Busta Rhymes, lit holidays, Christmas Underwater, and more seasonal attractions in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

'Christmas on the Block'  (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

'Christmas on the Block' (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Due to COVID mandates in the Delaware Valley, most events require proof of vaccination and have mask mandates. Since the situation remains fluid, scheduled events may be rescheduled or canceled as regulations change, so be sure to check with venues and be aware of ticket return/refund policies beforehand.

You may just be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, but attractions for Christmas are already starting up. The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins on Sunday and there are several events recognizing it in the area. Festive light shows are the highlight of holiday options this weekend.

Christmas Underwater

(Adventure Aquarium website)

The holiday season provides an array of attractions, but Adventure Aquarium has one of the more unique ones. Their Christmas Underwater attraction features a scuba-diving Santa Claus, the self-proclaimed “world’s tallest underwater Christmas tree” decorated with custom-sculpted corals, and three underwater light shows new for 2021.

  • What: Holiday attraction
  • Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden, N.J.
  • When: Friday, Nov. 26 – Friday, Dec. 24, hours vary, check website
  • How much: $18.99 – $44.99 (attraction free with admission)

“A Christmas Carol”

(People’s Light)

The perennial holiday classic returns to the tri-state area with three different productions. Delaware’s Candlelight Theater mounts a one-hour version of “A Christmas Carol” in the first half of the show and a seasonal musical performance in the second. In Malvern, Pa., the People’s Light production of “A Christmas Carol” goes through Sunday, Jan. 2. And while it’s not a theater production, Macy’s in Center City has its annual, free, Dickens Village walk-through on the third floor, which uses animatronics to dramatize the “Carol” story. This year, reservations are required. A virtual Santaland also begins on Friday, Nov. 26.

  • What: Live theater, exhibit
  • Where: Various venues
  • When: Various times
  • How much: Free and up

Franklin Frost

(Franklin Institute)

What would ol’ Ben have thought of the holiday attraction that boasts a lit-up 25-foot tall Stellar Tree that also has a streetcar and other model trains running around it? We think he’d probably be amazed at how his contributions to electricity are now being used. In any case, it’s part of the holiday-themed fun at the Franklin Institute, which includes the Celestial Village and Big Chill Valley model train displays.

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  • What: Holiday attraction
  • Where: Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St.
  • When: Through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022
  • How much: Free with general admission, $19 – $23

Holiday light shows

A holiday without lights doesn’t feel very festive. Fortunately, in the Delaware Valley, there are several light-themed attractions to choose from. The Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular, new for 2021, includes a million lights, an ice-less skating rink, and on Wednesdays, you can even bring your dog. The West Chester Griswolds light up their spectacular display on Thanksgiving night, which includes new singing lights and a mailbox for letters to Santa. The Miracle on South 13th Street debuts the 2021 display with a block lighting party on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. Local snack giant Herr’s opened its annual drive-through light show at its Nottingham, Pa. HQ this week. The free attraction goes through Sunday, Jan. 2.

  • What: Holiday-themed attraction
  • Where: Various venues
  • When: Various days and times
  • How much: Free and up

Hanukkah celebrations

(Chabad of Fairmont)

The eight days of Hanukkah begin on Sunday, Nov. 28 and the celebration is being marked with special festivities around the city. The Betsy Ross House lights a ceremonial menorah on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Old City Jewish Arts Center. The Hanukkah light display at Boathouse Row begins on the 28th as well and can be seen, and photographed, from the gazebo across from the rear entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Chabad of Fairmont hosts a free menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday starting at 5 p.m. that includes kid’s crafts, music, and donuts.

  • What: Holiday festivities
  • Where: Various venues
  • When: Sunday, Nov. 28
  • How much: Free

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

RiverRink on the Delaware River waterfront. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

The popular holiday attraction opens for its winter season this weekend. The main event is skating, of course, on the NHL-size rink, but there are also fire pits, warming cabins, pay-as-you-go food and drink, and fun and games galore. The cabins, decorated for the season, can seat up to 15 people, but must be reserved in advance. (Food and drink add-ons are also available.) Firepits, which seat five, can also be reserved ahead of time.

  • What: Winter-themed outdoor attraction
  • Where: Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.
  • When: Friday, Nov. 26 – Sunday, March 6, 2022. Opening weekend hours: Friday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., regular hours here.
  • How much: Ice skating admission $5, skate rental $10

Santa Stroll

(Santa Stroll)

Yup, Santa’s coming to town and he’s hanging out in Media, Pa. for an annual holiday stroll. Although the block party and the fun run/walk were postponed this year due to COVID, the socially distanced “stroll” goes on. You can expect floats and live performances from local dance and music troupes as Santa rides through town with his elves in his sleigh. Things get started at Barall Field and end up there after the route is complete. The annual drive for toiletry and non-perishable donations for families in need is on this year; donations can be dropped off at The Gifford-Risley House bed and breakfast from Nov. 27-29.

The Manor

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A two-act manor murder mystery taking place at an actual manor where attendees move from room to room to follow the drama? We played “Clue” back in the day, so sign us up. That’s the premise behind “The Manor” written by Kathrine Bates, based on the true story of the Doheny family murder/suicide and ensuing scandal that took place in Los Angeles’ Greystone mansion in 1929. The play, which has been performed there starting in 2002, made its East Coast debut in 2017 at a similarly historic manse in West Chester.

  • What: In-person theater experience
  • Where: Greystone Hall, 2450 Aram Ave., West Chester, Pa.
  • When: Friday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, 2 p.m., 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28, 2 p.m.
  • How much: $60

Hip-Hop 101: Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, and Sheek Louch

Busta Rhymes performs at the MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Kinetic MC Busta Rhymes headlines with his New York counterparts in a showcase of hip-hop pioneers. Known for his 90s hits “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” and “What’s It Gonna Be?!” — his groundbreaking duet with Janet Jackson — Busta Rhymes’ rapid-fire rhyme style made him among the most popular rap stars of the era. Jadakiss and Sleek Louch of The Lox will be providing their takes on the era from their deep catalogues as well.

  • What: Live music performance
  • Where: The Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad St.
  • When: Sunday, Nov. 28, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $50 – $125

Talib Kweli

Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli once formed the duo Black Star with his musical partner Mos Def, though both ultimately went on to solo careers. Kweli continued the socially conscious rap music that brought him recognition as a solo act, making records independently via his own Javotti Media. In recent years, Kweli has become an incendiary and often controversial voice on social media, which led to a permanent suspension from Twitter. He retains a YouTube platform, however, and will be appearing at Philly’s new Brooklyn Bowl with a live band. His book “Vibrate Higher” came out in February.

  • What: Live music performance
  • Where: Brooklyn Bowl, 1009 Canal St.
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 27, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $25

Morgan James: A Very Magnetic Christmas Tour

(City Winery)

Singer/songwriter Morgan James has a voice so powerful she played iconic Motown artist Teena Marie in “Motown: The Musical.” She’s since released four studio albums, including “A Very Magnetic Christmas,” her first with a holiday theme. She’ll be performing songs from it at City Winery this weekend.

  • What: Live music performance
  • Where: City Winery, 990 Filbert St.
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 27, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $15 – $25

Small Business Saturday/Museum Store Sunday

(Museum Store Sunday)

Gift shopping for friends and family is a staple of the holiday season. Well, for many of us, anyway. This weekend’s promotions might make it a little easier. Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to spend their dollars with local small businesses instead of chain and big box retailers, while Museum Store Sunday encourages buying from museums both online and offline, especially important after a year many of them were closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. (And museum stores always have unique gift options.)

  • What: Holiday markets
  • Where: Online and in-person, various venues
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 27, Sunday, Nov. 28
  • How much: $10, kids 12 and under free

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 recovery. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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