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Holiday Fun in Indy


Unique Festivals and Events Help Usher in the Holidays



94128910
December 01, 2010
The holidays mean so many different things to different people. For one family, staying home to create memories together takes priority over all other events. For another, an annual trek to the big city tops the list of things that have to take place before the holiday has truly arrived.

Indianapolis does it right and thousands of people can't be wrong to attend shows, performances and fairs year after year.

25 years of Yuletide Celebration

Duke Energy Yuletide Celebration is the largest orchestra-produced holiday production of its kind in North America. Highlighting this year's show at the Hilbert Circle Theatre will be the world premiere of a new concert stage production of songs from the classic holiday movie White Christmas. Other favorite elements from past yuletide presentations (from over the last quarter century) will be incorporated into the 25th anniversary performance. The Orchestra will present 26 performances beginning Friday, December 3 through Thursday, December 23, with evening and matinee times available.

Sandi Patty will host the Duke Energy Yuletide Celebration for the fifth time. Patty and the full cast will perform many of Irving Berlin's classic hits from White Christmas, including "Happy Holiday", "Snow" and "I Love a Piano."

As an added treat, families can pet live reindeer that will greet audiences on Monument Circle. Inside, photographers will take family photos in front of the beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby while costumed characters greet children. Cookies and hot wassail will be available for purchase.

A Beef & Boards Christmas

Tradition took a twist this holiday season when A Beef & Boards Christmas 2010 opened on November 26. Now in it's 17th year, Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is taking a fresh approach to its own original holiday extravaganza. Styled after the classic variety shows of Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Red Skelton, Dinah Shore and Bob Hope, A Beef & Boards Christmas 2010 presents the sights, sounds and songs of the season in an all-new, fun and festive production.

"A Beef and Boards Christmas is Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre's holiday greeting to the city. It's an original production, carefully crafted to appeal to all ages. Although the show offers a little something different each year, it's important to us that we always make it an enjoyable experience for the entire family," says Patricia Rettig, public relations and media relations coordinator with Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis.

Everyone, from grandparents to the grandkids will enjoy the show and get caught up in the holiday spirit. The show includes a salute to the military and live Nativity.

"It's no surprise that A Beef & Boards Christmas has become a holiday tradition for hundreds of Local families. We look forward to seeing them return this year, as well as welcoming new families to this annual celebration," Rettig said.

Circle of Lights®

If at all possible, watch the lighting of the world's largest Christmas tree at least once. Bear the crowds and take in the holiday atmosphere of downtown Indianapolis. Fall in love with the city all over again and watch the children's faces as they reflect a rainbow reflection of downtown's joy.

"Downtown Indianapolis is a great destination for holiday fun and new memories. From the new Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum to the dazzling display of the Circle of Lights® presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481, there's something for everyone Downtown this holiday season," said Jennifer Hanson, communications director with Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.

Don't forget Indy's great traditions including Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at The Children's Museum, Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum, Christmas at the Lilly House at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and It's a Wonderful Life playing at the United Artists Circle Centre Theater.

This marks the 48th year for the Circle of Lights® presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481 on Monument Circle Friday, November 26. The free event features great local and national acts, including Sandi Patty, a visit from Santa and the beloved holiday décor: 52 garland strands with 4,784 color lights strung from the top of the Monument to its base, 26 larger-than-life toy soldiers and sailors along with 26 peppermint sticks surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

"It's a wonderful tradition shared with hundreds of thousands each year," said Hanson. The event begins at 6 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving with the televised show starting at 7 p.m.

Holiday world tour at the Historical Society

At the Indiana Historical Society, patrons will enjoy many free events with the price of admission. A great gift idea meets history on Saturday, December 4. The Holiday Author Fair is the largest book signing for Indiana-related material, featuring 75 Indiana authors. Books include works of fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, photography, history children's books and more.

"As Indiana's Storyteller™, connecting people to the past, we strive to encourage family traditions and the celebration of the diverse cultures that make up our community. And with events like Winterfest and the Indiana Experience, we provide affordable entertainment that encourages families to interact and share their own stories," says Jeanne Scheets, vice president of marketing with the Indiana Historical Society.

Las Posadas will take place on Sunday, December 12. In Mexico, Las Posadas is a beloved tradition that commemorates Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem. Join the Indiana Historical Society, Eiteljorg Museum, Christ Church Cathedral, the Consulate of Mexico in Indianapolis and other community groups to celebrate and enjoy interactive programs and a sing-along with Mexican holiday tradition.

Chase away the winter blues with free activities at Winterfest. Perfect for families, Winterfest takes over the History Center with winter-themed fun. Create a calendar with images from our collection, make a bookmark, explore your family tree or participate in a scavenger hunt. This is free with admission to the Indiana Historical Society from December 27 through 30.

Closer to home

"The 21st Annual Old World Christmas Village and Market at Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church started with a sense of bringing Christmas to people who hardly remember what it is anymore," said Mother Macaria, who's been a part of the event for the last 15 years.

The event embodies traditions from Scandinavian Santa Lucia. Santa Lucia is played by a young girl in the parish who carries buns and sings music, per Saint Lucy history.

"People come and wait for this part of the festival. It gets busier leading up to her [Santa Lucia] arrival. We serve food, as well as craft vendors and some vendors want to come back even if they don't sell a whole lot. We only have handmade crafts because people like to see homemade things," Mother Macaria said. "There is always live caroling and musicians, including child performers. Last year we had a synopsis of Dickens's Christmas Carole performed." The event takes place at the Joy of All Who Sorrow Orthodox Church downtown on December 3 through 4. Visit Mother Macaria, book store manager.

Winding Ridge Elementary School is hosting the second annual craft fair with a flare on December 4.

"We will have the Colts Super Bowl trophy to take photos with from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and they get a free souvenir. We will be collecting canned goods for Gleaners food bank and unwrapped toys for Riley's Children's Hospital. With each donations guests get a free raffle ticket," said Antoinette Welch, Parent Family Organization member and event coordinator.

Santa will be visiting 11 p.m. to 1 p.m. and Clifford will be there throughout the day.

"The event is designed to benefit the community at-large, as well as the school, especially programs related to the arts," Welch said.

Cookies for a Cause

Funds raised at the Greenwood United Methodist Church annual Cookie Walk are used for the church's charities in foreign countries.

"We rent table space to those interested in being a part of fundraising efforts, but as a rule we encourage our women to make bread, cookies, noodles," said Carol Hughes, event committee member. "We don't charge for people to come to our Cookie Walk, but do encourage them to be a part of the season of giving, especially to those serving the church around the world and for others in our neighborhood. As a church, we don't turn anyone away when they need food and raising funds through this event allows us to provide to those in need. We look forward to seeing new faces on December 4 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Last year we ran out of baked goods, so come early!"

Nikki Keever is a freelance writer living in Noblesville, Indiana with her husband and three children.

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