Weekly Happenings: December 15-21




Below are a list of unique or seasonal reoccurring things to do this week in Hartford County.

{Parents Time Out} Through Sunday, December 21 | Hartford, CT | Christmas on the Rocks | It’s Christmas Eve in a rundown local bar. Expecting a silent night, the bartender finds himself mixing drinks for a parade of surprising guest – children from your favorite holiday specials – now all grown up! Tiny Tim, Charlie Brown, Cindy Lou Who and a host of other favorites pour out their Christmas woes in this delightful parody.

Through Tuesday, December 23 | Manchester, CT | 31st Annual Santa’s Workshop | A free event sponsored by Wickham Park. Children of all ages enjoy visits with Santa and his elves and refreshments with Mrs. Claus. Santa’s Workshop provides a chance for children to enjoy an uncommercialized Christmas experience. Guests are welcome to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to area food pantries. Hours are 3-6pm weekdays and 1-5pm on weekends. Come and create a new family tradition. Free

Through Wednesday, December 24 | West Hartford, CT | Experience the Ice Palace at West Farms Mall In celebration of the November 18 release of the Disney Frozen Sing-Along Edition on DVD & Digital HD, West Farms presents a Frozen Ice Palace experience. The Ice Palace will feature characters from the number one animated film of all time, Disney Frozen. This much-loved, interactive holiday display features the art of Anna, Elsa and their friends Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, plus a 30 foot Ice Palace with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the whole family. Interactive globes will showcase scenes such as Anna & Elsa ice skating with Olaf, plus Anna, Kristoff & Sven on their quest to find Elsa on the North Mountain. Adults & children alike will enjoy leaving their hand print in ice at The Icy Hand Print experience, seeing how they compare in size to Sven & Olaf and having their photo taken with Olaf at the Ice Throne. End your magical journey at the Ice Palace with a visit to Santa and a special Disney Frozen Look-and-Find book!

Through Thursday, December 25 | ABC’s 25 days of Christmas

Through Sunday, December 28 | Hartford, CT | A Christmas Carol | A Ghost Story of Christmas The magic of Charles Dickens’ heart-warming classic returns for its 17th season. Come see Connecticut’s favorite family holiday tradition and spend some time with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they bring A Christmas Carol to life on stage. Family Fun Night is December 18 at 6:30pm. This is the night to bring kids of all ages to see A Christmas Carol! Before the show, our spooky ghosts will greet and entertain. After the show, get autographs from all your favorite characters! Free with a ticket to the show. Stay tuned for our review as we have were invited to Opening Night.

Through December 29 from 5/6-9pm | East Windsor, CT | Winterfest | That delightful and magical season of WinterFest is now upon us. The Connecticut Trolley Museum once again pushes the limits to treat you and yours to an evening of entertainment and seasonal exhilaration! Ride the antique traction through the “Tunnel of Lights” tripping on our open electrical chariot (The Montréaler) or another open car – 3 miles of cool breezes under the starlit heavens. Or cozy down in an enclosed trolley for the warmer, dashing through the snow, rail trip. Open your complimentary “Ride & Sing Along WinterFest Songbook” and belt out your favorite Christmas Carol with the Trolley Crew and fellow passengers! Stroll through the Teresalee Bertinuson Visitor Center where the functioning and enchanting model train layouts will take your mind on a flight of fancy. The “halls are decked” with the proverbial “boughs of holly” and there are enough decorations to satisfy any souls need for visual Holiday splendor. The youngsters can sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift – you may also if you desire.

Through Thursday, January 1 | Sun-Thurs 5-10pm and Fri-Sat 5-11pm | Plainville, CT | Lights on Lovely | Tune your radio to 96.1FM to hear the music synchronized to the light show. Free

Through Thursday, January 1 | Thursday 5-9pm & Friday-Saturday 5-10pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Light Fantasia is a much loved Greater Hartford tradition and this season’s destination. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights.​Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays. Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years and Three Kings Day. Click here for a $3 off coupon.

Through Sunday, January 4 | Fri 5 to 8pm, Sat 10am to 4pm, Sun 1-4pm | Wethersfield, CT | Each year, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum’s “Three Centuries of Christmas” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years. This year, two evening candlelight tours, with costumed guides, have been added for viewing the three elegantly appointed historic houses that comprise the museum.

Through Tuesday, January 6 | Hartford, CT | 44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light | Hartford Festival of Light has become a not-to-be-missed event for the thousands who turn out on Constitution Plaza each year to sing carols, enjoy musical entertainment and witness the spectacle that is the illumination of more than a quarter of a million tiny white lights.

Through Tuesday, January 6 | Old Hartford, CT | Home for the Holiday’s | A Butler-McCook House Celebration! Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Monday, December 15 | Hartford, CT | Holiday Festival at the Old State House | Music will fill the halls of the Old State House!

Monday, December 15 from 10am-1pm | Hartford, CT | Volunteer to be an elf!

Tuesday, December 16 at 10am | New Britain, CT | Infant Massage Class | Infant Massage offers many wonderful benefits – bonding between caregivers and children, health support and comfort. Free

Tuesday, December 16 from 1-2pm | Manchester, CT | Celebrate the State | Let’s learn about the great state of Connecticut! We’ll learn about the history, symbols, famous people and inventions that make this state great through activities, artifacts, and crafts! Space is limited, reservation required. Ages 3-5.

Tuesday, December 16 from 4-5pm | Manchester, CT | Calling All Nutmegers | It’s time to celebrate! Come learn with us about all the exciting things in Connecticut’s past. We’ll learn the importance surrounding the history, symbols, famous people and inventions that contributed to our states history. Space is limited, reservation required. Ages 5-10.

Wednesday, December 17 from 4:30-6pm | West Hartford, CT | Latke Throwdown | Sample traditional and new potato pancake recipes from the kitchens of our favorite JCC chefs.

Thursday, December 18 – Friday, December, 19 from 4-9pm, Saturday, December 20 from 10 am – 8pm, Sunday, December 21 from  9am-2pm | Toys R Us of West Hartford, Newington and Manchester | Connecticut State Police 18th Annual Toy Drive | For the past 17 years, troopers from Troop H of the Connecticut State Police have been as busy as Santa’s elves carrying out their annual December Toy Drive.

Thursday, December 18 at 6:30pm | Hartford, CT | Family Fun Night at A Christmas Carol | A Ghost Story of Christmas The magic of Charles Dickens’ heart-warming classic returns for its 17th season. Come see Connecticut’s favorite family holiday tradition and spend some time with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they bring A Christmas Carol to life on stage. This is the night to bring kids of all ages to see A Christmas Carol! Before the show, our spooky ghosts will greet and entertain. After the show, get autographs from all your favorite characters! Free with a ticket to the show. Stay tuned for our review as we have were invited to Opening Night.

Thursday, December 18 at 6:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Community-Wide Chanukah Bash | Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford’s Community-Wide Chanukah Bash. Join us to celebrate Chanukah with latkes and holiday fun! Free

Thursday, December 18 – Sunday, December 21 | Thursday at 6:30pm, Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 1pm and 5pm, Sunday, December 21 at 1pm and 4:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Ballet Theatre Company’s 13th Annual Production of The Nutcracker

Thursday, December 18 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Winter’s Chorale | The Travelers Chorale invites you to join them for their 90th annual Holiday Concert, “Winter’s Heart” with the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Warm your heart with music of the season. The Chorale will perform a vibrant musical program featuring favorites such as Christmas Star (from Home Alone 2), Hallelujah Chorus and Winter Wonderland of Snow. Other notables include The Gift, Christmas Pipes, and a medley of traditional carols called Noel Fantasy.

Friday, December 19 – Sunday, December 21 | Friday 5-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 4-9pm | Bristol, CT | Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce | The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa!

Friday, December 19 from 4:30-5:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Skate with Santa | Join Santa on the ice for some holiday fun! Each child will receive a gift from Santa!

{Parents Time Out} Friday, December 19 from 5:30-8:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Parents Night Out | Drop your kids off for three hours of nonstop fun at My Gym. Activities include games, rides, songs, dance, relays, practice & play, and more! Dinner included! Perfect for children ages 2.5 and up (potty-trained, please). Space is limited.

Friday, December 19 – Sunday, December 21 | Friday/Saturday at 7pm, Saturday/Sunday at 2pm | Newington, CT | Seussical Jr. | A musical based on a combination of Dr. Seuss classics. The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to a butter battling military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton’s attention to the speck of dust and his “loitering” care of Mayzie LaBird’s egg has elicited taunting and accusations from the rest of the animal kingdom, except for Gertrude McFuzz, who longs for his attention, and JoJo, whose “thinks” save them all in the end.

Friday, December 19 – Sunday, December 21 | Friday/Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 2pm | New Britain, CT | The Christmas Schooner | Back for it’s second year at the Repertory Theatre by popular demand, The Christmas Schooner tells the true story of a Michigan shipping captain who braves the deadly winter weather to bring Christmas trees to homesick German American families in turn-of-the-century Chicago.  His voyages become a yearly tradition despite his wife’s misgivings – until a fateful voyage makes her realize the true importance of his mission.  This is a stirring tale of love and loss that reminds us of the importance of tradition and family during the holidays and throughout the year.

Friday, December 19 – Sunday, December 21 | Friday/Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2pm and 7pm | West Hartford, CT | The Nutcracker | The Hartt School Community Division has been bringing dance performances to the families and community of the Greater Hartford region for years. Each holiday season, HCD’s fully staged production of Tchaikovsky’s time-honored classic with staging again by Artistic Director Samantha Dunster, transports the audience to a magical world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see young artists perform a full-length ballet laced with humor, bravery, and sensitivity and it is guaranteed to ignite the child within all of us and invoke the warmth of the holiday season.

Saturday, December 20 {Reoccurs on December 20} Seatings at 8:30am and 10:30am | Canton, CT | Santa Breakfast at Dish n’ Dat.

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 | Breakfast seatings at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30am | West Simsbury, CT | Breakfast with Santa | Breakfast Includes: a hearty breakfast with pancakes, home fries, sausage and farm fresh eggs, a memorable visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty and the Grinch, a toy from Santa, a relaxing time on a Christmas Trolley ride out to reindeer land and a free visit to the petting zoo. Stay tuned for our upcoming review.

Saturday, December 20 from 8:30am-4pm & Sunday, December 21 from Noon-4pm | Canton, CT | Victorian Carolers | Celebrate the season with Victorian Carolers. Free.

Saturday, December 20 from 9-11am | Windsor, CT | A Holiday With the Animals at Northwest Park | During the season of giving, don’t forget our friends in the animal barn! Northwest Park is home to many animals, so come out and help us celebrate for the holidays by making tasty cookies, fun treats and edible wreaths for our animals to enjoy! We will also learn their natural history, decorate their barn and appreciate how important they are to us. Registration required $3 for residents, $5  for non-residents. Adult supervision required.

Saturday, December 20 from 9-11am | Newington,  CT | Christmas Breakfast Roundup | It’s best to come hungry to this class because it will be packed with all kinds of goodies to enjoy. We will make Green Christmas Tree Pancakes, Strawberry and Banana Canes, Cinnamon Sugar Snowflakes and Snowman Donuts. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Saturday, December 20 from 11am-3pm | Bristol, CT | Annual Santa’s Farm Workshop | Visit Santa’s farm friends! Then take a hayride to our rustic Pebble House and join Santa by a crackling fire! Have your picture taken with Santa! Christmas crafts, stocking stuffers and tasty treats will be for sale! Photo with Santa, farm animals, hay wagon rides, kids holiday crafts, Post Office for letters to Santa, gingerbread decorating and more…

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 from 12 – 3pm | Hartford, CT | Winterfest: Photos With Santa | Winterfest wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa, so visit the Pump House and have your photo taken with him for free. Each family receives 1 free 5×7 photo; additional prints may be purchased online, the day after you skate.

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 {Sat at 2pm and 7pm, Sun at 2pm} | Manchester, CT | Connecticut Concert Ballet presents the Nutcracker.

Saturday, December 20 at 2pm | Manchester, CT | As we approach the holiday season, many parents will be asked the question “Is there a Santa Claus?” We will answer that through a reading of Andrew J. Fenady’s play Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus. Please bring your family to join us as we hear the answer to the age-old question. Children are encouraged to bring with them their favorite hand-held gift from Santa, and to bring a non-perishable food item we’ll collect for MACC Charities food pantry. Recommended for 8 years and older, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $5. Children ages 8 – 12 are free.

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 from 2:30-4pm | West Hartford, CT | The 2nd Annual Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge | Back by popular demand, the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge is a fun (and yummy) way for families to enjoy the holiday season. Families are challenged to use their engineering skills to construct a Gingerbread House masterpiece. Each structure is unique and each family is a winner. Families will be supplied with miscellaneous candies, graham crackers, and special frosting-glue. The workshop will open with a brief tutorial on gingerbread house construction, including hints and ideas of how to decorate. Don’t worry– every family wins the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge, and each family will take home a special certificate of completion (as well as their creation). Up to 6 people per group. Ages 5 and up.

Saturday, December 20 at 3pm and 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Cirque Spectacular | Celebrate the spirit of the season at this holiday extravaganza. Carolyn Kuan will conduct the HSO in a spectacular program of seasonal favorites, while Cirque de la Symphonie surrounds the stage with awe-inspiring aerialists, mind-boggling contortionists and breathtaking juggling acts.

Saturday, December 20 at 4pm | Manchester, CT | Resounding Joy | With Resounding Joy, CitySingers of Hartford will sing in the holiday season with traditional carols and folksongs from Eastern and Western Europe, Celtic lands and America. Festive choral motets will include Resonent in Laudibus, The Bell Carol and Ding Dong Merrily on High in a featured arrangement for voices and suspended bells. Flutes, oboe, harp, pipe organ and percussion will add color to the musical palette while festive sounds and cherished memories will inspire our audiences to join in singing!

Saturday, December 20 from 5-6pm | Simsbury, CT | A Birthday in Bethlehem | A Fun Family Fellowship Annual event, open to the whole Simsbury community. Come as you are, play in church and dress up in costumes to tell the Christmas story, sing Christmas carols, make a Christmas craft to bring home, and share refreshments.  

{Parents Time Out} Saturday, December 20 from 5-9pm | New Britain, CT | Holiday Kids’ Night Out | Wondering what to do with the kids while you finish your holiday shopping? Pizza dinner, games, activities, and animals included. Pre-registration and pre-payment required for each evening. Call (860) 827-9064 for more information and to register. Fee: $24/non-members Ages: 3-10. Stay tuned for our upcoming review.

Saturday, December 20 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Canton, CT | Chanukah Family Fun Night | Games in the gym, Chanukah stories, crafts, light the menorah and decorate your own Chanukah cookies. RSVP to Elana MacGilpin at 860-231-6327. $15 per family.

Saturday, December 20 at 6pm | Hartford, CT | “Christmas Angelicus – A New England Tradition” | Holiday cheer will unfurl once again as the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, of Joyful Noise, Inc. perform their annual “Christmas Angelicus” concert series across Connecticut.

Sunday, December 21 at 2pm | Farmington, CT | Honeyky Hanukah Storytime Free

Sunday, December 21 from 2-3:30pm | Canton, CT | Winter Solstice Celebration | Join us for some fun at the Nature Center on the shortest day of the year. Take a guided hike in Werner’s Woods. Make a variety of winter-related crafts, or watch a slide show on the beauty of winter. Hot chocolate provided after the hike. Program, hike and crafts free with admission to the Nature Center.

Sunday, December 21 from 2-4pm | Bristol, CT | Family Sunday: Ornament Making | Celebrate the holidays by creating your own special ornament at the Carousel Museum. We will use paint and sparkles to decorate fabulous glass ornaments that you can take home and enjoy. Adults are $6, children are $5, and residents of Harwinton are free.

Sunday, December 21 from 3:30-5pm | Canton, CT | Chanukah Family Fun Night | Games in the gym, Chanukah stories, crafts, light the menorah and decorate your own Chanukah cookies. $15 per family

Sunday, December 21 at 4pm | West Hartford, CT | Chanukah at Blue Back Square | Join the biggest community wide Chanukah celebration in town! Watch an 8 foot menorah being carved out of ice, kids and parents; use your creativity to engineer a giant light up dreidel, raffles, prizes, fire show, heated tent, menorah lighting ceremony and special children’s performance.

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 7 pm | The Nutty Nutcracker | Hold on to your seats or you’ll be rolling in the aisles as The Hartt School Community Division Dance Department presents an off the wall comedic version of The Nutcracker: The Nutty Nutcracker. If you’re a Nutcracker “regular,” just stop and think for a moment: What might happen if Clara didn’t get a Nutcracker? What would she get instead? How would the story evolve? Several ballet companies around the country have incorporated a similar idea of allowing zany and outrageous things to happen in a special production of their Nutcracker.This year, the HCD Dance Department will again follow their lead. With choreography by Samantha Dunster and comedic contributions from students from our Pre-Professional Program, the Hartford area is in for a treat with this tasteful spoof version of the original Nutcracker story. If you have never seen the Nutcracker, you will still enjoy this unconventional whacky performance. Suitable for all ages, this production’s cast members include former dancers from the Hartford Ballet, surprise character appearances, and students from the Dance Department’s Pre-Professional and Children’s Ballet programs. In total, the cast numbers more than 100 performers.

Plan Ahead:

Tuesday, December 23 from 5-6:30pm | Rocky Hill, CT | Jingle Bounce | Join us for a holiday filled event, complete with complimentary cupcakes for each child who attends, along with a visit from Santa.

Friday, December 26 | Hartford, CT  | Kwanzaa Day Celebration: Umoja | Join us for Hartford’s biggest Kwanzaa celebration, honoring family, community and culture, presented by Charter Oak Cultural Center and Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium. Come see performances by master dancers, musicians and drummers and have the opportunity to participate in this joyous festival.

Tuesday, December 30 from 11-1pm | How about spending a cold winter day at a Luau? We will prepare Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Pineapple Salsa, Hawaiian Spam Sliders and Tropical Cupcakes. We won’t forget to leave time to learn to Hula Dance! Children are encouraged to wear a Hawaiian Shirt if they have one. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Wednesday, December 31 from 6:30-8pm | West Hartford, CT |  Ring in 2015 on the ice with hats, horns and a countdown to an “early midnight”! DJ Ean will be taking your requests!

Wednesday, December 31 | Hartford, CT | First Night Hartford | The name “First Night” symbolizes this forward look, over the technically correct “Last Night”. First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol free, family-friendly, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity. The day is a multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free New Year’s experience with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. It’s also an affordable way for everyone to ring in the New Year. The day includes two spectacular fireworks shows at 6pm and midnight in Bushnell Park that can be seen throughout the city by thousands of residents and visitors.

Monday, January 5 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Hartford, CT | Learn to Solder at MakeHartford | Back by popular demand! Participants will learn to solder electronic components to a printed circuit board while assembling and testing a small electronic project kit. The finished project is useful for the further study of electronics and is the participant’s to keep. Instruction will include workbench safety. All tools and materials will be provided. Eye protection is required. Safety glasses are available for an additional $4. Ages: Teens/Adults. Cost: $35/class.

Save the Date:

Saturday, January 31 from 10am-5pm- Sunday, February 1 from 10am-4pm, 2015 | 11th Annual Big Y Kid’s Fair | Fun, entertainment, exhibits, prizes and more are what you’ll get this day at the Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford. Here’s one-stop-shopping for the latest products and services for growing families, including national, state and local companies offering product samples and valuable information. Plus, we’ll present entertainment, celebrity appearances and loads of activities for families with busy babies and toddlers. There will be Pony Rides and a Petting Zoo, magicians, a stage area featuring events like a kids fashion show, a kids play area, amusement rides and much, much more! $10 Adults, $5 Kids {Adults get $2 off with Big Y Express Savings Club or Silver Savings Club Card, limited to one per party}.









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