The Nutcracker”

Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St., Dec. 1-10.

Tickets start at $17.

Friday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 3, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 10, 2:30 p.m.

Experience the magic of this Fort Wayne holiday tradition. Join Clara and her Nutcracker on Christmas Eve — a family party, an epic battle with the Mouse King and his army and a beautiful journey through the Kingdom of the Sweets. Visit fortwayneballet.org or call (260) 484-9646 for tickets.

“Dickens’ A Christmas Carol”

First Presbyterian Theater, 300 W. Wayne St. Nov. 30-Dec. 17

General admission tickets, $20; seniors older than 65, $18; full-time students, $10 or first 30 free with reservations; Thursday previews, $12; groups of 20 or more, $15. Tickets are available online at firstpresbyteriantheater.com or by calling the box office at (260) 426-7421, ext. 121.

Performances Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Dec. 9, 16, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 3, 2 p.m.; Dec. 10 and 17, 6 p.m.

What does it truly mean, in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, to “honor Christmas in my heart” each day of the year? And how does Scrooge’s journey mirror our own? This lively, multimedia adaptation of Dickens’s beloved holiday ghost story examines these questions through the use of movement, song, puppetry, projection, narration and more. See this treasured classic come to life as you never have before!

Visit with St. Nicholas

Cathedral Books &Gifts, 915 S. Clinton St., Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Free

Bring your children to meet St. Nicholas, have their picture taken and receive a small gift.

Christmas in the Castle

University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St., Dec. 1-5.

$7 per person, $3 for children 10 and younger; no strollers please. Tickets must be purchased in the North Campus lobby at 2702 Spring St. (directly across from Brookside) on event days.

Friday, Dec. 1, 4-6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, noon-5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 3, noon-5 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 4, 4-6 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 5, noon-5 p.m., Senior Day in the Castle, $5 for senior citizens.

Christmas in the Castle will allow visitors to tour historic Brookside, formerly known as the Bass mansion, and see it specially decorated for Christmas by local florists and designers.

Santa &The Reindeer

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Saturdays, Dec. 2, 9 and 16, noon-4 p.m.

$5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-17.

Santa and two of this reindeer will greet the children while Mom and Dad take pictures to capture the moment. Explore the Conservatory while it’s done up in the fun holiday theme of “Snow Days,” reminiscent of the pleasures of winter days free from school.

Fair Trade Alternative Shopping Bazaar

University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, noon-5:30 p.m.

The shopping bazaar offers high-quality, fairly traded handicrafts of disadvantaged producers from all over the world. “Fair trade” means that producers earn a fair price, get access to credit and training, and maintain long-term relationships with principled organizations.

Las Posadas

University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St., Sunday, Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

Free.

USF students will perform Las Posadas at as they walk through the USF campus, portraying Mary and Joseph’s journey in search of lodging. A traditional part of Hispanic Christmas celebrations, posadas (meaning “shelters” or “inns”) are held on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas, from Dec. 16-24. The USF procession will begin on the lawn near Brookside and proceed through campus before ending on the shore of Mirror Lake to lead into the Living Nativity.

Lighting of the Lake

University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St., Sunday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Luminaria are $10 each.

The Lighting of the Lake will honor special loved ones on the lawn near Brookside, in concert with the Living Nativity. As a symbol of Christmas, vigil lights will encircle part of Mirror Lake. Luminaria dedicated to loved ones can be purchased for the light display by calling (260) 399-8037 by Nov. 25.

Living Nativity

University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St., Sunday, Dec. 3, 5-6 p.m.

Free.

A Living Nativity with children’s petting zoo will take place, with the petting zoo open from 5-5:45 p.m. and the Living Nativity at 6 p.m. in the lawn next to Brookside. Students of the university community present the Living Nativity, which recalls the tradition of re-enacting the first Christmas, started in 1223 by St. Francis of Assisi. Parking at the USF campus off Leesburg Road.

Holiday Light Tour

Fort Wayne Parks &Recreation Community Center, 233 W. Main St., Thursday, Dec. 4, 4-8 p.m.

$11

See some of the most beautiful holiday light displays in Fort Wayne from the comfort of a motor coach. A visit to the University of St. Francis Christmas at the Castle and a drive through the Fantasy of Lights in Franke Park are both on the evening’s itinerary. Board buses at 4:15 p.m. and return to the Community Center at about 8 p.m. This evening is sponsored by Brookdale Fort Wayne. Registration deadline is Nov. 27; call (260) 427-6460 or visit fortwayneparks.org.

$1 Night: Snow Days Concert

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Thursday, Dec. 7, 6-7 p.m.

$1 per person ages 2 and older.

Experience the Snow Days exhibit with a crystalline night of music from an up-and-coming local folk/Americana band Elle/the Remnant. They bring holiday favorites and original pieces inspired by life and literature. Because this is $1 Night, guests may drop in to visit the gardens from 5-8 p.m. for just the $1 admission price and take in the concert too. No reservations required. The conservatory will validate parking tickets from the Civic Center Parking Garage for free parking; street meters are free after 5 p.m.

Holiday Fun

Fort Wayne Parks &Recreations Community Center, 233 W. Main St., Friday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.

$14

Make holiday crafts that you can give as Christmas gifts, play some fun games, and enjoy Santa’s favorite treat: milk and cookies. Registration deadline Dec. 1; call (260) 427-6460 or visit fortwayneparks.org.

“Charlie Brown Christmas”

Presented by Fort Wayne Youtheatre.

First Presbyterian Theatre, 303 W. Wayne St., Dec. 8 and 15, 7 p.m.; Dec. 9, noon; Dec. 10, 16 and 17, 2 p.m.

$20 for adults, $15 for age 18 and younger and seniors.

Charlie Brown is on a mission to find the real meaning of Christmas. His journey through the antics of Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the gang has become a holiday stage tradition. For details and tickets, call (260) 422-4226 or visit fortwayneyoutheatre.org.

Jingle Bell Jazz

C2G Music Hall, 323 W. Baker St., Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

$20 in advance or $25 at the door.

Heartland Sings presents holiday favorites in pop and vocal jazz styles. For details and tickets, call (260) 436-8080 or visit

heartlandsings.org.

Holiday Pops

Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd. Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets start at $29.

An all-new Holiday Pops features a full orchestra, seasonal music, the Holiday Pops Chorale, Broadway star Mike Eldred, and immersive lighting and multimedia visual effects that will create a warm winter glow in the Embassy Theatre. For tickets and details, call (260) 481-0764 or visit fwphil.org.

Fort Wayne City of Churches Tour

Various locations. Friday, Dec. 9, 6-10 p.m.

Seventeen churches will open their sanctuaries for all to explore their architecture and history. Music and refreshments will be provided. Wheelchair accessible. For details, call (260) 579-0447 or visit facebook.com/citychurches. See related article in this edition.

Gingerbread Pursuit 4-Miler

Starts at Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry St., Saturday, Dec. 9, 8:30 a.m. Registration required.

This 4-mile holiday-themed race supports the History Center. Awards and refreshments will be in the rotunda of the Courthouse following the event. Visit VeepRaces.com to register.

Walk to Bethlehem

First Christian Church, 4800 S. Calhoun St., Dec. 9-10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tours are scheduled approximately every 10 minutes.

Free

Guides will lead you to scenes outside the church, where you will be drawn into the story of Jesus’ birth. The walk features live scenes complete with spice and bread vendors, Roman soldiers, a census taker, a potter, a spinner of wool and other characters of the time. Afterward, join First Christian Church in the sanctuary for a time of prayer and reflection on the birth of the Christ Child. Communion will also be offered.

Suzuki Strings Holiday Concert

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2-2:45 p.m.

$5 for adults, $3 for ages 3-17.

Visit the conservatory gardens and enjoy this concert offered by students of Fort Wayne Suzuki. Children ages 4-18 will play folk songs, classical melodies and holiday favorites on violin and cello. The Suzuki Method of instruction, also known as the “mother tongue method,” is based on the premise that music is learned like a language: children first hear the music and then learn to read and write it.

50+ Holiday Dinner &Light Tour

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreations Community Center, 233 W. Main St., Monday, Dec. 11, 5:30 p.m.

$14

The evening begins with dinner and holiday music. The Alley Kats dancing troupe will entertain. Participants will board the buses (Excursion Travel) and take off on a planned route of downtown Fort Wayne’s Christmas light displays and the Fantasy of Lights at Franke Park. This event is sponsored by American Senior Communities. Paid reservations are required by Dec. 4. Space is limited to 190 people, so please register early. Call (260) 427-6460 or visit fortwayneparks.org.

“Messiah” by Candlelight

First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, 300 E. Wayne St., Dec. 14 and 15, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets $35 and up.

Handel’s most recognizable and revered masterpiece is performed to the warm glow of candlelight. Experience the “Hallelujah” chorus and other memorable favorites. For details or tickets, call (260) 481-0764 or visit fwphil.org.

Heartland Sings: The Spirit of Christmas

Allen County Courthouse, 715 S. Calhoun St. Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m.

$20 in advance or $25 at the door.

With the cooperation of the Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust and the Allen County Commissioners, Heartland Sings presents music of the season in the Beaux-Arts Courthouse Rotunda, where acoustics and architecture complement the music. For tickets or information, call (260) 436-8080 or visit heartlandsings.org.

Holiday Luncheon

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreations Community Center, 233 W. Main St. Monday, Dec. 18, 11:30 a.m.

$11

The theme is “Candy Cane Christmas” so come prepared with Christmas attire and enjoy holiday music. Serving will begin at 11:30 a.m., but guests may come earlier and enjoy cards or table games. Resume play after lunch if you wish. Paid reservations are required by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13. Reservations fees cannot be refunded or transferred. For ages 50+. For reservations, call (260) 427-6460 or visit fortwayneparks.org.

Harry Potter Party

Allen County Public Library Meeting Room A, 900 Library Plaza. Wednesday, Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m.

Free

Celebrate the season with games, refreshments and crafts inspired by HP and friends. For people in grades 6-12. For information, call (260) 421-1255 or visit acpl.info.

Winter Wonderland Preschool Fun

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreations Community Center, 233 W. Main St. Thursday, Dec. 21, 9 a.m.

$14

Take part in art and other fun activities. The registration deadline is Dec. 14. Call (260) 427-6468 or visit fortwayneparks.org.

Stories for the Darkest Day – A Winter Solstice Storytime

Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Thursday, Dec. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Free

Celebrate the solstice together by cozying up with stories and embracing the darkest day of the year.

43rd annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival

Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W. Berry St. Friday, Dec. 29, and Saturday, Dec. 30, at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. each night.

Free, but tickets are required. Freewill offerings encouraged.

Music including orchestra, choir and handbells plus costumes. More than 250 participants tell how the Christ child story spread through the middle ages. Become a sponsor and receive tickets. Or visit the box office at set hours on Dec. 14. For further information, call (260) 423-9424 or visit plymouthfw.org.

Countdown To Noon

Science Central, 1950 N. Clinton St. Sunday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Included with admission of $9 for adults and children older than 2.

Ring in 2018 with New Year’s themed activities and the annual balloon drop at Science Central’s Countdown to Noon event.

Fort Wayne New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

The epic, New Year’s Eve event is back for its second year. The event will feature music, fireworks and a countdown to 2018 paired with a visually spectacular large-scale constructed ball by a team of local engineers.

Free

(The list was compiled from information from the Downtown Improvement District and other sources.)