Weekly Entertainment Guide – Carols, Critters, Cabaret, and the Constitution!

     Visit the Brandywine River Museum of Art for the annual tradition

    Visit the Brandywine River Museum of Art for the annual tradition "A Brandywine Christmas" through January 4. Grab a "critter" decoration made from natural materials at the Critter Sale, December 6-7. (Photo courtesy of Brandywine River Museum of Art)


    Robin Bloom offers suggestions for holiday weekend fun.

    Take advantage of free meter parking in Philadelphia on Thanksgiving and after 11am on Saturdays, starting after Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

    What’s Happening

    The Annual Christmas Village in Philadelphia

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    The annual Christmas Village in Philadelphia returns to LOVE Park in Center City on Thanksgiving Day, through December 28, an outdoor German holiday market with vendors in more than 65 wooden booths offering international seasonal arts and crafts, gifts, ornaments, food and more as well as live performances of local choirs and bands, JFK Plaza, 1500 Arch Street. Free admission. Grand opening ceremony is Saturday, November 29, 4pm-5pm with live entertainment.

    Macy’s Grand Court Light Show

    Macy’s Grand Court Light Show returns the day after Thanksgiving through December 31. The show runs every day of the week on every even hour. Also, children’s activities, photos with Santa, and of course, the Dickens Village, 13th and Market Streets, Philadelphia.

    Comcast Holiday Spectacular

    The Comcast Holiday Spectacular returns to the Comcast Center through New Year’s Day, shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience Video Wall, one of the largest LED screens in the world, spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high, capturing the essence of the holidays with performances by the Pennsylvania Ballet, Walnut Street Theatre, world-class ice skaters, animated penguins, and more. 15 minute shows begin at the top of every hour, 10am-8pm daily (except for weekdays at 5pm), 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia. Free. Take a photo with Santa on Saturday, November 29 and Sunday, November 30, 11am-3pm. New this year, Carol of the Bells, computer generated animation and the sounds of a 64 piece orchestra, plus twelve animatronic snowmen throughout the lobby.

    Philadelphia’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

    Philadelphia’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, in its 95th year as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, is Thursday, November 27 beginning at 8:30am at 20th & JFK Boulevard to 16th Street and then along the Ben Franklin Parkway, concluding at Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum. Special guests include Charlie McDermott, American Idol Candice Glover, Lance Bass, Kendall Schmidt, Eden XO, Santa and Mrs. Claus and many more. Also, Motown the Musical and Disney on Ice’s Frozen.

    National Constitution Center’s Bill of Rights Celebration

    The National Constitution Center’s Thanksgiving Weekend: The Bill of Rights Celebration offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the American holiday, which was approved as national holiday by congress the same day the articles that would eventually become the first amendments to the Constitution were passed. Check out the “History of Thanksgiving” show, Bill of Rights Show, Founding Fathers, Founding Documents exhibition tours, seasonal crafts, a Soldier Mail Call station (to write and send letters of gratitude to men and women serving overseas), and more, Friday, November 28 through Sunday, November 30, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission.  

    Hagley Museum and Library’s Thanksgiving Weekend Activities

    Hagley Museum and Library offers Thanksgiving weekend activities, offering a celebration of the food and traditions of the nineteenth century. Enjoy a taste of a traditional Thanksgiving meal and discover the quirks and challenges of cooking with a wood stove. Also, period games and crafts. Wear your nineteenth-century best clothing, Friday, November 28 through Sunday, November 30, 11am-4pm, off Route 141 in Greenville, Delaware approximately 4 miles from downtown Wilmington.

    James Turrell Skyspace

    The James Turrell Skyspace, located in the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting offers an aperture in the ceiling where the sky appears closer, and opens to the public at designated times every week throughout the year. Experience the sunrise and sunset with viewings this week, Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 6:09am, Friday, November 28, 4:37pm, and Sunday, November 30, 4:36pm. The meetinghouse opens 15 minutes before viewing and guests are welcome to bring yoga mats and cushions, 20 E. Mermaid Lane, Philadelphia. Advance reservations required.

    Santa Express

    All aboard the Santa Express as SEPTA’s specially decorated Christmas trains bring the merry man from the North Pole to Philadelphia’s Dilworth Park on Friday, November 28. Join in a festive parade to the newly renovated park at City Hall and enjoy the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, open every day (even Thanksgiving) through February. Check website for train times.  

    The official City of Philadelphia Tree Lighting will take place on Wednesday, December 3, 7pm in the City Hall Courtyard.  


    Dinosaur Days at Academy of Natural Sciences

    The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s annual Dinosaur Days returns November 28-30, a celebration of the ancient creatures and their closest living relatives – birds – with family activities and educational experiences including live animal shows at 11am and 3pm each day, Dinosaur Detectives, games, crafts, story time, and more, along with the opportunity to check out the “Chocolate” exhibit, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

    “This is the Week That Is” at 1812 Productions

    Stay up to speed on all things political with 1812 Productions’ annual holiday comedy This is the Week That Is. Written and performed by Philadelphia favorites Scott Greer, Dave Jadico, Susan Riley Stevens, Aimé Kelly, Don Montrey, Tabitha Allen, and Jennifer Childs (who also directs), the show is done in the spirit of The Carol Burnett Show and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, with Don Montrey returning as head news writer at the anchor desk and South Philadelphia correspondent Patsy chiming in! Opening Friday, November 28 through December 31, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia.

    Holiday Garden Railway Display at Morris Arboretum

    The Morris Arboretum’s popular Holiday Garden Railway Display returns with a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and bustling model trains. The display and buildings are all made of natural materials (bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones) to form a miniature landscape with rivers and buildings that are exact replicas of the original including Independence Hall and other Philadelphia-area landmarks, all decorated for the holidays through January 4. Opening celebration takes place Saturday, November 29, 1pm-3pm, with carolers, ornament-making and more. Back this year is Friday Night Lights, an opportunity to enjoy the display at night on Fridays in December, 100 Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

    Adventure Aquarium’s annual Christmas Celebration

    Adventure Aquarium’s annual Christmas Celebration transforms the space into an underwater winter wonderland with larger than life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees and gently falling snow, November 28 through January 1. Look for Christmas characters including Scuba Santa, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, with activities that include a tree lighting and more, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ.

    A Brandywine Christmas

    The Brandywine River Museum of Art’s annual tradition of A Brandywine Christmas returns with the O-gauge model train display, featuring nearly 2,000 feet of track, trees decorated with thousands of “critter” ornaments, and the opportunity to see Enchanted Castles and Noble Knights. The new exhibit features 35 works of art by Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and others that depict the romantic and stories of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and other tales of quests and chivalry. See Andrew Wyeth’s model medieval castle, made for him in 1927 by his brother Nathaniel and painted by their father N.C. Wyeth, through January 4, U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA. Related programming and events include international opera singer Peter Campbell performing Christmas carols on Sundays, Creative Castles Family Program and more including the Annual Critter Sale, December 6-7, ornaments and tabletop decorations made from natural materials, including dried flowers, pine cones, seeds, pods and berries, hand-crafted, 9:30am-4:30pm. Pictured: N.C. Wyeth (1982-1945), “They fought with him on food more than three hours, both before him and behind him,” illustration for The Boy’s King Arthur, 1917.

    “A Christmas Carol” at Walnut Street Theatre

    Head back to 1840s London and join Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future for the annual Philadelphia tradition of A Christmas Carol, on the main stage at Walnut Street Theatre, November 29 to December 21. The hour-long musical, adapted and directed by Bill Van Horn (who can be seen in the Walnut’s production of “Mary Poppins” as Admiral Boom and the Bank Chairman!), is based on the classic Charles Dickens novel and features original music with Mark Collmer as Scrooge, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. For all ages.

    Chocolate Festival at Dover Downs

    Dover Downs Hotel and Casino celebrates the holiday season with the 9th annual Chocolate Festival, Saturday, November 29, 10am-5pm. The family-friendly event features a variety of chocolate and candy exhibitors, an ice carving contest, candy and gingerbread village, arts and crafts marketplace, live entertainment, and more, with free admission for children under 18. Also, the Kent County Festival of Trees on display by Delaware Hospice, 1131 North DuPont Highway, Dover, DE.

    ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah

    The National Museum of American Jewish History puts a spotlight on the history of holiday songs and the contribution of Jewish songwriters, musicians, and artists who helped invent, re-invent and celebrate a season with ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah. In a cozy living room setting, the new multimedia installation features interactive song and video enjoyed on curated iPads and features well-known artists like Irving Berlin, Benny Goodman, Bob Dylan, the Ramones and Lou Reed, Jewish stage and screen icons like Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson. Also, hands-on access to record albums, a wide selection of books on American popular music and Jewish history, and children’s toys and books. Self-guided tours available, through March 1, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia. In the spirit of reinventing classics and pop standards of mostly Jewish composers, don’t miss It’s High Time I Said Something: Martha Graham Cracker’s Intervention at the Museum on Wednesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 4 at 7pm and Saturday, December 6, at 7pm (already sold out!) and 10pm. The beloved drag queen connects with her own roots and will be accompanied by her six piece band for a cabaret performance.



    To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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