November 25, 2010

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Unwrap the holiday fun
Your guide to five weeks of Nutcracker, symphonies, craft fairs, cookies and more

For the next few weeks, there will be daily excitement. Productions of A Nutcracker, classes on how to make your own holiday gifts, concerts, special meals, parades, late-night shopping — and that doesn’t even begin to cover all the events that will fill the calendar from the time this paper hits the stands as you’re preparing for Thanksgiving until a little after Christmas when you’re making your New Year’s Eve plans. This year, find a new way to celebrate. Check out a comedy show or learn to make some new treats. Take the kids to a live theatrical performance or carve out time for a parade or a tour through an art gallery. The possibilities are seemingly endless for ways to follow old traditions and make new ones.

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. So get ready to unwrap some fun.

Forget Black Friday; check out Stroll Saturday
Nashua heads outside for the Winter Stroll
By Jeff Mucciarone

With an emphasis on mixing old and new performances, Nashua’s 17th annual Winter Holiday Stroll, which draws about 30,000 people each year, will be offering lots of holiday goodness.

“Nashua has such a pretty Main Street and it’s the perfect setting for an event like this,” said Sue Butler, executive director of Great American Downtown (www.downtownnashua.org). She added that the event is free. “Our downtown is very walkable and it’s filled with lots of family-owned businesses, so to have an event like this makes perfect sense.”

The Stroll, which area residents have long used as a way to reconnect with family and friends, runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27.

The evening begins with a procession from City Hall to Railroad Square, where the city’s Christmas tree is lit. Along with performances in more than 25 different venues, participants can choose from a plethora of vendors and take advantage of downtown Nashua’s shopping options and restaurants. Attendees can also participate in a silent auction. Costumed characters will be making their ways up and down Main Street.

Organizers in the past couple years have pushed to rotate some of the more than 50 acts that take place during the stroll.

“That way people are always seeing something different,” Butler said, adding there will always be a mix of old favorites and new attractions. Music acts include country, jazz, blues, rock and Celtic groups. There will also be choral groups, dance groups and magicians.

“There’s something for all ages,” Butler said. “That’s the intent. It’s supposed to attract people from babies to senior citizens.”

The event will also feature the festival of trees, which is a nine-day event where people can come downtown to view Christmas trees decorated by local residents and bid on them. Visit www.nashuafestivaloftrees.com.

Using a theme of “Rock the Stroll,” event organizers decided to focus more this year on drawing young professionals to the event’s beer garden.

“The beer garden is really an event within the event,” Butler said, adding the beer garden will feature entertainment all night long, plus door prizes and activities. Young professionals have been invited to kick off the event in a pre-party from 4 to 5 p.m. the day of the Stroll.

The beer garden can be especially appealing because downtown restaurants and bars can be packed the night of the Stroll, Butler said. People must be 21 or older to access the beer garden.

This year’s Stroll will include a new safety program where anyone officially associated with the event — from volunteers, food vendors, organizers or sponsors — will be wearing a shamrock pin to identify them as official participants.

The Stroll features a collection in front of Citizens Bank where strollers can drop off items, such as canned goods, disposable diapers or new, unwrapped toys, for local charitable organizations.

People can park at Holman Stadium or Rivier College and take free shuttle rides downtown.

Before turkey, have music, friends and cocktails
Where to party on Thanksgiving eve
By Michael Witthaus

While all the stores ready Black Friday sales, area watering holes are bracing for the biggest night of the year. As college kids come home for the feast, flash reunions are happening everywhere. Pick a designated driver and choose from nearly 50 area options for a pre-T-Day bash:
• 603 Lounge, 14 W. Hollis St. in Nashua, 821-5260, offers an open-mike night with Kevin Horan.
• Barley Pub, 328 Central Ave. in Dover, 742-4226, presents the quirky quartet When Geeks Unite.
• Black Brimmer, 1087 Elm St. in Manchester, 669-5523, has the Hit Men bringing their full band to Manch Vegas.
• Blue Mermaid Island Grill, the hill at Hanover and High streets in Portsmouth, 427-2583, rocks the regular open-mike hosted by Duke Mandell and Rob Cunningham.
• Cactus Jack’s, 1182 Union Ave. in Laconia, 528-7800, brings Eric Erkskine in to perform.
• Club 313, 93 S. Maple St. in Manchester, 628-6813, offers up DJ Biggie and karaoke with CJ to highlight the annual T-Day Eve Party.
• Derryfield Country Club, 625 Mammoth Road in Manchester, 623-2880, invites local favorites Mugsy to rock out.
• Dolphin Striker, 15 Bow St. in Portsmouth, 431-5222, welcomes area favorites Truffle for a no-cover show from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• Dover Brick House, 2 Orchard St. in Dover, 749-3838, presents rockers Wreck’d, and be sure to attend the T-Day Hangover party with Rustic Overtones on Friday, Nov. 26.
• Dugout Grille, 93 Main St. in Plaistow, 819-4947, parties with DJ Hizzy hosting.
• Electra Nightclub, 66 Benning St. in West Lebanon, 298-6600, offers the DJ Eric Dance Party for the club’s biggest night of the year. 18+ free before 10 p.m.; 21+ free all night.
• Element Lounge, 1055 Elm St. in Manchester, 627-2922, hosts Adult Bag Nite — and favorite perforomer Ginger is back.
• Fody’s Tavern, 9 Clinton St. in Nashua, 577-9015, brings in CMG w/ Papi to get the weekend started.
• Fury’s Publick House, 1 Washington St. in Dover, 617-3633, invites Paul Chase back to host an open-mike night.
• Green Martini, 6 Pleasant St. in Concord, 223-6672, presents Dusty and the Know in what’s become an annual tradition.
• Hermanos, 11 Hills Ave. in Concord, 224-5669, present the Paul Heckel & John Hunter duo.
• Holidays Bar and Grill, 346 Hooksett Road in Auburn, 483-0880, brings karaoke with Captain Chris.
• Jam Factory, 1211 Elm St. in Manchester, 203-1458, continues its excellent run of original music shows with a pre-Thanksgiving concert featuring East Is East, BluesBrats, Tom Flash & the Lightning Band and Drifting Son.
• Jillian’s Billiard Club, 50 Philippe Cote Drive, Manchester, 626-7636, reprises last year’s pre-T-Day party: Monkey Fist Incident plays early, followed by The Slakas.
• Johnny Bad’s, 542 Elm St., Manchester, 222-9191, presents an open mike hosted by David Thompson & Steven Devine.
• Johnny’s Pizzeria, 35 Lowell Road in Hudson, 880-7087, welcomes Point of Entry.
• J’s Tavern, 63 Union Square in Milford, 249-9222, presents Lisa Guyer from Mama Kicks, heard most recently singing with Godsmack’s Sully Erna on his debut album.
• Karma Cigar Bar, 1077 Elm St. in Manchester, 647-6653, is a relatively new player in the live music scene, and welcomes Dr. Harp’s Blues Trio for an evening that includes a full bar, winter cocktails and cigars.
• Kelley’s Row, 421 Central Ave. in Dover, 750-7081, welcomes the Tim Theriault Trio for a NBFTG Party — Tim also performed on Sully Erna’s Avalon.
• Mad Bob’s Saloon, 342 Lincoln St. in Manchester, 669-3049, presents owner Madeline’s “biggest pull” — the Bars featuring Kenny Gaudet.
• Makris, 354 Sheep Davis Road in Concord, 225-7665, welcomes the Dirt Road Band playing country rock.
• Murphy’s Taproom, 494 Elm St. in Manchester, 644-3535, invites Nimbus 9 to play rock, pop and top 40 favorites.
• Old Amsterdam Bar & Lounge, 8 Temple St. in Nashua, 204-5534, celebrates its first Thanksgiving with Well Strung playing a bash that includes a DJ at 9 p.m., prizes, giveaways and all kinds of specials.
• Pasta Loft, 241 Union Square in Milford, 672-2270, brings in Small Town Stranded to host a pre-T-Day party.
• Pasta Loft Brickhouse Tavern, 220 East Main St. in East Hampstead, 378-0092, presents Bill Bonnell singing and playing.
• Peddler’s Daughter, 48 Main St. in Nashua, 880-8686, welcomes favorites Third Stone.
• Press Room, 77 Daniel St. in Portsmouth, 431-5186, welcomes Sons of Ralph & Randalph.
• Red Door, 107 State St. in Portsmouth, 373-6827, hosts Red on Red with Evaredy.
• Rudi’s, 20 High St. in Portsmouth, 430-7834, brings in Dimitri to perform.
• Sausage King, 53 Main St. in Nashua, 204-5110, offers an open mike with John Borlaug.
• Shaskeen, 909 Elm St. in Manchester, 625-0246, presents Sandey Money.
• Sky Lounge, 522 Amherst St. in Nashua, 882-6026, presents DJ music with no cover.
• Slammers, 547 Donald St. in Bedford, 668-2120, welcomes Vehicle with classic rock.
• Stella Blu, 70 E. Pearl St. in Nashua, 578-5557, offers up Troy and Trainac in performance.
• Strange Brew Tavern, 88 Market St. in Manchester, 666-4292, continues its biweekly Peter Parcek habit, as he and his trio play blues, rock and other guitar-driven selections.
• Studio 99, 115 Main St., 3rd floor, in Nashua, 562–5179, hosts a blues jam.
• Tupelo Music Hall, 2 Young Road in Londonderry, 437-5100, has a locally flavored double bill of Charlie Christos and Rockspring.
• Village Square, 472 State St. in Hampstead, 329-6879, has Leaving Eden.
• Village Trestle, 25 Main St. in Goffstown, 497-8230, presents the Bruce Marshall Band, with no cover and free rides home.
• Whippersnappers, 44 Nashua Road # 13 in Londonderry, 434-2660, presents Souled Out Soul Band, with the bar’s owner on saxophone.
• Wild Rover, 21 Kosciuszko St. in Manchester, 669-7722, has a regular night Wednesday, but on Thanksgiving the pub presents its famous Irish breakfast buffet from 8 to 11 a.m. to benefit A.O.H. local charities.

Clara and Scrooge
Where to find live versions of the holiday favorites
By Adam Coughlin

Charles Dickens died in 1870, but his legacy still endures today. His holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is still performed by many theater companies around the state. The season got off to a rousing start when A Christmas Carol: The Musical Ghost Story debuted in Concord. Now deeper into the holiday season, things really pick up. For the second year in a row Dickens’ great-great-grandson Gerald Charles Dickens will perform in Nashua, while the Nebraska Theatre Caravan comes to Manchester. Not to be outdone, The Nutcracker will also be performed in several venues by different ballet companies, including one original rendition.

• Southern NH Dance Theater will perform The Nutcracker, based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffman and music by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, on Friday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 27, at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 28, at 1 and 4:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. The Nutcracker will also feature Jane Apple, Emily Apple and Mary-Margaret Sullivan, who are young dancers from Manchester. Nazzy of Nazzy & The JYY Wake Up Crew will perform in the Friday, Nov. 26 evening performance. WZID’s morning show host Mike Morin will return for his third year and will perform in the Saturday, Nov. 27, evening performance. Call 668-5588 or visit www.palacetheatre.org.
• Sean Hurley performs a one-man reinterpretation of A Christmas Carol Nov. 26 through Dec. 5 at The Players’ Ring, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. “This Scrooge is a virulent talk radio host named the Sledgehammer,” explained performer Sean Hurley. “He’s bitter, his audience hates him, and he’s suffering from a terrible ailment, but during his Christmas Eve broadcast he receives three life-altering phone calls, the phone calls that take him on a journey into his past, his future, and ultimately to the very troubled heart of his present.” The show includes 10 songs performed live. Call 436-8123 or visit www.playersring.org.
• Gerald Charles Dickens will perform a one-man show of his great-great-grandfather’s timeless classic, A Christmas Carol, on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza-Nashua, 2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua. During his performances, Dickens depicts 26 characters in A Christmas Carol with just a table, wing-back chair, and a hat rack accompanying him on stage. His stop in Nashua is part of a U.S. tour that will take him from Alabama to New Hampshire during November and December. There will be an evening cocktail reception and four-course dinner event at 6 p.m. Tickets to the performance cost $20 and tickets to the dinner event cost $75 each. Visit www.fortingage.com or call 882-3371.
• In a tradition going back a decade, the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, produces its staging of A Christmas Carol with a 15-minute town scene that is a medley of carols and dance performed by a cast of more than 50 actors. Shows are mostly on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Dec. 3 through Dec. 19. They also produce about eight school shows. Ticket costs range from $15 to $45. The $45 new “Golden Circle” tickets to Palace shows include the best seats and coat check. High school and college students can seek $15 rush tickets an hour before curtain. Call 668-5588 or visit palacetheatre.org. 
• A Christmas Carol, a classic for the entire family, will be performed Friday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Leddy Center, 38c Ladd’s Lane, Epping. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. There will be school shows on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m. The play is directed by Elaine Gatchell and stars Steve Koch as Scrooge and Henry Ferrell as Bob Cratchit. Tickets cost $18 and $16 depending on seating. No one under the age of 2 is allowed in the theater. Call 679-2781 or visit www.leddycenter.org.
• The Rep’s new holiday tradition is a music-filled charmer that will warm the heart and eliminate the humbugs. Adapted by Jon Kimbell from the Charles Dickens novella, A Christmas Carol will be performed Dec. 3 through Dec. 26 at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Show times are 2, 7 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost between $28 and $28. Visit www.seacoastrep.org or call 433-4472.
• For a “Currier and Ives portrait of Christmas,” the Nebraska Theatre Caravan stops again in New Hampshire this year with its production of A Christmas Carol featuring traditional English carols and costumes and sets to evoke that Victorian feel. See it at Saint Anselm College’s Dana Center, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 3:30 or 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $29.50 for adults, $25.50 for senior citizens and Saint Anselm College faculty, staff and alumni, $12.50 for New Hampshire college and university students and $6 for Saint Anselm students. Call 641-7700 or e-mail dana@anselm.edu.
• A Dickens of a Christmas will be performed on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Old Salt Restaurant, Lafayette Road, Hampton. The performance, which is written by George Hosker-Bouley, returns for its eighth year and includes a gourmet three-course dinner, live music, holiday carols and the show. In the play, Charles Dickens experiences writer’s block and wonders what gift he should give his children for the holiday. Eventually he settles on a story. Tickets cost $39.99 per person and include a three-course meal. Call 926-0330.
• The New Hampshire School of Ballet will perform The Nutcracker on Friday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord. The cast includes Dana Mazurowski as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Angela Berube as Clara and is directed by Jennifer Rienert. Tickets for the Concord performance cost $14 at Ballard’s Novelty and the Hooksett studio, 1271 Hooksett Road, Hooksett. Call 668-5330.
• The Peacock Players will perform their interpretation of A Christmas Carol Dec. 10 through Dec. 19 at the Nashua Court Street Theater, 14 Court St., Nashua. Performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. This play with music is an original adaptation by Peacock Players Artistic Director Keith Weirich and follows Scrooge through a strange and magical journey, where he ultimately discovers the true spirit of the holiday season. Judy Hayward is the musical director. Ticket prices range from $12 to $17. Visit www.peacockplayers.org or call 886-7000.
• A Victorian Christmas comes to life with song, costumes, readings and the spirit of Christmastide when the All Saints Anglican Church presents A Dickens Christmas Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord, 228-2793, www.concordcityauditorium.org. As a gift to the community, the performance is free and open to the public. Call 781-5695 or visit www.justlovetosing.com.
• Audiences of all ages will be captivated as New England Dance Ensemble presents the holiday favorite The Nutcracker. With a cast of 100 members, including American Ballet Theatre professional stars Jared Matthews and Yuriko Kajiya, this full-scale Nutcracker production brings professional-quality dance theater to southern New Hampshire. The Nutcracker will be performed on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. at Windham High School, 64 London Bridge Road, Windham. Tickets cost $20. Visit www.tix.com or call 1-800-595-4TIX.
• The tradition continues as Great Bay Academy of Dance presents An 1836 Portsmouth Nutcracker now in its 22nd season at The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. Performances are Thursday, Dec. 16, and Friday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m. The 10 a.m. performance is a special “Nutcracker in a Nutshell”, which is an abbreviated 1-hour show. his holiday classic comes alive with the blend of local history, period costuming, and dance making this production a local tradition and a must see for the entire family. In keeping with the holiday spirit, Great Bay Academy of Dance will donate 10 percent of all profits from this production to a local charity. Evening shows cost $18-$35, matinees cost $22.50-$39.50 and the Nutshell performance cost $23. Visit www.themusichall.org or call 436-2400.
• The family series of A Christmas Carol will be performed at the Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield St., Rochester, on Friday, Dec. 17, and Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. There will also be Arts & Education Series performances on Tuesday, Dec. 21, Wednesday, Dec. 22, and Thursday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. This Rochester Opera House Production is directed by Shay Willard with Seacoast favorites Rob Ross as the irascible Scrooge, Nash Tasker as Tiny Tim, Greg Bell as Bob Cratchit and Anthony Ejarque as the ghostly Jacob Marley. Nuances and moods of the play are enhanced by live music as Music Director Kathy Fink plays the clavinova, nestled in the orchestra pit. Tickets for the families series cost $16. Visit www.rochesteroperahouse.com or call 335-1992.
• St. Paul’s School Ballet Company’s annual production of The Nutcracker will be held Friday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2 & 7 p.m. in the Chubb Theater at the Capitol Center for the Arts. From the giant Christmas tree to the sword-wielding mice to the dancing snowflakes, The Nutcracker is a breathtaking vision from beginning to end, and a marvelous way to introduce children to the beautiful world of ballet theater. Tickets cost $16.50 for adults and $12.50 for students, seniors and members. Visit www.ccanh.com or call 225-1111.
• Clara’s Christmas Dream puts a different spin on the traditional classical ballet The Nutcracker. The show will be performed by the Northern Ballet Theatre Dance Center on Saturday, Dec. 18, & Sunday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Keefe Auditorium, 117 Elm St., Nashua. This original premier performance will showcase the young and talented dancers of NBT along with special guest artists from NBT’s professional company. Clara’s Christmas Dream begins on Christmas Eve at her parents’ party with lots of guests, festive dancing and a grandmother who will have you smiling. Of course Clara’s favorite uncle Drosseleymer arrives with many magical gifts. He presents to Clara a toy soldier doll, who is actually Drosselmeyer’s nephew. A spell has been placed on him by the wicked Mouse Queen. When the party guests have departed Uncle Drosselmeyer weaves his magic and brings the toy soldier to life. Reserve tickets cost $17 and VIP tickets cost $20. Call 889-8408.
• Ballet Misha, the resident dance company of the Dimensions in Dance school in Manchester, will perform The Nutcracker at The Dana Center, St. Anselm’s College, 100 St. Anselm Drive, Manchester, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m. This production will feature original choreography by artistic director, Amy Fortier, and two Broadway dancers as guest artists, who are also NH natives. Tickets cost $18 and are available at the door and by visiting Dimensions in Dance, 575 South Willow St., Manchester. Call 668-4196.
• Turning Pointe Center of Dance will present its 28th annual performance of the sweet holiday fantasy The Nutcracker directed by Lisa Drouin Goff on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord. Tickets cost $15. Call 485-8710.

Santa, nuns and a baby
More holiday theatrical productions
By Adam Coughlin

While A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker are the stars atop the holiday entertainment tree, they certainly aren’t the only shows in town. A Poet’s Christmas in Portsmouth takes an original interpretation of three holiday classics while local disc jockeys step out from behind their microphones onto the stage at the 9th annual WZID Christmas at the Palace. There are a variety of shows, spectaculars and parties that are sure to ring in the holiday cheer.
• Beasley’s Christmas Party will be performed Nov. 26 through Dec. 19 at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 132 Warren St., Lowell, Mass. Performances are at 2, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. Beasley’s Christmas Party was adapted by C.W. Munger from the story by Booth Tarkington. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Magnificent Ambersons comes this story of a curious journalist and his extremely eccentric next-door neighbor who is planning a most unusual Christmas party. Magically and imaginatively delivered, it is a distinctly American and spiritually uplifting holiday story for the whole family filled with humor, heart and hope. Tickets begin at $25. Visit www.merrimackrep.org or call 978-654-4MRT.
• Prepare for non-stop holiday entertainment as the Frisbie Follies meets the Rochester Show of Shows to become a new brand of skits, dance, song and merriment on Thursday, Dec. 2, Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. at the Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield St., Rochester. Community members show off their hidden talents and put their best feet forward for this fabulous fundraiser to benefit the Rochester Opera House. Both the Frisbie Follies and the Show of Shows were wildly popular in the area during the ’60s and ’70s. Tickets cost $20. Visit www.rochesteroperahouse.com.
• Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater of Manchester joins forces with Neptune Sushi Productions of Salem to perform Not Your Mom’s Sushi: A Rockin’ Christmas Spectacular. The shows will be held on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 9 p.m. at Milly’s Tavern, 500 Commercial St., Manchester, and Saturday, Dec. 18, beginning with a pre-show at 7 p.m. at The Jam Factory, 1211 Elm St., Manchester. The skits tell the story of Aaron Foss’s journey to the North Pole. Along the way he meets Rudolph, Santa, and Jesus Christ, but none are what you might expect. The comedic skits make this show appropriate for brave 18+ audiences only, but there’s much more than skits in this jam-packed evening. This production features professional and community performers joining forces for two good causes. Guests will include members of the Granite State Theatresports improv troupe including emcee Rich Hurley, Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater’s Title of Show cast, punk rock band The Furiosity, rock band The Tunafish Discrepancy and a variety of singers, actors and musicians from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Tickets cost $10. Visit www.notyourmomsmusicaltheater.com.
• Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical will be performed Friday, Dec. 3, Saturday, Dec. 4, Friday, Dec. 10, and Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, 281 Cartier St., Manchester. The musical is presented as the first TV special taped in the Cable Access Studio built by Reverend Mother in the convent basement. It stars the nuns you love, plus Father Virgil and four of Mount Saint Helen’s most talented students. It features all new songs including Twelve Days Prior to Christmas, Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House, We Three Kings of Orient Are Us and It’s Better to Give than to Receive. Ticket prices range from $12 to $18. Visit www.majestictheatre.net or call 669-7469.
• The Bedford Youth Performing Company presents the 14th annual performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m. at The Derryfield School, River Road, Manchester. Based on the 1972 award-winning book by Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is the story of a family of incorrigible children who discover the Christmas story and help everyone else rediscover its true meaning. Reserved seats cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and may be purchased at the door or by calling 472-3894. Group rates available on request. Visit www.bypc.org.
• Concord Dance Academy will perform its fifth annual Holiday Spectacular, a sparkling show of holiday music and dance that shares the spirit of the season with the Friendly Kitchen, Toys for Tots, and City Auditorium upgrades, on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1 and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord. Tickets cost $10 at the door. Call 226-0200.
• A Baby Changes Everything will be performed Thursday, Dec. 9, and Friday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Tri-City Christian Academy, 12 Rocky Hill Road, Somersworth. A Baby Changes Everything is a dramatic musical telling the story of three individuals in the tiny village of Bethlehem. Initially turning away from the promised Messiah, the trio almost sleeps through the first Christmas night — until they are awakened in time to experience the life-changing miracle in a manger. The performance, directed by Sharon Asher Arsenault and choreographed by Emily K, of Dance Envy in Somersworth, is free. Call 692-2093 or visit www.tcca-nh.com.
• The Pontine Theatre will perform A Poet’s Christmas Friday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m., at the Pontine Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth. Pontine’s co-directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews, offer original stage adaptations of three holiday classics, A Visit From St. Nicholas! by Clement C. Moore, Ogden Nash’s The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. Add some holiday songs by Portsmouth’s own Angelynne Hinson, plus a dash of cookies and eggnog, and you’ve got a performance sure to please the whole family. Tickets cost $24. Call 436-6660 or visit www.pontine.org.
• The Frost Heaves Players will perform a holiday show on Friday, Dec. 10, and Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Players, 55 Hadley Road, Peterborough. The show will spoof Yankee swaps, cookie exchanges, reusable wrapping paper, and assorted seasonal silliness. Santa Claus will undergo a review of his security clearance, English teacher Bertha Thompkins will present grammatically correct pop songs, and Fred Marple, unofficial spokesman for Frost Heaves and alter ego of Ken Sheldon, the show’s creator, will bring the news from Frost Heaves. Tickets cost $15. Visit www.frostheaves.com or call 525-3391.
• The Riverbend Youth Company of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley and the Milford Area Players will jointly produce a production of Miracle on 34th Street on Friday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts, 56 Mont Vernon St., Milford. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $8 for children and seniors. Visit Toadstool Bookshop in Milford www.svbgc.org.
• The Union Leader Annual Holiday Musical will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. The family show, which includes a visit from Santa and an opportunity for children to come on stage, features New England Tap Ensemble, Royal Palace Dance Studio, Manchester Community Music School, Miss NH 2009 and many other performers. All ticket sales go to the Union Leader Santa Fund for The Salvation Army. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $13 for children under 12. Visit www.palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.
• Join WZID’s Mike & Tracy for the 9th Annual WZID Christmas at the Palace on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. The show features the Velvet Elves, the amazing rock ’n’ roll orchestra straight from the North Pole, with special guest musicians, comedians and actors. The live radio show will benefit Make-A-Wish. Tickets cost $30 and $40. Visit www.palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.
• Hillcat Community Theatre will hold a Holiday Theater Camp for kids age 8 to 18 on Monday, Dec. 27, Tuesday, Dec. 28, and Wednesday, Dec. 29, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 30, 1-8 p.m. at Hillsboro-Deering High School, 12 Hillcat Drive, Hillsborough. The camp is built around a new musical being written by New Hampshire composer Will Ogmundson, about Benny Pierce, the son of President Franklin and First Lady Jane Pierce, who died in a train accident weeks before Pierce’s inauguration. The fee to join is $30. Visit www.hdsd.org.

Symphonies and pops
Classical holiday sounds
By Adam Coughlin

What would the holidays be without music? Once again Pops performances pop up in every corner of the state and there are many concerts including jazz and choirs. The Nashua Symphony Big Band will swing with Santa and a winter benefit concert will be held in Manchester. So sit back, relax and listen for the sounds of reindeer on rooftops.
• The New Hampshire Philharmonic will perform “Holiday Pops” Saturday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre, 5 Pinkerton St., Derry. Massed choruses from both Pinkerton Academy and Timberlane School will join the Philharmonic in the first half for choral selections from the Messiah and return in the second half for a medley of lighthearted Christmas pops songs. The Pinkerton Academy Chorale is being prepared for the concert by Thomas Quigley, with Melanie Whitney and Sandra Clarke. Small choirs from both schools will also perform a cappella selections in the lobby before the concert and at intermission. WMUR News’ Amy Coveno will host the concert. Ticket prices range from $15 to $50. Call 437-5210 or visit www.nhphil.org.
• Robert Dionne, artistic director at the Majestic Theatre, asks, “Have you been naughty or nice?” Dionne performs a holiday edition of his vocal cabaret and piano concert on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre, 281 Cartier St., Manchester. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Visit www.majestictheatre.net or call 669-7469.
• Cherish the Ladies, the first all-female traditional Irish band in the country, will perform A Celtic Christmas on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. Tickets cost $29.50 for adults, $25.50 for senior citizens, $12.50 for New Hampshire college and university students. Call 641-7700 or e-mail dana@anselm.edu.
• The Manchester Choral Society will perform A Christmas Tapestry on Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St., Manchester. They will also perform Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. at Hanaway Theatre, Silver Cultural Arts Center at Plymouth State University. The theme of the concert is “Grant Us Peace.” Dr. Daniel Perkins will conduct the singers. The Plymouth State University Chorale and Chamber Singers, along with choral singers from Manchester West High School, join the Choral Society and orchestra in a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Dona nobis pacem.” Traditional carols and other seasonal favorites round out the concert program. Call 472-6627 or visit www.mcsnh.org.
• “Sweet was the Song: Music and Dance in Honor of Christmas and the Winter Solstice from the Middle Ages and Renaissance” will be performed on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Mariposa Museum, 26 Main St., Peterborough. Performed by Lachrimae of Franklin Pierce University, under the direction of Paul Scharfenberger, the program will include English madrigals and carols, French chansons, German lieder and music from the Middle Ages. The songs and dances, performed in traditional costumes, will be accompanied by recorders and a harpsichord. There will be a wine and cheese reception from 6 to 7 p.m. with time to enjoy the exhibit of crèches from around the world and the ongoing gallery exhibit “Textiles of the Philippines.” The concert is free although donations are accepted. Call 924-4555.
• Saint Anselm Choir Concert, directed by Father Bede Camera, O.S.B., will perform “December Song” on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Abbey Church, Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester. The concert contains a service of readings and songs celebrating the Advent and Christmas seasons. Admission is free but come early — last year’s concert was standing room only. Call 641-7700 or e-mail dana@anselm.edu.
• Granite State Ringers, New Hampshire’s only community handbell choir, will perform a holiday concert on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 34 South Main St., Rochester. Led by musical director Joan Fossum, this concert will feature a variety of musical arrangements of familiar carols. As an additional treat, the First United Methodist Church’s junior bell choir will perform the Hallelujah Chorus alongside Granite State Ringers. The concert is free and open to the public. Visit www.granitestateringers.org.
• For the 23rd year, as many as 100 volunteers from 16 communities will perform selections of Handel’s “Messiah,” on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. at the Mont Vernon Congregational Church at the top of Route 13 on South Main Street in Mont Vernon. The chorus is under the direction of Jennifer Erdody, director of the Souhegan Valley Chorus and a music teacher at Milford High School. No tickets are sold; a free-will offering is taken at performances. This is a non-profit organization and businesses are invited to contribute, or to sponsor a musician for $100. Call 673-3510.
• The New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, which was established in 1998 and is a member of the Performing Arts Association, will perform “Holly Jolly Holiday” Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 121 Manchester St., Nashua; on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. at Derryfield School, 2108 River Road, Manchester; on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 79 Clinton St., Manchester; and on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 1035 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth. Visit www.nhgmc.com or call 1-866-644-6274.
• High Mowing School’s Sinfonietta will perform a Holiday Concert on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. at the Pine Hill Waldorf School Auditorium on Abbot Hill Road in Wilton. The community chamber orchestra, now in its sixth year, will be joined by Pine Hill Waldorf School’s middle school chorus to perform the opening Gloria of Vivaldi’s 12 movements of the same name and Mozart’s Ave Verum. The program will also include Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and Haydn’s Symphony no. 94. The concert is free but donations are appreciated. Visit www.highmowing.org.
• Holiday Vibrations: Sound Healing, a benefit concert for the NH Food Bank, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, at noon and 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 9 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua. This concert will demonstrate sound therapy and healing techniques, including crystal bowls, didgeridoos, flutes, drums, and gongs. Tickets cost $14. Call 912-5633.
• The Fourth Annual Chanukah at the Palace will be held on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. at the Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. Harmonia, a New York-based a cappella group, will light the menorah while chanting the traditional prayers and blessings and then entertain audiences with a concert of their trademark singing. Harmonia was created to provide a rich musical sound in the absence of musical instruments at traditional Shabbat Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Their collective experience includes singing in more than 10 countries and for various celebrities including The Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the United States. In addition, Circurious, a heart-stopping, mind-boggling display of artistry and athleticism, will perform. Tickets cost $50 for a VIP meet and greet, $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and children. Visit www.palacetheatre.org or call 668-5588.
• The Strafford Wind Symphony Concert will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield St., Rochester. Special guest narrator Cliff Blake returns for another captivating performance of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. Ticket prices range from $7 to $14. Call 335-1922 or visit www.rochesteroperahouse.com.
• In 1498, Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians from Innsbruck to Vienna. He gave specific instructions that there were to be six boys among his musicians. For want of a foundation charter, historians have settled on 1498 as the official foundation date of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The latest incarnation of the choir will hold a holiday celebration Friday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St. in Lowell, Mass. Bronze tickets cost $30.50, silver tickets cost $46.50 and gold tickets cost $56.50. Call 978-454-2299 or visit www.lowellauditorium.com.
• The 2nd annual Winter benefit concert will be held Friday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. in the third floor at UNH Manchester, 400 Commercial St., Manchester. The concert is hosted by UNH Manchester’s Milling Around, Manchester’s first a cappella group and its only collegiate a cappella group, and Classy Cats. Tickets cost $3 for students, senior citizens (60+) and military and $5 for other adults; children under 5 are admitted free. www.millingaround.org or e-mail tickets@millingaround.org.
• A Christmas Celtic Sojourn will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 and 7 p.m. at The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. This year’s performances will feature singers Robbie O’Connell of Clancy Brothers fame, along with ex-Cherish the Ladies singer Heidi Talbot with husband fiddler, John McCusker. Natalie Haas, the Julliard-trained and increasingly in-demand Celtic cellist, will join the group on stage as will Hanneke Cassel (violin), Eamonn Murray (percussion) and Sean Graham (guitar/accordion). Dancer Kieran Jordan will be joined by ex-Riverdance performers Nick Yensen, and from Ireland Caitlin nic Gabhann who is also a wonderful concertina player. Tickets cost $29 and $40. Visit www.themusichall.org or call 436-2400.
• The Granite State Symphony Orchestra will perform “Holiday Pops” on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 3 p.m. the Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord. Mezzo-soprano Tania Mandzy joins the orchestra on stage to perform “O Holy Night.” Maestro Robert Babb and a special guest conductor are sure to entertain and charm all who attend this festive celebration. Ticket prices range from $7 to $33. Visit www.gsso.org or call 226-4776.
• The Joyful Sounds of Christmas will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. in the Souhegan High School Auditorium, 412 Boston Post Road, Amherst. The 50-member chorus, directed by Jennifer K. Erdody and accompanied by Laura Kennedy, will perform traditional pieces, familiar carols, several new works, and a few surprises. Members of the Milford High School Concert Band, directed by Brad Smith, will join the chorus in several numbers including the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Tickets cost $15, $10 for seniors and students. Children age 12 and under attend free. Visit www.wolaver.org/SVC.
• The Tilton School will host the 23rd Annual G.F. Handel Messiah Sing on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. in the Fred A. Smart Chapel at the Tilton School, 30 School St., Tilton. Chamber singers from Plymouth State University will join Kyle Masterson, director of performing arts at Tilton School, a 12-person professional chamber orchestra and local high school students in singing this master work. The concert is free and open to the public. Call 286-1741.
• The St. Jude Parish adult choir will present the 10th Annual Lessons and Carols on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. at St. Jude Parish, 435 Mammoth Road, Londonderry. The concert will feature traditional and contemporary Advent music and readings from Sacred Scripture heralding the expectation of the birth of Jesus Christ. This spiritual musical event is an opportunity to slow down from the busyness of the season and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. The concert is free and open to the public. Call 432-3333.
• The Manchester Community Music School will perform Holiday Jazz on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 12:10-12:50 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church, 106 Lowell St., Manchester. Joseph Deleault will play the piano, Jared Steer will perform percussion and Machael Rossi will play upright bass. The concert is free and open to the public. It is part of the school’s Music’s on the Menu concert series. Listeners are invited to bring bag lunches. Call 644-4548 or visit www.mcmusicschool.org.
• Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart will perform a holiday concert on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester. This holiday concert is best known for its rousing sing-alongs and touching renditions of great Christmas classics. Tickets cost $41, $56 and $66. Visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.
• Nashua Symphony Big Band and Chorus will perform Sing & Swing with Santa! on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2:30 p.m. at the Nashua Country Club, 25 Fairway St., Nashua. Conductor Diane Cushing and the Nashua Symphony Chorus will perform traditional Christmas carols. Then, at 7:30 p.m., the NSO Big Band under Jonathan McPhee will heat things up with a swinging set of holiday dance hits. Singing and dancing along is encouraged. Visit www.nashuasymphony.org.
• The Rock My Soul gospel holiday concert will be held Sunday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 28 Cataract Ave., Dover. Tickets in advance cost $12, $10 for seniors 65 and older. All tickets at the door cost $15. Visit www.rootsgospel.org or call 207-450-8016.
• Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart will perform a holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 2:30 p.m. at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass. Tickets cost $40, $60, $80 and $126. Call 978-454-2299 or visit www.lowellauditorium.com.
• The New England Wind Symphony, directed by Clayton Poole, and the Concord Chorale, directed by Kristofer Johnson, will perform the Merrimack Holiday Pops on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. in the Chubb Theater at the Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main St., Concord. Highlights of the show are a world premier performance of composer Jerry Ascione’s newest work of Scottish holiday airs and an inspirational performance of the Hallelujah Chorus. Admission is free and open to the public. Donations will benefit the Capitol Center for the Arts in honor of its 15th anniversary season. Visit www.ccanh.com or call 225-1111.
• Bring your own score and ring in the holidays with friends and family at the Seacoast’s largest Messiah Sing, pulling together best-loved area choruses and conductors. The concert will be held Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. A guest soloist and string accompaniment further enhance this Music Hall tradition. Tickets cost $14. Visit www.themusichall.org or call 436-2400.

Songs and laughs
More sounds of the season
By Angel Roy

This year, holiday-themed music events come in more than just the classical variety. Here are a few events to add some extra kick to your holiday — including two comedy shows.

Music
• Milly’s Tavern, 500 North Commercial St., Manchester, 625-4444, www.millystavern.com, will host Not Your Mom’s Sushi: A Rockin’ Christmas Spectacular on Thursday, Dec. 2. The 18+ explicit show will feature the members of Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater, the Granite State Theatresports improvisation troupe and music by The Furosity. Special guests will include Aaron Foss and Vicky Hogan. There will be a $10 cover charge at the door. Proceeds will benefit Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater and Neptune Sushi Productions.
• Christmas Celtic Sojourn, with National Public Radio Celtic Sojourn host Brian O’Donovan, will add some international flair to your holiday season on stage at The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, with shows on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 2 and 7 p.m. In its seventh year, the Christmas concert will explore traditional and contemporary music from the Celtic countries and England. This year’s performance will feature Robbie O’Connell of The Clancy Brothers and Heidi Talbot, formerly of Cherish the Ladies. The show will also feature dancing by Kieran Jordan, former Riverdance performer Nick Yensen and Caitlin nic Gabhann and the championship dancers from the Harney Academy of Irish Dance in Walpole, Mass. Tickets cost $29 and $40 and may be purchased at www.themusichall.org or by calling 436-2400.
• Celebrate the holiday season with the a cappella tunes of Rockapella, the five-member former house band of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?. The group will add a funky twist to classic holiday songs at The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St., Keene, on Friday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25, $35 and $39 and can be purchased at the box office or by calling 352-2033.
• Singer-songwriter Tenley Westbrook will host Christmas for the Troops, a live Christmas concert and global webcast, at First United Methodist Church, 129 Miller Ave., Portsmouth, 436-0638, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 1 p.m. The show will feature Christmas and patriotic music by Westbrook, John Paul, Daniel King and Leslie Loomis as well as holiday video greetings by military personnel to and from their families. Members of the military, their families and the public are invited to the free event and donations will be accepted at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Freedom Song Foundation, which supports members of the military and their families. Concert-goers can pre-register for the show at www.tenleywestbrook.com The show can also be viewed at www.tenleywestbrook.com.
• Grammy Award-winner Ed Gerhard will pluck out a few holiday tunes during his 28th annual Christmas guitar concert series on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 292 State St., Portsmouth, 436-4762. Gerhard will perform soulful arrangements of classic carols as well as his original songs. Guests who bring a non-perishable item to benefit the Seacoast Family Food Pantry will receive a $1 discount on Gerhard’s CDs at the show. Tickets cost $24 in advance, $26 at the door. Tickets may be purchased by calling 664-7400 or at www.edgerhard.com. A portion of the show’s proceeds will benefit Act One, the Artists’ Collaborative Theatre of New England.
• Get your holiday rockin’ with some gospel at the Rock My Soul Choir & Band holiday concert at St. John’s Methodist Church, 28 Cataract Ave., Dover, 742-3046, on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for seniors in advance, $15 at the door.

Comedy
• For some extra holiday cheer, check out A Very Ida Christmas at The Middle Arts & Entertainment Center, 316 Central St., Franklin, on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Humorist Susan Poulin takes on the role of Ida, a Christmas-loving woman with the inside scoop on a not-so-secret Santa plan and the dos and don’ts of holiday decorating. Tickets cost $13.50 and $15 and can be purchased at http://themiddlenh.org.
• Comic Juston McKinney is back in New England and will perform A Merry Funny New England Christmas on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth. His new one hour Comedy Special A Middleclass Holewill be released this fall on Warner Brothers DVD/CD. The show is recommended for ages 14 and up. Tickets cost $28 and $40. Visit www.themusichall.org or call 436-2400.

Gallery giving
Shop for gifts and yourself at these art events
By Adam Coughlin

In the spirit of the season, which encourages a sense of community, many artists will be hosting joint shows and open houses. Such shows can be found in Nashua, Contoocook and Milford. These shows are a great place to look for a last-minute gift that has real meaning. For those who enjoy the religious aspect of Christmas, the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center will have an exhibit of works of devotion. There is really a little something for everybody.
• The Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord, will hold a Holiday Open House through Dec. 24. “Artful Giving,” as it is called, will have special savings on selected items. Hours for the open house are Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. Call 226-2046.
• Sharon Arts will host its Annual Holiday Miniatures Show, with hundreds of miniature and small works of art to choose from, ranging from traditional to contemporary, and including many different media. These works are available for viewing and for purchase through Dec. 31 at Sharon Arts Juried Members Gallery in Depot Square in downtown Peterborough. Call 924-2787 or visit www.sharonarts.org.
• Walk Before You Stroll will be held on Saturday, Nov. 27, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Picker Building in Nashua’s Millyard District, 99 Factory Street Extension behind Clocktower place and on the bank of the Nashua River. The public is invited to visit the open studios before attending the evening Holiday Stroll downtown. The artists will be offering their work for sale and conducting demonstrations. The creative media on display include paintings, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, etchings, pottery, sculpture, fine art photography, mixed media collage, portraits and much more. Call 579-0777.
• The artists and artisans at the Brush Gallery & Studio, 256 Market St., Lowell, Mass., will hold a Holiday Marketplace Nov. 27 through Dec. 31. The hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Great gift and home items including ceramics, stained glass, paintings, prints, photographs, jewelry, woven scarves, capes, sculpture and mosaics will be available. Consider gift certificates for classes in stained glass, weaving, pottery, jewelry making, pastel painting, collage or papermaking as unique gifts for those creative people in your life. Call 978-459-7819 or visit www.thebrush.org.
• A Holiday Open House will be held Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at East Colony Fine Art, 55 South Commercial St., Manchester. Also at that time, visitors can meet the December artists of the month, Doreen Boissonneault and Dawn Sanel. Their show “Other Places” will be on exhibit Nov. 30 through Dec. 23. Call 621-7400 or visit www.eastcolony.com.
• A multi-artist exhibit of Holiday Fine Art will be on display Dec. 1 through Dec. 30 at the New Hampshire Art Association, 136 State St., Portsmouth. There will be a reception on Friday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. Call 431-4230 or visit www.nhartassociation.org.
• The Contoocook Artists Holiday Craft Fair will be held on Friday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall, 354 Main St., Hopkinton. Formerly known as Handmade Holidays, this sale of handmade crafts from approximately 25 local artists will take place at the old train depot in the center of Contoocook. Find sewn and knit fabrics, jewelry, glassware, pottery, baskets, iron work, pen & ink drawings, syrup and much more. Most of the Contoocook Artisan members live in town. Admission is free. Visit www.starrystarryweekend.
• Eight Artists: Three Studios in Exeter will be holdings its fifth annual holiday art open house on Friday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Front, Union & Water streets in Exeter. Look for Lily Designs one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry; Nick Dawson drawings and constructions; Lori Martone pottery; Sandy Wood hand-painted wine glasses; Rose Bryant original paintings (large and tiny); Terry Braun copper and bronze vessels with patina; Ben Phillips ceramics, and Deb McLarnon photography. Admission is free. Call 772-9369 or visit www.8artists3studiosopenhouse.blogspot.com.
• A Holiday Open House will be held Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the New Hampshire Antique Co-op, 323 Elm St. (Route 101A) in Milford. The shop has been beautifully decorated and a vintage Santa’s workshop is on display, along with an enchanting “Letters to Santa” area where children can write and then mail their letters to Santa. Call 673-8499 or visit www.nhantiquecoop.com.
• Robert Morin Fine Art, 17 Kermit St., Goffstown, will hold a Holiday Open Studio on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artwork has been priced with some substantial savings for the holiday season. Call 315-0990 or visit www.richardmorinfineart.com.
• Works of Faith and Devotion from the permanent collection run through Dec. 9 at the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester. There will be an in-depth discussion by Fr. Iain MacLellan on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. Fr. MacLellan received his M.F.A. in Painting in 1997 from the Graduate School of Figurative Art at the New York Academy. In 1994 and 1995 Fr. Iain studied at the Art Students’ League and at the National Academy of Design in New York. He has also studied at Tufts University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and at Richmond College and Fortman Studios in Florence, Italy. Call 641-7470 or visit www.anselm.edu/chapelart.
• Holiday Open Studios will be held Saturdays, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, and Sundays, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, from noon to 5 p.m. at Western Avenue Studios, 122 Western Ave., Lowell, Mass. Visit the studios of more than 120 working artists. See demonstrations, talk to the artists and purchase art for holiday gifts. Call 978-349-8060.
• A multi-artist show titled “Holiday Arts Market at the Mills” will be held on Sunday, Dec. 19, from noon to 6 p.m. at Waumbec Mill, 250 Commerical St., Suites 2003B and 2008, Manchester. The market is being hosted by Wiley Hill Mudworks & Monte Verde Art Glass Studios. Other participating artists include Lisa Demio of RedStaggerwing Design, Teresa Harris Designs, Kokor Designs by Rachel Kohn and more. Visit www.teresaharrisdesigns.com.

DIY gifts and relaxation
Classes to help you get through the holidays
By Tori Loubier

Holidays = family. Family = stress. Sometimes you just need a break. For relieving stress, either directly or by helping you cross some things off your to-do list, these activities are sure to help.
• Get holiday-creative and attend the greensgathering and holiday wreathmaking workshop at Brown Lane Barn in Hollis on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Walk to gather greens in the forest, including mountain laurel, white pine and eastern hemlock plus winterberries for trim. Then make a holiday wreath. No experience necessary. Dress for the weather and bring some hand pruners. Wreath rings and wires provided. Fee is $22. Call 465-7787 to preregister.
• Don’t worry about chapped lips this winter. Make your own cold-weather remedy with all-natural ingredients at Maple Hill Farm Spear Room, Hollis, Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Bring home the recipe and the know-how to make more on your own. Cost is $12. Call 465-7787 to register.
• Take the whole crew to family wreathmaking and natural creations at The Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester on Friday, Dec. 3, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon. All-natural materials will be used, including a grapevine base, various greens, berries and pine cones. Extra materials will be on hand so participants can create other fun decorations. Cost is $5 per family. Advance registration with payment is required. Call 626-3474 or visit www.amoskeagfishways.org
• Can’t find the present you want to give that special someone? Go to the gift-making workshop at Prescott Farm in Laconia on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and create old-fashioned herbal Christmas gifts. All proceeds benefit the NOFA-NH Herbal Network. Registration required. Cost is $40. Visit www.nofanh.org/herbalgifts.
• Cultivate calmness at Freeing the Mind, Resting the Heart at NH Audubon’s McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Experience the source of ever-present balance, joy and wisdom, within yourself. White Mountain Sangha will hold this all-day retreat, offering meditation, teacher talks and dialogue within the space of shared silence. Register online at http://whitemountainsangha.org/news.html; cost ranges from $35 to $65. Call 759-4290 to learn more.
• Work some yoga into your schedule at St. Joseph Hospital, 172 Kinsley St., Nashua. Valerie Forde-Galvin, M.A.C.P., will lead a class Wednesdays through Dec. 8, 7-8 p.m.; Fridays through Dec. 10, 5-6 p.m.; Saturdays through Dec. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Class cost is $50. Pre-registration is required: call Community Health Education at 595.3168 or visit www.stjosephhospital.com
• Wind down at Ladies Night Out at The Holistic Self Care Center, 12 Murphy Drive, Nashua, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 8 p.m. The event includes a massage, a chocolate tasting, wine, shopping and more. Call 883-1490 to sign up.
• Try Oneness blessing at the Holistic Self Care Center, 12 Murphy Drive, Nashua, on Sunday, Dec. 12, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Share in a group meditation, quiet the constant chatter of the mind, attain higher states of awareness. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. A $7 donation is requested. Call 883-1490 to sign up or visit www.thehsccenter.com.

Delicious days
Where to enjoy some holiday eats
By Angel Roy

Not all the tasty treats this holiday have to be made by you. Looking to get some Christmas flavors without having to dirty the kitchen? Here are some places to check out.
• Kellerhaus on Route 3 between Meredith and Weirs Beach is holding its annual Cookies and Milk with Santa event on Friday, Nov. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. The event will feature handmade chocolate samples, balloons with Mo the Balloon Buffoon, a raffle and a chance to get pictures with kids visiting Santa. Call 366-4466 or go to www.kellerhaus.com.
• Church of Our Savior, 10 Amherst St. in Milford, will hold a Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring a cookie shop (with homemade holiday cookies by the pound), a country store with cheeses, chocolate Christmas trees, homemade breads, preserves, a decorate-your-own gingerbread cookies for kids and a lunch of soup, sandwiches and desserts. The church will be selling its new cookbook.
• Vintner Renate Wallem and chef instructor Oonagh Williams will host a Holiday Wine & Dine at Vintner’s Cellar Winery, 410 South River Road, Route 3, Suite 7, Bedford, 627-9463, www.vintnerscellarnh.com, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature wines paired with goat cheese and mascarpone terrine with basil and sundried tomato pesto served with crackers, creamy mushroom soup, crepes filled with shrimp, cucumbers, crème fraiche and herbs, beef braccoile and candy cane peppermint cheesecake. The cost is $55 per person. A $20 deposit is required.
• Chefs from the Celery Stick Café at the Concord Cooperative Market, 24 South Main St., Concord, 225-6840, www.concordfoodcoop.com, will prepare gourmet chocolate-inspired dishes and desserts at the store’s Champagne & Chocolate event on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. The evening will also feature offerings from local and international chocolatiers, champagne and sparkling wine vendors and live music. The cost is $20.
• Add some sparkle to your holiday by attending the sparking wine tasting & food pairing at Zorvino Vineyards, 226 Main St., Sandown, 887-8463, www.zorvino.com, on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The event will feature three appetizer courses paired with six sparkling wines including Cava, Asti and Prosecco. The cocktail and cheese hour will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the wine and food pairing at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32. Call 887-8463 for reservations or visit www.zorvino.com.
• On Saturdays, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18, enjoy a Holiday Mother and Daughter Tea at the Bedford Village Inn, 2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford, 472-2001, www.bedfordvillageinn.com. In the Great Hall under the sparkle of inverted holiday trees, nibble on fanciful treats and delicate finger sandwiches and enjoy “entertainment that will encourage girlish giggles and a knowing wink to the sisterhood,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Early reservations are strongly recommended. Cost is $29 per person.
• The Currier and Ives Cookie Tour will guide guests to 17 sweet stops in Fitzwilliam, Jaffrey, Rindge, Troy, Marlborough, Peterborough and Swanzey on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. At each stop, guests will be able to take in the Christmas decorations of local businesses, enjoy homemade treats and take home the recipes. Tickets cost $10 and are available in advance on the day of the event at Benjamin Prescott Inn, The Monadnock Inn and The Grandview Inn & Resort in Jaffrey, Woodbound Inn in Rindge, The Inn at East Hill Farm, The Troy Historical Society and Baile McBreen’s Gift Shop in Troy, The Historic Fitzwilliam Inn and The Fitzwilliam Historical Society in Fitzwilliam, Baudelaire Soaps, Inn of the Tartan Fox and The Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House in Swanzey, Paper & Roses, Anytime Apparel and Little River Bed and Breakfast in Peterborough and Unbridled Chocolates and Muse Gifts & Books in Marlborough. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 100 Nights Shelter in Keene.
• Waterville Valley will be turned into a winter wonderland for Cookies & Snow: A Taste of the Holidays on Saturday, Dec. 11, at noon. The festivities will include a coffee tasting, candy cottage workshop, holiday ice-skating party, a book reading for children by Santa, balloon creations and ornament-making. Guests will be able to sample cookies at the Town Square Shops, 6 Village Road, Waterville, 236-8175, and vote for their favorites.
• Celebrate Sugar and Spice Weekend at the Brush Gallery & Artists Studio, 256 Market St., Lowell, Mass., 978-459-7819, www.thebrush.org, with the studio’s third annual cookie competition on Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests will be able to sample cookies made by Brush artists and board members and cast their vote for their favorite treat.
• Families are invited to have breakfast with Santa at the Slusser Senior Center, 41 Houston Drive, Contoocook, 746-2915, on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 8 to 11 a.m. Guests will dine on eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast, muffins and hash browns while visiting with Saint Nick and participating in craft activities. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children. All proceeds will be donated to Operation Christmas.
• Willing to trade your chocolate chip cookies for a few shortbreads and pick up a few new recipes? Concord Cooperative Market, 24 South Main St., Concord, 225-6840, www.concordfoodcoop.com, will host a cookie swap on Monday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. Guests are asked to bring 24 of their favorite cookies and a container as well as recipes to the event, where they can mix and match cookies to take home. There will be a tag station and light holiday refreshments. The event is free and open to the public.
• Santa will also be visiting the N-Step Dance Team breakfast at Applebee’s, 1273 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 432-7450, on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 8 to 10 a.m. Proceeds from the breakfast with Santa will support the dance team’s trip to the national competition. Tickets cost $5 at the door.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Concord shops late at Midnight Merriment
By Jeff Mucciarone

Jessica Eshleman recalls that while she ate lunch in a Concord eatery she overheard a woman asking a waitress when Midnight Merriment was — the woman wanted to book a dinner reservation for that night. That was in October.

“It’s become such a tradition for Concord,” said Eshleman, who is the executive director of Main Street Concord, which puts on Midnight Merriment.

“This is the quintessential New England holiday event,” Eshleman added. “There’s great food, great music, great decorations and great people awaiting you.”

Santa Claus, an enchanted forest, ice sculptures, hot cocoa and plenty of shopping will once again highlight Concord’s annual Midnight Merriment, which will see its festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. Many businesses stay open right up to midnight.

“We look to strike a balance between activities and shopping,” Eshleman said, adding downtown retailers often offer hot cider, cocoa, wine and appetizers. Retailers also typically offer deals and discounts. “It is really a very festive atmosphere.”

The city has hosted Midnight Merriment for nearly 20 years. It’s Concord’s official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, Eshleman said. The city shuts down traffic from Storrs Street to Storrs Street during the event, which is sponsored this year by Northway Bank and Zoe & Company.

“There’s a progression of activities for consumers to enjoy,” Eshleman said.

Last year ice sculptors offered their rendering of the former Concord train station. This year, sculptors will create a variety of winter scenes, including depictions of hockey and skiing. The hockey sculpture is particularly notable as the city will host the Black Ice Pond Hockey Tournament in about a month in honor of the first hockey game played in North America, which took place in Concord.

There will be visits with Santa and his elves. Kids can get their pictures taken with Santa by Concord Camera. There will also once again be a letter box downtown for kids to submit their Christmas wishes. The box will be set up downtown right through Christmas Eve. There will also be choral groups singing throughout the evening, along with a bell ringer and a live band.

The enchanted forest will have as many as 20 Christmas trees set up in the middle of the street for people to walk through.

“It just adds another layer of festiveness,” Eshleman said.

The folks from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will be setting up shop again this year for some stargazing during the event. Stargazing was particularly popular last year, Eshleman said.

Visit www.mainstreetconcord.com.

Santa in a fire truck
Manchester celebrates with its annual parade
By Jeff Mucciarone

Complete with a Star Wars vehicle and the return of a Manchester high school marching band, the Manchester Spirit of the Season Christmas Parade is back and bigger and better than ever.

“This is the biggest Christmas parade in the state and continues to be successful at bringing the community together to collectively celebrate the holiday season,” said Samantha DePrima, director of marketing and public relations for Intown Manchester, which organizes the parade. “It’s always a bit magical to see it all come together, to watch participants make their way down Elm Street with some soft snow falling on the lit pavement and the smiles on the faces of those who come here to catch some holiday spirit.”

DePrima said Intown has seen substantial growth in the parade during the past five years — participation has nearly doubled. The ultimate goal is to turn the parade into the Spirit of New Hampshire Christmas Parade.

“Intown Manchester is proud to organize holiday events in downtown Manchester,” DePrima said. “These community celebrations are a highlight of the holiday season in the Queen City and add to the vibrancy of the downtown area.”

Intown Manchester is this year working with local marketing firm wedü and the office of Mayor Ted Gatsas to program the downtown area with festive holiday events with a goal of making downtown a destination this holiday season, DePrima said.

With Fairpoint Communications the lead sponsor and with a theme of “A Storybook Christmas,” the parade will take place Saturday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. on Elm Street in Manchester’s downtown. DePrima thanked Fairpoint and the rest of the sponsors for continuing to support the event. There will be more than 20 new entries to the parade this year and more floats than ever. DePrima said, adding 501st New England Garrison, which is part of a nationwide Star Wars costuming fan club, will steer a self-propelled landspeeder vehicle from the Star Wars movies.

“We are really excited to see the inspiration from this theme come to life on parade day,” DePrima said. “We’re expecting to see both traditional and unconventional entries based on this theme.”

ROCK 101 will once again MC the parade from the viewing stage outside 1000 Elm St. The giant Rudolph balloon will be back this year, and new participants, such as the New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the New Hampshire Moxie Congress, will take to the streets.

The parade used to end at the intersection of Central and Elm streets. It will now end at the intersections of Merrimack and West Merrimack streets, where Gatsas will host a ceremony to light the city’s official Christmas tree at Stanton Plaza, outside the Radisson Hotel.

This year the parade will support Families in Transition and in addition to promoting Families in Transition’s FITWish Program, Intown is selling Friends of F.I.T. stick-ups for $1 at the Intown office at 1000 Elm St. All proceeds go to Families in Transition. Visit www.fitnh.org. The Manchester Fire Department will hold its annual boot drive, collecting donations in their fire boots for the Union Leader Santa Fund.

Quiet, we’re reading
Books go with Christmas like milk goes with cookies
By Lisa Parsons

Are you one of those people who’d prefer to spend the holidays with their nose in a book? Or are you shopping for one of those people? Or maybe you are simply seeking some holiday-themed inspiration in the printed word. Local bookstores have a few events worth noting. And don’t forget to ask about signed copies of books whose authors have recently visited.

• Local author Bodhipaksa talks about cultivating appreciation, thankfulness and a sense of purpose as described in his book Living as a River on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, www.riverrunbookstore.com.
• Rebecca Upjohn reads from her novel The Last Loon, for ages 8-11, on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 2 p.m. at the Toadstool Bookshop at 2 Colony Mill Marketplace, 2 West St., Keene, 352-8815, toadbooks.com. It’s the story of a boy who spends Christmas in the wilderness with his aunt and takes on the challenge of rescuing a wild loon.
• Water Street Bookstore, 125 Water St., Exeter, 778-9731, waterstreetbooks.com, will be open during Exeter’s Festival of Trees and Holiday Open House on Thursday, Dec. 2. Santa arrives at the town bandstand at 5 p.m.; there will be wagon rides, caroling, and many stores open to provide refreshments and entertainment.
• Fiction writer John Richard Thompson will be signing copies of The Christmas Mink: And Other December Tales from the North Woods on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Manchester.
• John Richard Thompson (The Christmas Mink and Other December Tales from the North Woods) and Willem Lange and Bert Dodson (Favor Johnson) plus costumed carolers will ring in the holidays on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. at Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 South Main St., Concord, gibsonsbookstore.com.
• Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord will hold its Toys for Tots Book Night on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. Buy a book for Toys for Tots at 20 percent off and get one for a child in your life for 20 percent off.

Need a little Christmas?
Holiday-themed fun for the kids
By Tori Loubier

For kids, the winter holiday season is all about presents and the big guy. So here’s a list to give them exactly what they want.

• North Conway brings the popular book and movie The Polar Express to life with Santa’s Holiday Express at the Conway Scenic Railroad, 38 Norcross Circle, North Conway, Friday, Nov. 26, Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28, Saturday, Dec. 4, Sunday, Dec. 5, Saturday, Dec. 11, Sunday, Dec. 12, Saturday, Dec. 18, and Sunday, Dec. 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Ride the train as Santa Claus visits with each child on board and presents each with a special treat. Call 356-5251 or e-mail info@conwayscenic.com.
• There’s plenty of time to attend Santa’s Big Party at Charmingfare Farm, 774 High St., Candia. The party will be held Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28, Saturday, Dec. 4, Sunday, Dec. 5, Saturday, Dec. 11, Sunday, Dec. 12, Saturday, Dec. 18, and Sunday, Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To get to the party you must first take a 30-minute horse-drawn ride through the Christmas trail to the secret party location. Santa himself will be spinning your favorite tunes and visiting with everyone. An assortment of holiday performers and costumed characters will be on hand to mix and mingle. Call 486-5623 or go to www.visitthefarm.com.
• Children ages 2-10 are invited to join for holiday stories, a craft, and a puppet show at Holiday Storytime & Craft in the children’s room at the Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St., Nashua, on Thursdays, Dec. 2 & 9, from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
• The American Independence Museum, One Governors Lane, Exeter, is offering A Child’s Christmas. This event gives kids ages 6 to 11 the chance to celebrate the holiday season with their favorite American Girl and her doll. Make crafts, listen to stories, play games, decorate cookies and the Folsom family’s tree, and end with caroling and tasty treats. The event will be on Saturday, Dec. 4, seatings at 10 or 11 a.m. and 1 or 2 p.m.; each session lasts approximately two hours. Dolls of any age are welcome. $20 per person. A paying adult must accompany child. Reservations are necessary. See www.americanindependencemuseum.org.
• The Town of Weare will hold its annual Christmas Party on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Weare Town Hall, John Stark Highway, Route 114. This free event will include a puppeteer, a story reading, music, refreshments, crafts for children, a visit from Santa, and caroling during the tree lighting. Bring a non-perishable food item for the Weare food pantry. Call 529-4520 or visit www.WeareHistoricalSociety.org.
• Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate the holidays? Find out at Holidays around the World at the Manchester City Library, 405 Pine St., Manchester, Tuesday, Dec. 7, or Tuesday, Dec. 14, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Winchell Room. Children in grades 3-6 are invited to join. Refreshments will be served. Registration is required. Contact Karyn Isleb at 624-6550 x 335 or e-mail kisleb@manchesternh.gov.
• Kids can take their picture with Santa at the bandshell in Greeley Park in Nashua for Santa Day, Saturday, Dec. 11, from noon to 2 p.m. Bring your own camera. This event is free and open to the public.
• See Santa Live! at the Londonderry Access Center, 281 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. Kids can tell Santa what they want for Christmas live on TV. Parents can take pictures of their children with Santa for free. Santa will give out gifts and refreshments will be served. Call 432-1147 or e-mail ebarry@londonderrynh.org.
• Ring in the new year at the Manchester City Library, 405 Pine St., Manchester, for a New Year’s Eve Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 30, at 11:30 a.m. At the stroke of noon, guests will celebrate with stories, crafts and confetti. For ages 1-7. Call Karyn at 624-6550 ext. 335.

Ongoing
• Santa Claus at the Pheasant Lane Mall Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Santa’s Village will be stationed in the Four Season’s Court. Picture packages with Santa start at $24.99. See simon.com.
• Santa Claus at the Mall of New Hampshire Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Santa’s General Store will be located in Center Court. Picture packages with Santa start at $24.99. See simon.com.

Making spirits bright
More places to head for seasonal excitement
By Tori Loubier

It’s getting colder, but there are plenty of activities to get out of the house. Here are some events the whole family can enjoy.

• The Fez-tival of Trees finishes its run at the Bektash Shriners Center, 189 Pembroke Road in Concord, open daily through Saturday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving). See 100 fully decorated Christmas trees. The event will include a silent auction, children’s games, crafts and a gift shop, refreshments and more. Call 225-5372.
• Nashua will hold a Festival of Trees at 94-96 Main St., Nashua, Friday, Nov. 26, through Saturday, Dec. 4. See Christmas trees donated and decorated by local businesses. The festival includes a raffle, auction, gift shop, and a reception on Nov. 26 with wine and beer bar, live entertainment and food from Nashua restaurants. There will be breakfast with Santa on Nov. 27. Visit www.NashuaFestivalOfTrees.com.
• Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, is offering Gift in Hand, a three-day festival showcasing the area’s most talented artists, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 26-28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shop for unique handcrafted gifts including textiles, woodenware, ornaments, pottery, jewelry, and specialty foods. Check out the Holiday Greens Workshop for a wreath made from Village-grown greens or make your own with the help of staff. Admission is free. Call 783-9511.
• Check out the Concord Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov. 26, at the Statehouse Plaza on North Main Street in Concord. Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the lighting of a special tree in Eagle Square. There will be a petting zoo on the Statehouse Lawn. Bruce Locke of Pittsfield will bring his horse-drawn wagon for rides around the block. Dick Patten will be joined by Nazzy of WJYY. There will be a blessing of the Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene at 4:15 p.m. as well as a lighting of a miniature menorah in honor of the Hannukah season. The Concord Fire Department will bring Santa Claus to the Statehouse Plaza at 5 p.m. The U.S. Marines will be on hand to collect Toys for Tots. The tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. Following the lighting will be a short fireworks display.
• Salem is hosting its annual Holiday parade on Sunday, Nov. 28, 1 p.m.  It runs down Main Street, stepping off at the intersection of N. Policy and ending up at the Salem, High School.  The theme of the Parade is “Past, Present and Future”. The parade includes local high school bands from Salem, Methuen, Derry and Londonderry, boy scout troops, girl scouts troops, schools, area organizations, karate studios, dance studios, politicians, etc. For the 26th year, the Carlene Nazarian Dance Center will have almost 100 dancers participating and will be collecting mittens, hats and scarves to donate to a local human services organization. 
• Celebrate the fall and holiday seasons and peruse the homegrown & handmade offerings of local farmers, artists & crafters at the Market & Holiday Craft Festival at Rockingham Acres, 161 Rockingham Road, Derry, Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28, Saturday, Dec. 4, Sunday, Dec. 5, Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy fresh coffee, snacks and family fun. Contact Jean Smith at 434-2817.
• For a white elephant table and a bake sale check out the Animal Allies’ Christmas Fair at 476 Front St., Manchester, on Saturday, Nov. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit Animal Allies Cat Rescue. Contact Mary Aranosian at 224-1254 or visit www.animalallies.org.
• Attend the Weare Winter Festival at the Center Woods Elementary School, Center Road, Weare, on Saturday, Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get a jump start on shopping and meet author and television personality Fritz Wetherbee, who will be telling stories and signing his books.
• There will be plenty of crafts at the Craftworks Guild Holiday Fair at the Kendall House, 5 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, Nov. 26 through Dec. 19, open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking. More than 50 juried artisans participate in the seasonal shop. Visit vwwwthecraftworkersguild.org.
• One of the biggest celebrations this season is the Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, held on the first three weekends in December. The event includes a Candlelight Stroll that Strawbery Banke Museum has hosted for 31 years (this year’s theme is “Once Upon a Winter’s Eve”), live holiday shows, HD broadcasts and films in The Music Hall’s Victorian theater and the cheerfully decorated holiday downtown. Get ready to cuddle up with a trolley ride through red-bricked Market Square, stroll through the snowflakes to the many eclectic shops, step back in time at the festively decorated Strawbery Banke living history museum, sample Portsmouth’s famous culinary specialties, or enjoy a show at The Music Hall. Visit www.vintagechristmasnh.org for a full schedule. Tickets for all Music Hall holiday shows can be purchased at The Music Hall box office (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth), at 436-2400, or online at www.themusichall.org. Ticket prices for the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll are $20 for adults, $10 for children, $50 for families (two adults and their children ages 17 and under). Tickets can be purchased at www.strawberybanke.org or 433-1107. Tickets may be used any night of the Stroll.
• Bid on themed baskets and stockings, crafts, floral arrangements and wreaths at the Holiday Silent Auction at Aynsley Place, 80 Lake St., Nashua, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Listen to pianist Rich Margolis and tenor saxophonist Frank Belfsky while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and wine. Valet parking is available. All proceeds benefit programs for low-income area seniors by the Breakfast Exchange Club of Nashua. Call Sharon Zimmerman at 888-3331.
• Celebrate Exeter’s Festival of Trees at the Exeter Town Hall on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Chamber Children’s Fund, which provides warm clothing vouchers to children in need who live in local areas. Call 772-2411.
• Find unique gifts at the Holiday Crafters Fair at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall, 354 Main St., Hopkinton, Friday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Crafts include jewelry, pottery, paintings, stained glass, folk art, beadwork, quilts, gifts, glassworks, weavings, leatherwork, toys and more by 35 local artisans. Admission is free.
• Find plenty at the holiday fair Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Concord, 274 Pleasant St. There will be decorated balsam wreaths, poinsettias, “rummage” craft supplies, a children’s craft table, raffle baskets, juried artisans, organic honey and maple syrup, candles, soap, pottery, canvas bags, jewelry, weaving and a bake sale with a cafe. Call 224-0291.
• The 29th Annual Holly Berry Fair at the First Congregational Church on Union Street in Milford on Saturday, Dec. 4, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., will feature the Christmas Cupboard and Pantry, gift baskets, Christmas handicrafts, and gently used Christmas items for sale, along with homemade fudge, a cookie walk, and holiday greens. A handmade Christmas quilt will be raffled. Call 673-3713 or visit www.firstccmnh.org
• For the third year, Canterbury Shaker Village is presenting Christmas at Canterbury on Saturdays, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, from 3 to 8 p.m. The Village will be transformed with lights and candles, and visitors can stroll among the decorated historic buildings and stop in to enjoy entertainment and hands-on activities for the family. Includes 19th-century magician ‘Richard Potter’ with magic shows at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., a horse-drawn wagon, sleigh rides, traditional craft demonstrations, wreaths and decorations for sale. Visit www.shakers.org. Admission is $17 for adults, $8 for children 6-17, children 5 and under are free; $42 family rate
• Contoocook and Hopkinton present a Starry, Starry Weekend, Dec. 3-5, with special events from more than 20 local groups and businesses. Look for craft workshops, food- and wine-tasting, tree-lightings, caroling, open houses and a factory tour, art shows, church fairs and lots of shopping. All locations will be accepting donations for the Hopkinton Food Pantry. WellSpace NH will be offering a stress-relieving class, demonstration, massage or a cup of tea, and the Slusser Senior Center will offer a gingerbread house workshop.Visit www.StarryStarryWeekend.com.
• The New England Language Center’s International Gallery in Rochester will host its annual Russian Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Bazaar will feature Russian crafts, unique paintings, storytelling and details about items on display and Russian folk traditions. Among the items available are Matryoshka (nested doll) sets, hand-painted “Khokhlama” wooden bowls, wooden spoons, candlesticks, wooden Easter eggs, icons and hand-painted wooden Christmas decorations and toys. Proceeds will go to support Russian artists and artisans and New England Language Center cultural programs. Contact Marina Forbes at 332-2255 or e-mail marina@anylanguage.org.
• Enjoy the Holiday Craft Fair at Amherst Middle School, Cross Road, Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feature crafts as well as a raffle with more than 50 prizes donated by local merchants and crafters. All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. There will be a snack bar with chili, hot dogs, sandwiches and soft drinks. Contact Kirk Rogers at krogers50@comcast.net.
• Visit the Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Hudson Memorial School, Central Street, Hudson. The GFWC Hudson Junior Woman’s Club is putting on its free annual craft fair, exhibiting work by more than 100 crafters, a penny raffle, 50/50 raffle and food. Call Debbie at 594-0332 or e-mail debbieandjeff1@comcast.net.
• Enjoy the Christmas Fair at The Church of Our Saviour, 10 Amherst St., Milford, Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a Cookie Shop for homemade holiday cookies by the pound, and a country store with extra sharp Cabot cheeses, chocolate Christmas trees, homemade breads and preserves. The craft shop will have hand-crafted gift items. The fair also includes a children’s room with decorate-your-own gingerbread cookies and houses.
• There will be two floors of merchandise and activities at the Christmas Fair at the Greenland Parish House, Post Road/Route 151, Greenland Center, Greenland, Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This fair includes a cookie walk, handcrafted items made by the church’s Women’s Alliance, gifts created by Greenland’s Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, tables of jewelry, gourmet foods and other locally made products, a visit from Santa and children’s activities, a “Nearly New” room with bargains, and a luncheon featuring sandwiches, ice cream sundaes and fried dough. Call 436-8336 or visit www.communitychurchofgreenland.org.
• Run through Concord at the Jingle Bell Run 5K at Rundlett Middle School, 144 South St., Saturday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m. This is a 5K timed race; there will be entertainment, a costume contest, raffles and prizes. Contact Patti Hanley at 639-2113.
• Get creative for the Homes for the Holidays Gingerbread House Contest and Display to benefit Nashua Children’s Home at the Philip Greek Orthodox Church Hall, 500 W. Hollis St., Nashua, on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is open to the community. Admission is $3 for age 16 and up, $2 for under the age of 16. The price of admission includes three raffle tickets to enter to win some of the gingerbread houses along with gingerbread cookie decorating for the kids. E-mail gphilipon@charter.net for information.
• Jingle your way through Milford at the Jingle Downtown Holiday Stroll on the Milford Oval, Saturday, Dec. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m. Enjoy music, horse-drawn carriage rides and holiday shopping. New this year are the Cookie Tour and Festival of Trees. At 5:30 p.m. there will be community caroling and holiday tree lighting and a performance by the Souhegan Valley Chorus on the gazebo. The Stroll is open to the public. See www.milforddoit.org.
• The Snowflake Fair is being held at the Longmeadow Church, corner of Wilson Crossing and Route 121 in Auburn, on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Santa will be there to take pictures; there will be a children’s corner where children can purchase inexpensive gifts and wrap them for free, and crafts for the youngsters. Also look for the cookie walk, silent auction, crafts, plants, baked goods and candy tables. Snack and a light lunch including corn chowder and chili will be served until 1 p.m.
• It’s Christmas time at Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury. Celebrate Christmas at Canterbury on Saturdays, Dec. 4 and 11, from 3 to 8 p.m. The Village will be lit up and decorated for the season. Enjoy a candlelight stroll, horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride, musical performances and Shaker entertainment. See a 19th-century magic show and traditional craft demonstrations. Visit the Gingerbread House Showcase. Hot beverages and food are available for purchase in the Shaker Box Lunch & Farmstand and at Greenwood’s Restaurant. Admission is $17 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under, $42 family rate (two adults and three children). Call 783-9511.
• Go downtown for Manchester’s Spirit of the Season Christmas Parade on Elm Street, Saturday, Dec. 4, starting at 4 p.m. Interested in being the city’s new Santa? Call Samantha DePrima, parade organizer, at 645-6285. To register your business, organization or club (free) for this annual community event visit www.intownmanchester.com.
• Catch an exciting ice show and help a good cause at the Spread Your Wings and Soar skating show on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Laconia Ice Arena, 468 Province Road, Laconia. Local and elite skaters will take the ice in support of Canterbury resident Sarah Fox, a mother, wife and Portsmouth firefighter who was diagnosed with breast cancer 2½ years ago. Tickets cost $15; children 5 years and under admitted free. Visit www.cnhskatingacademy.org or call 226-5683.
• Check out the Holiday Open House at the New Hampshire Antique Co-op, 323 Elm St., Milford, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy punch and cookies, and check out the hands-on display area where kids can write letters to Santa. Call 673-8499 or visit www.nhantiquecoop.com.
• Ever want to take a peek inside those historic homes near Greeley Park? On Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5, see beyond the entry and leaded-glass windows of three select historic homes in Nashua’s North End during the 20th annual Holiday House Tour. In addition to these homes, participants can see a home near Bicentennial School as well as Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s historic City Hall office. Free refreshments and a performance of holiday choral music will be offered at Langdon Place from 2 to 5 p.m. and a gift boutique on site will be filled with the works of artisans, artists and gifts. All profits benefit the Nashua Symphony to help defray the costs of supporting a professional symphony in Nashua. Contact Susan Laughlin at 624-1442 ext. 128 or slaughlin@nh.com.
• There will be a Craft Fair and Bazaar at American Legion Auxiliary Unit 59, 538 W. Main St., Hillsboro, Sunday, Dec. 5, from 9 to 3 p.m.
• It’s a semi-formal holiday dance party and showcase at the Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester, on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. for all ages, beginners and beyond. Singles and couples are welcome.
• Celebrate the holiday season at and support history at the American Independence Museum with Discovery of Declaration, a holiday party to honor the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the Dunlap Broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence, at the Folsom Tavern on Tuesday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening will include holiday music, wine, light refreshments and a viewing of the document. Tickets cost $100 per person and may be ordered by calling the American Independence Museum at 772-2622 or via the “donate” page at www.independencemuseum.org.


Learn some tricks for sweet treats, tasty meals
Looking for some new ideas for your holiday meals? Here are a few classes offering to give you tips for holiday cooking.
• Aspiring to construct your own gingerbread house? Frederick’s Pastries, 109 New Hampshire Route 101A, Amherst, 882-7725, www.pastry.net, is offering three classes in the art of decorating the edible architecture. A family gingerbread house decorating class will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. and will also feature Christmas carols and hot chocolate. The cost of the family class is $99, based on a family up to four, and includes one gingerbread house. Additional children cost $10. Adult-only gingerbread house classes will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 14, and Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Gingerbread decorating classes for children will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 14, and Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Both the adult and child gingerbread classes cost $60 per person. Spots may be reserved at www.pastry.net.
• Spend a weekend at The Inn by the Bandstand, 6 Front St., Exeter, 772-6352, www.innbythebandstand.com, for Holiday Culinary Bootcamp with chef Patrice Gerard from Thursday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 5. The event costs $689 per person, double occupancy, and includes one room for three nights, a gourmet New England breakfast, a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, a holiday parade, French Christmas dinner workshop and seasonal sweets pastry workshop. Reserve a spot at www.epitourean.com or by calling 1-800-390-3292.
• The Hopkinton Recreation Department will host a gingerbread house making workshop at the Slusser Senior Center, 41 Houston Drive, Contoocook, 746-2915, on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The workshop will feature all tools to build a gingerbread house, hot chocolate and cookies. The cost will be $12 for each gingerbread kit. Call 746-2915 to register.
• Watch a four-course cooking demonstration, sample some new wines and enjoy some passed hors d’oeuvres with Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast, 5 Broad St., Hollis, 465-6929, www.thecreativefeast.com, on Friday, Dec. 10, at Granite State Cabinetry, 384 Route 101, Bedford, from 6 to 9 p.m. During the program, Barbour will share techniques for creating holiday meals at home. Knives and knife sharpeners will be available for purchase. The event costs $70 per person.

More chances to stroll & shop
• Goffstown lights its town tree at the annual Friday Night Under the Lights celebration in the Goffstown Town Common on Friday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. The tree-lighting will be at 6:30 p.m. Other events include music and open houses at area businesses, visits with Santa and a reading of The Polar Express at the Goffstown Public Library. See www.goffstownmainstreet.org or call 497-9933.
• Nine local businesses in Plymouth are hosting a Shop Hop, Friday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 5: the Red Gate Farm, Sweet Kathy’s, Artistic Roots, Rumney Country Gifts, Chesley’s Glory Station, The Chalet, Veggie Art Girl, Wholly Tara and The Common Man Company Store. That weekend, the stores will offer specials, as well as staying open late on Friday and serving refreshments. Those who visit all stores will be entered in a free raffle, no purchase necessary. A portion of proceeds go to local charities. Visit www.PlymouthShopHop.com.
• The Jingle Downtown Holiday Stroll in Milford will take place Saturday, Dec. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m. complete with holiday shopping, music, horse-drawn carriage rides, and tree lighting on the Oval.
• Get your holiday shopping done or sell your own crafts at Shop ’til You Drop, sponsored by the MMS Enrichment Program and the Milford High School Music Department on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Jacques Elementary School, 9 Elm St., Milford. Crafters and vendors can reserve a table by contacting Joan Dargie at 233-0788 or joandargie@aol.com. Local non-profits may have a table at no charge. A complimentary “Jingle on Downtown” bus stopping at this fair plus six others is planned. Call Libby Wehrle-Anderson at 672-9876.
• The Moonlight Holiday Stroll in Manchester will take place Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. and will feature extended holiday shopping hours at 28 downtown retailers and restaurants. It will also feature carolers, refreshments and horse-drawn hayrides.
• Wilton’s annual Holiday Stroll will take place Saturday, Dec. 11.
• It’s not too late to find the perfect gift. Check out the holiday shopping tour in Warner, Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kick off the holiday season with fun for the whole family. Pick up your passport at any participating shop, get it stamped at each shop and be entered to win a gift basket filled with local goods. There will also be story time, a Santa parade, a chance to make your own snowflake ornament, a farmers market, horse & carriage rides and more. Visit http://kearsargechamber.org/holiday2010 for a complete schedule of events. Contact Carolyn Bullock at 456-2600 or e-mail store@indianmuseum.org

Decorate!
Manchester’s storefront decorating contest is now in full swing.

People can come downtown to vote on their favorite holiday window display at participating shops, restaurants and merchants throughout central downtown. People can pick up ballots at Intown Manchester’s office, 1000 Elm St. Print out ballots at www.intownmanchester.com. Participating downtown businesses will be vying for prizes of $2,000 in advertising for their respective shop or restaurant.

“We could not be happier to bring this program back to downtown,” said Samantha DePrima, Intown’s director of marketing and public relations. “It’s fun, festive and, most importantly, it gets people out and about in downtown, patronizing local businesses for the holiday season. I think it’s refreshing to have a little competition between our constituents and we’re looking forward to see what they come up with.”

One ballot is allowed per person and votes must be entered in person inside participating locations. The last chance to vote will be Thursday, Dec. 9, during the Moonlight Holiday Stroll. Visit www.intownmanchester.com for a complete list of participating locations.